27 April 2017 //
by Jim Campbell
Henry Ford once said, “If you need a machine and don’t buy it, you will ultimately find you have paid for it, but don’t have it.” Many factors go into the decision to purchase a new packaging machine; ROI, labor costs, packaging efficiency, maintenance costs, distribution costs – and the list goes on. But when do you take Henry Ford’s advice and decided that your operation “needs” a new packaging machine?
Here are five signs that investing in new packaging equipment should be part of your budget this year.
1. Maintenance Costs Have Steadily Escalated Over the Past Year
Duct tape and zip ties may appear inexpensive, but are they the primary maintenance items keeping equipment together? On-the-fly engineering and seemingly cheap consumables can add up – and fast – especially when you consider the fully-loaded pay rates and opportunity costs. Even properly maintained systems and general fixes will only go so far. Over time, many older machines typically need additional hardware to continue to function efficiently. In many cases, as technology evolves packaging equipment hardware and software becomes not only out-of-date, but obsolete, and may not be easily updated. If your packaging machinery is beginning to show its age, and maintenance budgets are escalating as a result, then it’s time to prioritize investing in some new technology.
2. Bottlenecks are Affecting Your Overall Production Time
Bottlenecks in a production line are often a red flag that the line’s efficiency is being compromised. Assessing where the bottlenecks are occurring can be a clear indication as to what piece of equipment may need to be replaced. When a company increases production to meet consumer demand, bottlenecks can occur when the product approaches a packaging machine that is not designed to accommodate the higher throughput. Investing in packaging equipment that will accommodate higher production speeds can equals one less day of lost production.
3. Poor Product Packaging has Resulted in Increased Returned or Damaged Goods
Production managers are constantly looking for ways to mitigate bad product from going out the door. And poor packaging can negatively impact an organization just as much as mis-manufactured goods. Is your packaging suffering from poorly performing machinery and therefore letting your customers’ down? If so, evaluating the possibility of new packaging equipment is imperative to keeping your place in the industry.
4. Customer Demand Cannot Be Met with Existing Equipment
Consumer-driven product demands are driving additional SKUs and forcing CPGs to differentiate products from competitors. To meet these demands, the need for equipment flexibility is required meet the ever-changing needs of the marketplace. However, when not planned for correctly, these seemingly minor primary packaging product changes often can lead to significant deviations on secondary packaging equipment. If you find that your current packaging lines can no longer handle new product designs efficiently, new, flexible packaging equipment may be your solution.
5. Your Aging Packaging Equipment Has Become a Safety Hazard
Employee safety should always be considered when assessing existing packaging machines. Did your organization experience a near-miss or lost time due to an accident? If so, new packaging machinery is no longer a choice; it’s a business requirement. Outdated equipment not manufactured with today’s safety standards is an accident waiting to happen. New packaging machine designed with technology and guarding to prevent accidents is a wise investment.
Packaging systems don’t become outdated overnight. Daily wear, slow degradation, and gradual market shifts slowly build up, and as the years tick by it can be easy to overlook what would otherwise be obvious solutions. If you identified any of the above signs in your operation, I would suggest that you take Henry Ford advice – new machinery carries a cost, but so does not investing in necessary equipment.
Ready to update your packaging equipment? Identifying your needs and contacting a packaging equipment manufacturer should be your next step. Download EDL Packaging’s Free Planning Worksheet, “What to Ask Before Upgrading Your Packaging System” and then contact us today to get started.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted August 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.