How to build an efficient packing operation and increase efficiency

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One of the most important considerations when building an efficient packing operation is optimising workspace to increasing productivity. A recent study from HSE discovered that almost nine million working days were lost in 2019/2020 due to work related musculoskeletal disorders. You can dramatically reduce the impact physical labour has on your employees, while increasing operational efficiency, simply through enhancing their workspace. 

What are the benefits of using Packing stations and work benches? 

Workstations are ideal for both large and small-scale businesses. And they can be bespoke, integrating seamlessly with other material and handling systems, and with stock control systems, to optimise use of space and productivity. The Pacplan Technik systems is a good example of this. It uses 5S and Lean methodology to maximise operational efficiency through intelligent workflow design. And if that wasn’t enough, the powder coating can be colour matched to co-ordinate with existing installations or a corporate identity.

Height adjustment 

Sitting for extended periods is bad for us. That’s why height adjustable work benches are ideal: they allow employees to alternate between standing and sitting. This gives them more flexibility and is better for their health. It also improves productivity, as they access tools from the compact area of the work bench.


It is important to have a range of ‘reach’ zones within the workbench itself. A good example of this is material storage zones. These are located to reduce operator movement. This help to streamline the packing processes and reduce the risk of operator fatigue and repetitive strain injury.  

What is the purpose of a conveyor system? 

If packing stations are considered as the building blocks of operational efficiency, conveyor systems must surely be the mortar. A well-designed packing station reduces double handling and maintains a constant supply of packing materials within easy reach. Conveyor systems create the seamless link from pick face to pallet. 

Conveyor systems can also be bespoke and manufactured to customer requirements, offering a wide range of options including: 

  • Fixed or mobile 
  • Flexible and height-adjustable 
  • Roller, castor, ball-bearing or belt driven 
  • Light sensor activation and control 
  • Smart conveyors that automatically direct packages to multiple locations 

Can machinery be used in a packing area? 

Using automated machinery is yet another way to create a more efficient packing operation. For example, a strapping machine or automatic case taper reduces the number of touches per pack. It also ensures that just the right amount of material is applied. When placed in production and packing lines, these machines considerably speeds up packaging application. 

What tape systems are the most efficient to use? 

Water activated tape, also referred to as gummed paper tape, is fast becoming the most popular form of carton sealing.  There are two reasons for this: it’s environmentally friendly – and it creates a superior bond to conventional non-recyclable plastic tapes. This makes it a must have in the packaging communities’ race to a circular economy. Both the reinforced and plain paper tape are 100% and recyclable. 

For high volume tape application, a dispenser like the BP555 is the perfect choice for the fast-paced sealing of random sized cartons. Alternatively, the BP222 is a sleek and lightweight manual water activated tape dispenser. It’s ideal for small or home offices, retail outlets and on-the-run shipping environments. We’ve found that switching to water activated tape from standard tape could save you up to 240% on tape usage per year. It could also increase efficiency and workflow by almost 60% compared to its plastic counterpart.  

Are there any alternatives to void fill?

If you are using bulky void fill, consider switching to an air pillow system. This will dispense a high quality and reliable air cushion, but only has a small footprint on the workbench. It can be seamlessly integrated into pack bench systems, with a single machine supplying multiple workstations. 

How can I minimise operator fatigue from prolonged standing? 

An anti-fatigue mat reduces fatigue and pressure on feet and legs. It will reduce the risk of musculoskeletal damage for any employees that has to stand for long periods of time. Theses mats have a cushioned foam back layer for optimum comfort. 

Industrial anti-fatigue mats are made of a hardwearing, soil resistant PVC and have a raised diamond pattern surface for improved underfoot grip. Soft mats are available for use in dry environments.  

Macfarlane Packaging offer a range of Pacplan Technik workstations, conveyors, Optimax automated packaging application systems and packing room accessories to help create a more efficient packing operation

Contact us today to find out more. 


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