Every day companies are looking for ways to become more efficient. Whether with their accounting systems, human resources, or – of course – their packaging, efficiency leads to higher profits and that is always a “win” for companies. When it comes to packaging, efficiency can come from making many adjustments through the supply chain. In this blog we are exploring the efficiency benefits that come from using packaging equipment.
Here’s a quick summary of the key benefits of efficient packaging equipment which we will explore below:
- Reduce packaging waste
- Ensure consistency in packaging
- Labor efficiency
- Reduced maintenance costs
- Ensure properly packed cases
- Cut down on returns
- Added capacity
- Reduced labor
1. Reduce Packaging Waste
Merriam Webster defines “efficient” as being “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials)” which makes reducing packaging waste a perfect starting point. Often times when people think of equipment they think of the upfront costs. In reality, packaging equipment can actually reduce waste, therefore saving costs. For example, when you are taping boxes by hand, or shrink wrapping by hand, you are relying on the human eye to gauge when enough product has been used.
On the other hand, when you rely on equipment to get the job done, you are able to guarantee the proper amount of tape or shrink wrap every time. This eliminates the chance that you use too much or too little material.
2. Ensure Consistency in Packaging
When equipment is used at various points in the packaging process, you are guaranteed a consistent result. For example, when it comes to labeling bottles (or anything for that matter), you are guaranteed that your labels will be placed properly with a label applicator. Each and every bottle or box will have the label in exactly the right place. Efficiency is gained due to the reduced number of errors or misplacements.
3. Labor Efficiency
With equipment your line workers are able to become more efficient for a number of reasons. First of all, when your line workers are doing redundant tasks all day (such as taping boxes or filling bags) they are at risk for a variety of repetitive stress injuries. This will slow down your workers and create more problems in the end result. By allowing them to use equipment to complete their job, they are able to work in safer conditions. It also takes less people to get a single job done, and often times increases the actual production.
4. Reduced Maintenance Costs
Efficient equipment is key. Old machines, machines that use improper consumables, and machines being used for the wrong purpose, are all examples of how things can go wrong and end up causing more harm than good. On the other hand, when you partner with a trusted distributor like Hughes, you can count on efficient equipment with a team of equipment experts standing behind you. We make sure you are set up with the proper machines to handle the job so that you can avoid downtime. We also use systems such as planned maintenance programs to make sure when your machine needs to be serviced we are ahead of the game.
5. Ensure Properly Packed Cases
At Hughes, one of our customers came to us because they were having a problem with their packages being delivered with the wrong items or with missing items. For companies that package a lot of parts per unit, this can be a big problem. It’s almost like putting together a puzzle and finding out at the end that you are missing 10 pieces. There’s a lot happening in the packaging process and it’s not always evident to the human eye if everything is correct.
For this particular client, we introduced vision systems that use artificial intelligence (AI) to scan each package and ensure that the proper materials were in the case before sealing. This reduced the number of incorrect packages all the way down to zero! In other words, packaging equipment can not only be used to actually pack the boxes, but it can also be used to oversee the operations when humans can’t.
6. Cut Down On Returns
Returns cost money for a lot of reasons. There’s a toll on the environment from the transportation and the extra use of materials. There’s a toll on your business reputation and your customer loyalty. And there’s a toll on your bottom line for the extra cost of labor to manage the returns and materials to re-fulfill the order. Machinery helps to change this as it helps to create better packages (meaning proper sealing and void fill).
7. Added Capacity
Equipment on your packaging line opens up your warehouse to a higher capacity production. Sometimes this is critical for a business to get out of a plateau and into the next phase of growth. Human labor can only accomplish so much in one day. Even with adding more and more labor, there’s only so many boxes that you can pack in a day. With equipment, you can produce more and use your labor for higher level roles.
8. Reduced labor
The reduction in labor needed when you add in equipment is an obvious benefit. As we already mentioned, machines can get the job done faster than people, which is a clear step in the right direction for efficiency. In 2020, this became a necessity, not a luxury. Warehouses can only have so many workers, and they have to be spread apart from each other – 6 feet or more. This isn’t possible when it comes to certain operations that are done by hand. For example, if you are stretch wrapping by hand you may need 2 or 3 people in a very small space. In 2020, companies learned that equipment is no longer the enemy. It is here to stay and it is here to help make your business more efficient and more viable for unexpected circumstances.
How can your company become more efficient with packaging equipment?
If efficiency is in your future, Hughes is here to help. We have the most reliable packaging equipment and we have the right strategy to implement the equipment and allow you to become more efficient. Contact a Hughes packaging expert today to start the conversation about your packaging line.