“Automating [aspects of the] manufacturing process [such as packaging] not only drives costs down, it improves quality, reduces waste and optimizes energy use. […The] application of automation is an essential ingredient in the sustainability of manufacturing businesses; automation will consequently increase a manufacturer’s competitive edge.”
Mike Wilson, Chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association
Do any of these situations sound familiar?
- Your packaging line can’t keep up with your production rates.
- You’re experiencing bottlenecks in your packaging area causing ripple effects up the line.
- You’re struggling to keep up with customer demand.
- You’re so dependent on manual labor that one employee missing their shift affects your entire day’s production schedule.
- You’ve got workers suffering from repetitive strain injuries.
With costs increasing daily, how can you stay competitive?
If you were to ask any warehouse or facility manager what is the most difficult cost to control, they would inevitably say labor. Companies report that up to 60% of their total packaging costs are labor related. And the cost of labor is steadily rising, at an average rate of 2% annually.
So, as a manager, how can you help combat these rising costs while not negatively impacting productivity and customer satisfaction?
Ask yourself: will a machine cost more over its expected life than the labor you’d be replacing would cost? Can labor costs be saved
elsewhere by freeing up expensive manpower for more valuable positions in your facility? And does it remove workers from safety risks that could cause accidents or injuries?
Automating aspects of the packaging process can help save thousands each year; for example, one case sealer can process, in five minutes, what someone hand sealing can do in thirty minutes. If you are shipping thousands of cases each day, it’s safe to assume that you’re employing a team of workers to erect, pack, and seal cases. Even something as small as a 10% reduction in labor can help to offer significant savings in the long run.
Actual customer example:Through the elimination of a Sunday shift to manually prepare boxes for busy Monday mornings of packing and shipping products, the company was able to drop their per box rate from 6.7 cents to 1.5 cents each, equaling a total of 77% reduction in costs assembling the same number of boxes.
With the implementation of even basic packaging automation, you can reduce your labor costs significantly.
But it’s not just about lowering labor costs. Automation can help to reduce damage rates, lower unsaleables, decrease material usage, increase productivity, and eliminate many potentials for injuries and accidents on the floor.