End-of-line packagers are the unsung heroes of commerce. They are the ones with the final eye on the product before it goes into a case, and form that case to make a solid first impression on the recipient. Many companies will assign multiple people to end-of-line packaging, often dividing the work into three stations: case forming, case sealing and a packer and sealer. However, even this most efficient method plays against our strengths as humans and leaves opportunities for error. These are some common problems found in the former, packer, sealer system:
- Excessive case handling
- With at least three sets of hands on every box, the possibility for stains, rips, dents and any other forms of damage increases.
- Stacked cases on the floor
- The case former generally works faster than the case packer, meaning that completed boxes will pile up on the floor. This takes up valuable space and increases the potential for damage to the boxes or a hazard for the people working around them.
- Poorly formed cases
- Even if someone builds boxes every day, there are bound to be errors. Damaged or unprofessional cases may result in customers demanding returns and costing the company more money.
- Too much tape
- Without the ability to automatically measure and distribute the exact amount of tape required for each package, workers will often use too much tape to ensure the package is properly sealed. Over time, the excess tape adds up to major costs for the company.
Incorporating automated case forming, packing and sealing into these jobs can radically reduce these issues. Semi-automatic systems provide the workers on the line with roles that better play to their strengths, including supervisory, operation and management roles. The machine takes on the more repetitive tasks, reducing the chances of encountering the issues listed above.
Automation can also be the answer to staffing shortages. No matter how many people the line requires, packaging roles are largely unfilled. Swapping in automation not only makes the jobs more attractive for candidates, but also makes the line easier to run with fewer people.
Comparing the cost of the machine with saved wages plus the additional benefits of increased throughput and fewer wasted materials makes automation a wise investment for many packagers. If your operation is dealing with any of the issues listed above, consider adding automation to the end of your line.