Tackling productivity challenges with packaging automation

By 23 Aug 2019

FMCG manufacturers face an ever-expanding list of challenges, and no matter what product, the label has a crucial role to play. It affects everything from tracking capabilities to regulatory and legislative adherence. By optimising business processes, automated labelling could be the key to closing the productivity gap between businesses and their competitors. Charles Bryan, national accounts manager at Domino Printing Sciences, looks at five ways businesses can benefit from packaging automation.

Through automation industry challenges can become exciting opportunities

Smart use of human talent

In a bid to enhance and continually improve productivity, the availability of labour is a key consideration. Despite the arduous nature of applying labels by hand, many manufacturers are still relying on it as a process. However, this in itself is an inefficient use of human resource. Machine automation offers labelling at a constant speed, eliminating the risk of mistakes through human error, thereby helping to preserve the quality of your final product. It’s not about displacing jobs with robotic automation, it is about using your talent smartly to unlock added value elsewhere.

Operational efficiency

Machines can be designed with enhanced performance output and readily deliver repetition. With packaging automation, your labels are applied at speed with — potentially — no human intervention. Automation allows for an uplift in speed, boosting the efficiency of packaging operations and in turn can help address the problem of managing the seasonal flux in demand for certain consumer products, ensuring that all orders can be fulfilled.

Consistency is key

Retailers want predictability and consistency in terms of labelling. That’s where machine automation is highly beneficial. Manual processes can expose vulnerability to the supply chain such as a team member missing putting a label on a pack, or even applying an incorrect label by mistake; both of which are common errors in hand-applied labelling. Technology has been designed to put the right label, in the right place and validate the label content in more sophisticated solutions — time after time — with repeatability and at scale.

Gather valuable data

Industry 4.0 is about data — and lots of it. In the process of automating packaging and labelling processes through coding automation, the data gathered provides insight into the efficiency of throughput, as well as the quality of a production lines output. You can also seamlessly track the overall equipment effectiveness of your printing machinery and make intelligent procurement and production decisions based on factual data.

Skills uplift within your workforce

And so we come full circle. Packaging automation doesn’t just free up human resource; it empowers the workforce to develop skills that can drive innovation and growth within business.  Automation provides ways to bring more quality, efficiency, and consistency to packaging operations, mitigate labour shortages and support skills development within your workforce, which both enhances and strengthens the business. Ultimately, companies must adapt to keep up; through automation industry challenges can become exciting opportunities.  


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