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Not to be overlooked

14 May 2014

Selecting the right strapping system is essential to ensure an efficient distribution operation, explains Mosca Direct’s MD Gaye Tate.

Streamlining and efficiency does not end when a product is manufactured – indeed, transporting it quickly and safely to its final destination is of paramount importance, otherwise everything that has gone before will have been wasted and, more to the point, the supplier is unlikely to get paid!

When investment decisions are being made, the focus not surprisingly is on the larger pieces of kit. But this can mean that very little consideration is given to strapping requirements.

Equally, very often a company will carry on using the same old strapping equipment for years because of the perceived costs and disruption to production that can be envisaged in the buying of a new system. 

This can be a massive oversight in strategic planning. Strapping is a key link in the supply chain - ensuring efficient distribution between producers and end users.

Similarly if loads are not properly secured, goods can be damaged or further delayed during transit.

Naturally budgetary constraints and pressures will also be a critical part of any new production line process – and for that reason, many companies may consider that spending cash on a piece of end of line equipment before the old one breaks is a foolish idea. However, older models may already be costing money in terms of service charges and spare parts to keep them in use. 

And this last point is even more critical when companies do decide to invest in new strapping machinery. The tendency may be to go for the cheapest option and select a basic generic model but it is vital that its long-term performance is taken into consideration. As the saying goes ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ - those who favour the short-term gain offered by cheaper deals are soon likely to find that there’s a reason for this lower price. 

While some lower-cost manufacturers can copy a high-quality machine to a reasonable standard, there is a strong likelihood that it will cost more in the long run, both in terms of maintenance and reduced output. Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that companies who opt for the bottom end of the market tend to ditch their machines within two to three years, out of sheer frustration at the amount of downtime they have suffered.

By comparison, a high-quality strapping machine is designed to maximise throughput and minimise maintenance for a consistently reliable operation that over the years delivers a significant return on investment. 

This longer-term vision offers another benefit. The basic, generic models provided by cut-price imitators are based on the fallacy that one size fits all. Firms who have dealt with their customers for many years know the reality is that strapping requirements vary massively. The key to providing effective strapping solutions is to tailor them to those demands.