There is a fair chance that the choke point in your operations isn’t the manufacturing line but the packaging process. Yet your customers expect accurate, high-quality packaging. Someone may have even suggested improving packaging efficiency. Matters are complicated by space constraints in most facilities and the rapid changeover of packaging that limit process improvement efforts.
Here are five simple ways to improve your packaging line’s productivity while meeting all of these demands.
One of the best ways to improve your packaging line’s efficiency is to consolidate the packaging. Look for ways to make your inventory leaner. The fewer types of package sizes and lots you have, the fewer changeovers you’ll need to make.
Furthermore, the decreased variety means you’ll have less in inventory that is rarely ever used. When you minimize your stock, you’ll reduce storage costs. You’ll reduce the risk of the stock becoming damaged in storage, too. Automated and semi-automated machinery can handle a variety of package sizes, but the less variety, the better.
2. Streamline Your Packing Process
Minimizing packing times will reduce labour costs, increase output per hour and improve overall productivity. The question for many businesses is how to automate it and achieve the same productivity gains they’ve seen on the assembly line.
One solution is automatic case sealers. Case sealers will seal packages far faster than a human operator. Most models have built-in flap control, automatic safety features and can readily handle a variety of case sizes. A case erector automates another step that many businesses continue to have handled manually: the conversion of case blanks to fully erected bottom sealed cases. By automating this step, you’ll see a faster conversion rate, consistently reliable results, and a reduced risk of repetitive strain injuries for employees.
3. Minimize Waste
Minimizing waste doesn’t just reduce the environmental impact of your business. It also helps you save money, and it may save labour, too. For example, when people overuse packaging material, you’re wasting material and money.
When products are incorrectly handled, such as when they’re dropped, people have to repackage items after making sure the product itself isn’t damaged. Automating material handling reduces the odds of this happening. It also eliminates the risk of people over-packaging items to protect them in case they’re dropped. The ideal situation is installing a fully automated system that can organize, stack and bundle products. Manual bundling is a very inefficient use of workers’ time, and it is one of the most error-prone.
Pre-printed material is a good way to improve the efficiency of your packaging operations. It combines the bundling and branding into one step. You’ll also need less material than if you were individually branding products.
5. Minimize Machine Downtime
Automated systems may be able to work during traditional non-working hours since some machines can work with little or even no supervision. This can dramatically increase your productivity because you’re reducing machine downtime while increasing the utilization rate of the equipment. You certainly won’t have to pay overtime to produce a lot of boxes and pack lots to meet a sudden spike in demand.
Advances in technology have made it possible to automate your packaging line in addition to your production line. Explore the various simple ways you can increase the productivity of your packaging line and watch the benefits to the bottom line accrue.