The realities of today’s market for consumer packaged goods (CPGs) are all about meeting the needs of a diverse and fragmented public. It’s not enough to box up your core product and ship identically packed boxes to retailers. Wholesalers, big box stores, dollar stores and convenience stores all have specific requirements, from the size of the product itself all the way down to specifications in secondary packaging.
For a Production Manager, this means there’s an ongoing challenge of optimizing efficiency while jumping between shorter runs. With that in mind, here are four inefficiencies CPG manufacturers commonly face:
A shortage of qualified machine operators, and keeping them on the payroll, is a battle just about everyone is fighting.
Thanks to the wide variety of sizes and flavors CPG manufactures have to meet the needs of their customers, changeovers are unavoidable. Machines that are ill-suited for rapid changes, with lengthy cleaning and maintenance procedures, add time to the process.
Unexpected downtime caused by faults creates delays, disrupting tight schedules and generating waste. While some of these faults can be traced back to human error during changeovers, introducing new configurations the machine wasn’t built for can also be a root cause.
As a CPG manufacturer adds products and packaging configurations, it’s not uncommon to discover new bottlenecks that need to be solved. That’s where a Production Manager will be looking to human and technical solutions to optimize line utilization.
Below are some best practices CPG manufacturers can deploy to solve these inefficiencies.
With machine diagnostics built in to the equipment through the HMI, Production Managers and machine operators have the ability to review what went wrong and why. Eliminating the guesswork instantly reduces the time spent on recovering from faults and failures on the line.
Bridge the knowledge gap
Shortening the learning curve with simple, clear processes and instructions will bring trainees up to speed quickly. How easy is it for equipment operators to solve problems? Are you leaning on their aptitude for retaining seldom-used procedures from a one-time training session, or can they access solutions at their fingertips?
Speed and ease of changeovers
Too many change-points and parts subtract precious minutes from available production time and create variability in configurations that makes scheduling runs less predictable. How easily can your team execute an accurate, precise and repeatable changeover?
Focused purchasing processes
When it comes time to invest in new equipment, is your team focused on price as the final deciding factor, or does your purchasing process take into account what will run well day-to-day and provide the most return on investment?
Access to support
Another important consideration when purchasing equipment is the location of the original equipment manufacturer, and their availability to help. If the OEM is located overseas, ask plenty of questions on what that means for your access to service and engineering support.
New products are a must to surviving in today’s competitive CPG environment. But if marketing and production aren’t connected, the product launch can quickly turn into a battle between managing expenses and minimizing delays. Working together can ensure good product design and adequate lead time to procure the needed equipment.
Ready to optimize your production line with secondary packaging machines that support your team’s ability to meet the demands of today’s complex market? Get in touch with a Douglas team member now to learn more about how our line of innovative secondary packaging solutions can be completely customized to your unique needs.