As technology advances, the business world is becoming more automated. Packaging operations are no exception. Warehouse packaging automation has evolved in recent years, reducing lead times for packaging orders while still maintaining high levels of accuracy.
The Evolution of Packaging
Packaging operations have gone through a packaging evolution over the past decade. After the 2008 recession, warehousing strategies shifted from lean manufacturing to agile manufacturing, which emphasized quick-shipment products instead of large quantities of inventory on hand at once. As a result, warehouse packaging grew increasingly sophisticated with scanners and barcodes embedded into packaging design rather than simply used as quality control measures after packaging was complete.
A warehouse packaging automation system typically has packaging lines representing products grouped together in the warehouse, each with its own packaging line. The benefit of this approach is that it reduces unnecessary motion in packaging items for which little or no change will occur. For example, if a packaging system consists of three packaging lines, then the product packaging manager can choose to have packaging lines one through three represent packaging line one, packaging line two, and packaging line three. This system would not require reprogramming each time a new product is introduced or discontinued.
If the warehouse packaging automation system consists of only one packaging line (one product group), then all changes must be made within that particular product group. This packaging line will be reprogrammed each time a product is introduced or discontinued. The packaging line might include multiple packaging operations such as packaging, labeling, and shrink-wrapping. This process may require reprogramming the packaging line to ensure that packaging lines operate correctly across multiple products as opposed to just one specific product.
Another benefit of packaging automation is reduced packaging errors due to human error. The packaging system can be set up to provide alerts when an issue occurs, which reduces the number of times packaging has to be thrown out or manually fixed by warehouse packaging managers or other packaging staff. This also minimizes costs associated with producing and selling less than perfect packaging.
The latest technology for packaging packaging is robotics. Robots are used to lift products into packaging, for example. This saves time by not requiring human packaging staff to do this job, while also ensuring that packaging machines operate at maximum efficiency without interruption or slowdown in order processing due to manual insertion of items into packaging machines.
GWC Packaging Automation Services
GWC can offer custom packaging automation services and products to help manufacturers, retailers, and others in need of packaging solutions. For more information on warehouse packaging automation, contact us today!