6 signs that show your operation is ready for packaging automation
Keeping up with demand is often one of the keys to success for any business. Picking, packing and dispatching product quickly is a must! Particularly if you’re selling to consumers – many expect their goods to be delivered next day! So, how can you keep up with demand growth and seasonal spikes?
How you pick, pack, and ship your product is critical and can often be a pressure point. This means that choosing the right packaging solutions and equipment is important. Consider packaging automation… It can often transform the productivity of any packing operation.
However, when we last surveyed ecommerce and 3PL businesses, less than 10% reported using any sort of packaging automation. Yet over 40% said that during high seasonal demand pack times increased…
Deciding to invest in automated packaging machinery can be tricky though. When you first think about packaging automation the first thing than springs to mind can be how expensive it. In reality, there are lots of automation options available from small scale tape dispensers through to large scale box erectors and conveyors. If implemented wisely, automating some or all of your packing process can benefit your business and you’ll often find they return on investment sooner than you’d think.
So, when it the right time to introduce automation?
Signs your business might be ready for packaging automation
If you’re wondering if now the time is to introduce packaging automation into your business, look out for these signs:
- Your packaging is increasingly taking up room in your warehouse
- You continually need to hire new staff for your production and/or packing line
- Your packs produced per hour isn’t increasing in line with 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 increased workload
Noticing just one or more of these signs in your packing operation could be an indicator that it’s a good time to look at automated packaging machinery.
How packaging automation can benefit your business
If you’re still not sure about packaging automation, you should also think about the benefits automation can offer you.
Automation can dramatically improve the productivity of all areas of your packaging operation. From the instant advantage of improving packing times to influencing other aspects of your business like storage and transport, as well as your environmental impact you may be surprised about what using packaging machinery can offer.
By using packaging automation solutions, you can:
- Improve productivity, including throughput and handling
- Save on storage space
- Control material use & reduce material waste
- Minimise transport costs through consistent pack size
- Optimise product protection
- Consolidate labour requirements & lower need for temporary hires during peak
- Enhance customer perception
Whilst some automated packaging systems might seem like a big investment, you could see a return on this pretty quickly. The cost savings generated by the benefits of automation mean you’ll recoup the money you spend on packaging machinery within a 1-to-2-year time frame, but it could be even sooner. Yes, there is an initial cost for packaging automation, but it can futureproof your business and ensure you can cope with growth plans as well as seasonal demand.
What sort of packing processes can be automated?
So, now you’re thinking about adding automation to your packing process. But what processes can you automate?
Well, you can automate almost any packaging process. From boxing and bagging, through to taping, strapping, heat shrinking and pallet wrapping – there are automated systems for them all.
Packaging automaton is available for businesses of most sizes and can be scaled depending on your needs. If your operation is smaller, you can initially opt for automated equipment like gummed paper tape dispensers or tabletop void fill dispensers. Plus, if your business is palletising goods, a stretch wrap machine can often pay dividends quickly if you wrap 15 pallets or more and won’t cost the Earth when it comes to your capital!
For packing operations where demand is high or you’re forecasting significant growth, you can opt for fully integrated solutions like in-line case erectors and box makers, automatic labelling systems, conveyors, and even automated picking solutions.
Ask how we can help with packaging automation
The Macfarlane Packaging team can provide expert advice on automating your packaging processes, as well as supplying the packaging machinery and warehouse equipment you need.
Our Packaging Optimiser tool can even illustrate the impact packaging automation could have on your operation vs. manual processes. It can show you new estimated pack times, packs per hour and even your new labour costs per pack.
For more support when it comes to packaging automaton, get in touch with us today.