There comes a point in time for every growing company where they must consider packaging line automation as a way to increase productivity and profits.
Avoiding automation is like shackling a ball and chain to your growth opportunities. You will also encounter higher overhead, smaller margins, and increased challenges that all hamper your operations.
In other words: Realizing it’s time to automate often comes at the same time you realize it’s time to grow and evolve.
Here are six of the biggest signs to heed that all point towards the benefits you could be taking advantage of by automating your packaging line.
You’ve Moved Towards a More Standardized Product or Package
Many upstart businesses — and deeply entrenched legacy businesses — stick with manual packaging processes because they have too many different products and approaches to run everything down the same package line.
But over time, you will inevitably move towards more standardized packaging and a more-focused line of products. You may also have to switch to higher-volume use of standardized packaging materials as demand for your product grows.
The moment you see that you are using just a few packaging options for hundreds of order shipments at a time, recognize that you could be taking advantage of packaging automation. Equipment like Eastey case sealers can help reduce the number of labor-intensive tasks within your process while increasing production output, raising efficiency, and creating uniformity in your end product.
Labor Costs, Turnover and Adherence to Practices Are a Constant Struggle
Labor costs usually take the lion’s share of ongoing expenses for most businesses. If you see labor costs as a constraint, look to automate processes like package marking or case packing in order to lower your expenses and raise profits.
If you ignore your labor concerns as your sales grow, then you will see other problems pop up. Namely, increasing reliance on manual labor for orders will lead to longer hours and lower job satisfaction among your crew. In turn, your turnover rate for employees will increase.
Similarly, you may notice adherence to set practices and processes slipping. Deteriorating quality of work is another sign that your staff may be overworked or turning over too often to keep up with expectations.
All of these issues can be alleviated by moving to a less intensive, more automated packaging system.
You Consistently Fail to Meet Market Demand
You can’t sell what you don’t have! If retailers, customers, and other business partners complain that you never seem to have enough inventory to satisfy their needs, then your brand image suffers. Constrained sales could therefore lead to declining sales as people become frustrated with your inability to meet demand.
Automation increases production output and helps you move to a more simplified packing process, helping you get more productivity from fewer workers and with less effort. In turn, spikes in demand can be met more with more capability without jumping into crisis mode.
You Limit Your Strategies for Growth or Expansion Based on Current Output Bottlenecks
If you’re afraid of seeking out new vendor contracts or expanding production to meet demand, that is a sure sign your packaging bottlenecks could be constraining growth.
Packing processes shouldn’t be something to dread, and they most definitely shouldn’t hold your company back from meeting its full market potential. Automating helps you improve your capacity and seize opportunities without having to dramatically alter your processes.
Waste, Defects and Mistakes Make Up a Significant Portion of Costs
Manual labor usually produces more waste and leads to more mistakes compared to most automated processes. For instance, case sealers use less tape and damage fewer boxes compared to manual taping. Thermal Transfer Overprinting (TTO) systems can print labels on-demand, reducing the chance of overproduction while all but eliminating label application mistakes that lead to waste.
Automating your packaging line therefore not only leads to lower labor overhead but lower production costs per item in general.
You Haven’t Audited Your Processes or Considered Packaging Line Automation in Years
Even if you have none of the above problems, it may still be time to weigh the costs versus the benefits of adding more automation to your packaging line. Since many production and packaging facilities start earning a return on their production automation equipment investment in less than a year, chances are you are giving up more than you’re gaining by sticking with old processes.
Devise the perfect solution to fit your unique brand, your unique processes, and the unique challenges you face by reaching out to an expert Raab Sales associate today. We offer top-of-the-line products with cutting-edge technology at competitive costs. We also oversee the implementation and integration process for adding new automation equipment to your packaging line, making sure your upgrade is a success.