There are a wide range of decisions that go into designing a process flow, and each has an impact on production efficiency and product quality. However, one of the most critical factors for business success is often overlooked. Choosing whether to pack boxes by weight or by count – and then selecting the most effective packaging equipment systems to complete the task accurately – can dramatically impact customer satisfaction and bottom-line revenue.
Advanced Solutions for Accurate Packing
Traditional line operations have relied heavily on manual labor, and the process of counting or weighing product required a significant investment of time. Results were subject to human error, and a single worker could delay the entire workflow. Advanced packaging equipment delivers fast, efficient packing solutions that produce consistent, reliable results. This reduces the cost of returns, complaints and rework. In addition, labor costs are lower, and the work environment is safer for workers. Machine counting and weighing decreases the risk of repetitive stress injuries – one of the most frequently reported work-related injuries.
Benefits of Packing by Weight
Small and irregularly shaped items are ideally suited for weight-based packing. Boxes can be loaded in bulk because fine-tuning to reach the indicated weight simply requires adding or removing a few pieces. Counting products, such as condiment packages, manually is impractical due to the amount of labor such an activity would require, and machine counting large quantities of these items slows the line down unnecessarily.
Advanced packing equipment uses a dual-scale approach to ensure the greatest efficiency when packing by weight. At the first station, boxes are filled near-full in bulk. At the second station, a trickle method is used to ensure boxes reach the correct weight without going over. Carefully calibrated scales are capable of ensuring customers are never short on product while simultaneously taking care to keep overfill to a minimum. Over time, this means significant savings in reduced product giveaways.
Benefits of Packing by Count
When customers expect their shipment to include a certain number of items, packing by weight simply won’t do. Any discrepancy in count means either a loss to the customer or a loss to your business, which rapidly causes issues such as complaints and lost revenue. Most businesses choose the count method for products that are sized and shaped in a way that can be efficiently counted and securely packed, for example, snack foods and candy bars.
New packing technology makes it possible to automate product counts, maximizing efficiency by utilizing more than one lane. These machines are designed to settle product in the box, limiting or fully eliminating the need for any manual intervention.
The Importance of Accuracy
One of the most pressing factors in choosing between packing by weight or by count is which will be most accurate for the specific product. Customer complaints aren’t the only issue when boxes arrive with fewer items than expected. The US Department of Commerce has a division dedicated to ensuring fair trade, and there are specific regulations related to accurate labeling of packages. In addition, there are state laws that regulate labeling and packing of product. Repeated distribution of boxes short on product can result in unwanted attention from these agencies.
The costs associated with packing product for distribution have an impact on bottom line profits. With careful packaging systems integration and effective use of resources, accuracy can be increased and expenses can be decreased to maximize business success.