Cope with rapid increase in demand
11 May 2020
With COVID-19 causing a rapid increase in the demand for food and drink, could packaging efficiency and automation provide the buffer businesses need during peak times?
In March grocery sales grew by 20.6% and alcohol by 22% so finding ways to cope with the peaks and troughs in demand continues to be a challenge for many retailers and logistics businesses. It’s a challenge that is compounded by the continued coronavirus uncertainty and how that may affect the availability of casual labour which is relied upon to cope with packing work during busy periods.
However, there are ideas, tools and techniques that businesses can implement now to help keep things flowing and Antalis Packaging can find and offer these solutions.
Analysis and planning
One of the ways to help with successful planning for peak times is to look at the entire packing workflow – from where packaging is stored on the warehouse shelves, to how the final product is loaded onto delivery vehicles. To help with this Antalis Packaging is able to provide a free packaging audit. The company’s packaging experts can help identify any bottlenecks for both packaging and workflow before sharing ideas and advice on how to improve.
One of the greatest challenges for many packing operations presently is having enough hands on deck. While casual labour can be called upon to support the regular workforce, it can be difficult to get temporary workers trained and familiar with the processes. More hands on deck can also have a negative impact on the workflow efficiency, available space and create logistical issues.
The answer can be found with the introduction of some level of automation. Antalis Packaging has solutions from case erectors that take flat packed boxes and build them up, or pallet wrappers that minimise use of stretch film and require only one person to operate - there are several ways to help speed up the packing process and reduce the need for lots of space.
Antalis is also able to source machinery quickly from its UK stock for immediate installation if required, as well as quick access to US stock - imports from some European countries are presently subject to delays.
Following the introduction of an automated packaging machine from Antalis, one of its customers managed to eliminate 50% of the packaging materials they had been using and so reduce their packaging storage by as much as 100 pallets. Another customer switched from using a pallet shrink gun to a semi-automated pallet wrapping machine, leading to improvements in health and safety, a 70% quicker pallet wrapping time, 75% waste reduction, improved load containment and a cost saving of over 60%². As well as the obvious cost benefits, this level of efficiency helps in peak periods to get goods packed, wrapped and out of the door faster.
Customers still need to find ways to increase efficiency and control or reduce costs – especially with the pressures they are currently facing. Antalis has discovered that it is possible to reduce customer’s logistics costs by about 15%, simply through better, and consistent, sizing of boxes that is achievable through the use of automated machinery, such as case erectors and sealers.
Antalis Packaging has also set up a number of new initiatives to help with the present challenges of keeping products moving:
Online ordering to quickly reorder with next day delivery – new clients can register now on Antalis’ website.
Full ranges and alternative sizes or styles to complement or replace existing packaging eg, changing a standard box to a crash lock bottom can halve packaging times.
Particular solutions for packaging food e.g. Thermal packaging to keep chilled and frozen products cool during delivery.
Antalis has created a new virtual smart centre experience, enabling the creation of packaging design from the safety of your home or office. Packaging Technologists have already created design solutions that perfectly fit customer needs - whether it’s for a tailor-made pack or a new packaging system.
John Garner, head of business development – Packaging Antalis said: “As food businesses are faced with dealing with the immediate issue of getting goods out of the door, whilst at the same time facing the challenges of controlling cost, sustainability etc, they must also consider post COVID scenarios and make wise decisions about investment and planning that will help them both now and in the future. Antalis Packaging can help by recommending solutions that enable companies to implement robust measures that will support with the current crisis but also make them less susceptible to the downsides of normal peak seasons and more able to reap the future rewards.”