September saw UK CPI inflation rise to a 40 year high, hitting 10.1% (9.9% in August), turning up the heat on businesses and individuals alike. With eCommerce retailers on the verge of peak trading season, it’s predicted that Black Friday could bring the traditional spending window forward as savvy shoppers focus on delivering a Christmas that remains firmly within their budget.
To manage the pressures of Black Friday and peak ordering, it’s imperative that packing operations are optimised to deal with the expected spikes in customer demand and have the capacity to turn orders around quickly.
It’s not too late to consider opportunities to improve the throughput of orders to ensure you meet customer delivery expectations.
Packaging automation is a great way to reduce the number of touches on each order, reducing manual handling and speeding up your operation; it allows you to handle large volumes in less floor space, with better control of costs.
• Signs that could indicate your business is ready for packaging automation
• The benefit of case erectors for large operations
• Optimise your packing times with void fill automation
• Level up your operation with automatic taping
• Finding the right automation system for your business
Signs that could indicate your business is ready for packaging automation
So, how do you know if your business is ready for packaging automation? Here are some signs that could indicate now is the time to invest in an automatic packaging solution:
- You continually need to hire new staff for your production and/or packing line
- Your packs produced per hour aren’t increasing in line with the demand
- Your business is creating increasing levels of packaging waste
- You experience an uplift in customer complaints about damaged goods (if demand is too high, packing quality could be less reliable)
- Your team morale in packing areas may be lower due to an increased workload
The levels of packaging automation available range from smaller introductions – like an electronic tape dispenser – right through to more complex solutions integrated with conveyor lines, like an auto-boxing system.
As peak trading is on the horizon, we are going to discuss some quick and easy installations that are achievable in the next couple of weeks; that can ease the stress of the high demand pressure on your operation.
The benefit of case erectors for large operations
If you’re using high volumes of standard 0201 cardboard boxes, then the chances are you are laboriously spending your time making up boxes. A carton erector is a great way to take the manual labour out of this job, as it quickly erects and seals the base of your box ready for packing.
Speeds vary depending on the system installed but range between 8 – 30 boxes per minute, optimising your operation without human intervention.
Optimise your packing times with void fill automation
If you’re consistently tearing packaging material off a roll to fill voids or tipping loose fill into a box, it’s time to look at a dispenser solution.
Void fill dispensers are available in various materials, including paper, and can be managed by foot pedals to fill packs automatically; this frees up your hands to complete the packing process. Programmable, they can be set to dispense the right length of material for each of your pack options, this dramatically reduces incidences of overpacking.
Air pillow systems are also available to inflate air bags on demand, and when used with a hopper, they can be pre-inflated ready for use. A hopper fitted with sensors kicks the inflation system into action when air pillow stock falls beneath a set level, backfilling depleted stock. This ensures a constant supply of air pillows are available to the packing team, speeding up packing time.
Level up your operation with automatic taping
The manual taping of boxes can take up to 60% of the overall packing time; this can be dramatically reduced with automated tape systems, freeing up your operators to complete other tasks or manage more packs per hour.
A programmable electronic tape dispenser, used with water-activated paper tape, dispenses tape to the required length at the touch of a button. No more wrestling with hand tape guns or applying more tape than is required.
Water-activated paper tape forms a strong adhesion to corrugate, so you don’t need to use as much as standard plastic tapes. It’s a great environmentally friendly alternative, meaning you use less material and increase your pack’s recyclability—a win for your business and the environment.
Another option is an automatic taping machine, which goes a step further and physically applies the tape for you. This can be integrated into your packing line and, when used in conjunction with a case erector, reduces the number of operator touches to the pack even further.
Find the right automation system for your business
There is an automation solution available for every type of business. From applying tape to strapping and pallet wrap, there are numerous ways to speed up the flow of your stock into goods-out. Whilst machines are speeding up the packing process; your team are free to move to the next task.
Automated packing systems apply packaging consistently and use less material, meaning that installations can pay for themselves within a few months, depending on the size of the investment.
If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of packaging automation, why not contact us today?