By Justin Kirkpatrick, Director of Export Sales & Marketing, Econocorp
By following these five steps, you will take much of the stress out of the difficult task of choosing the case packing system that is right for you company.
Step 1 — Establish A Budget For The Project
The fact is you and your buying team knows your process better than anyone. The desire to purchase a case packing machine is typically driven by the desire to more efficiently package your product, improve ergonomics (eliminate repetitive motion injuries), and/or improve the aesthetics of your package. You must analyze your present process, as well as your goals, to improve this process. In some cases, it may be nothing more than to make your case more aesthetically pleasing. In other cases, it may be to eliminate as much labor in the process as practical.
This decision to automate your case packing operation should be done with an additional objective: minimizing the material cost of the package. Justifying the cost of the machine is a one-time event while it is reducing the cost of material that will truly pay dividends over the long run.
Don’t be easily swayed with the idea that a project’s goal should be to eliminate all labor on the line. The reality is you should know the true cost of your labor on the line and, in most cases, the cost of the special engineering element to eliminate all labor turns out not to be justifiable, either from a price and/or a technological point of view. Consider that in many cases, the use of labor on the line — providing that it is properly planned for ergonomically — can actually enhance the performance of the line. Vision systems, and other methods of quality control, are readily available as add-ons to the packaging line. However, there are certain products and processes that still make human inspection, especially on lower volume lines, more practical.