How to save cost: manual verses automated labor

Did you know that some companies report that up to 60% of their total packaging costs are labor related?

It's time to automate: automating a part of your packaging process can save you more money than reducing material costs.

What happens when up to 60% of your total packaging costs are labor related? A few cents difference on the smallest fraction of the total cost isn’t going to do anything to help you save money.

Now consider the fact that commodity prices are rising at a rate of about 5% a year. You have to have the bags, the stretch film, the shrink wrap… and you have to have the people.


Well… what about automating some (or all) of your packaging process? Sure it sounds expensive, but hear me out. At the end of the day, material pricing is going to take up time and effort and you’re only going to save a few cents on a small fraction of your total packaging cost. Since people consume more than half of the total, maybe it’s time to look at ways to realign that.

There are advantages that humans and machines each posses, but when it comes to supply chain management, it is all about maximizing efficiency of both.

The relationship between humans and machines in the business world go way back. From Henry Ford’s assembly line system to the supercomputers of today, people are continuously making efforts to maximize the efficiency of their processes along the supply chain. While a machine may be able to complete processes more quickly and precisely, once the task has been able to be programmed, humans have the unique ability to think and reason through problems that machines are not capable of doing.

The intricacies of human vs automated processes share their own unique set of advantages within the packaging industry.

From Henry Ford’s assembly line system to the supercomputers of today, people are continuously making efforts to maximize the efficiency of their processes along the supply chain.

Reallocating talent

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.  If you are shipping thousands of cases each day, it’s safe to assume that you’re employing a team of workers.  Even something as small as a 10% reduction in labor can help to offer significant savings in the long run. Besides, machines can work longer hours, as well as overnights and on weekends, providing an overall increase in productivity.  They don’t require breaks, vacations, or personal time.  They don’t get injured on the job and, with regular maintenance, they won’t quit unexpectedly, leaving you scrambling to replace them.  They don’t require additional expense in overhead for management and they don’t need to be trained.ebook-cover-pkgautomation-b

If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to talk:

  • Packaging lines are not meeting production needs
  • Inconsistency in your packaging quality
  • Product damages
  • High operating expenses
  • Lack of floor space
  • Packaging waste
  • Insufficient labor force and/or high labor rates

The speed and accuracy of your packaging process is principal to both consumer demand and overall bottom line spend.  Manual packaging operations may be consuming profitable time and resources.  It’s time to contact an Account Manager. Call us at (800) 277-7007 or visit us online.

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