Can You Afford Flexible Packaging?

 

It is impossible to have control over every little thing that has an influence on the cost of doing business. Some things like the price of fuel or other energy items are simply beyond your control. On the other hand, there are various other factors you can control. One of them is packaging.

There are a wide variety of packaging options, depending on the particular product you produce. Each packaging format has its own pros, cons, and price. According to various research and reports, the use of flexible plastic pouches is still a prominent trend in product packaging. Large companies keep turning to flexible bag and pouch types and the stand-up pouch format is getting more popular. Sure, those companies can afford printed flexible packaging as it turns out to be the best packaging option for most products. But the question is, is it the most feasible option for new and smaller business? When you compare the cost of a printed stand up pouch versus other types of packaging, what is the best choice?

The first thing to have in mind is that all of the costs associated with product packaging are not always accurately reflected in what you pay. So let’s go through the 7 things you might want to consider when trying to figure out the true cost of any type of packaging.

Pack a bunch in a pouch

1.Production costs

How efficient is your package manufacturing process? Production of printed flexible bags such as the stand-up pouch is based on laminating together several layers of film. Each layer serves a purpose. The purposes can be strength, moisture and product protection or carrying important info. The savings when it comes to the amount of time and energy required for the production of thin layers of film comparing to glass and plastic jars are undeniable.

2. Materials costs.

Some flexible packaging styles like the stand-up pouch require up to 12 percent less material to make than other bag packaging. Not to mention the fact that flexible packaging truly is protective packaging. Therefore, it requires no additional inner liner, no outer box, bag, carton, or other secondary containers. This decreases or completely eliminates the costs of producing and storing extra packaging materials. Other Energy Costs

3. Other energy costs

Printed flexible packaging achieves savings on other energy costs as well. Since pouches require less material, they weigh less and therefore they also require less fuel per unit for shipping.

go for a stand up pouch

4. Waste

Printed stand-up pouches are incredibly strong which is why it is mostly used for food products. This means fewer returns since less pouches are likely to be damaged. Returns aren’t just costly in the short-term. They generate customer dissatisfaction which can have long-lasting effects. When it comes to waste it is important to emphasize that printed flexible packaging is also recyclable and landfill friendly.

5. Marketing and Brand Identification

Store shelves are an important opportunity for your products to make an impression. So, can printed stand-up pouches be a cost-effective marketing tool? The design of these pouches features wide front and back panels which leaves a lot of space for labels, print, windows or any combination of these. Attractively designed flexible retail packaging will stand out on the shelf and also stand out from the competing packaging types.

6. Convenience and customer satisfaction.

Many consumers claim that, besides quality, convenience is also an important factor. Printed flexible stand-up pouches are really convenient to use. Since they stand on their own, they are stored easily in the garage, the hall closet, kitchen cupboard, the refrigerator, RV or even a picnic basket. Tear notches make them easy to open and zip lock closures help to seal in flavor, freshness, nutritional value or chemical properties.

7. Packaging machinery

Some will say: “That’s all great, but I cannot invest in new packaging machinery to support this format”. New and small businesses are often unaware that utilizing a stand-up pouch doesn’t have to be as expensive and complicated as it might seem. Stand up pouches are mostly premade, which means that the pouch supplier does all the quality checks before delivering pouches to you. Packaging machinery for premade pouches doesn’t necessarily require much expertise to run. Well developed pre-made pouch filling and sealing machines can be quite affordable compared to other equipment, and it can even help you to reduce downtime. To learn more about efficient pre-made pouch filling and sealing machinery, check out our ROO-100, a compact packaging machine that, besides saving you time and money, also makes the best use of your floor space.

Is Your Business Ready for Packaging Automation?

Manual packaging processes make sense when you’re working with low throughput quantities.

However, when you face increased consumer demand, it is up to you to make a decision whether or not to invest in additional, more automated capital equipment. Making the shift from manual to automated packaging can seem like a hassle for new and small businesses, but bear in mind that avoiding the change can cost you even more in the long run.

Here are three basic steps that should help you to determine if packaging automation should be the next step for your product and business.

Ready for automation?

 

  1. Evaluating Your Business Goals

Identifying your business goals is the first step when determining if your business should move from manual to automated packaging. If your goal is to ship to a limited number of local stores, automated packaging probably isn’t the right solution for you. On the other hand, if you seek to expand your business into 100 regional stores, automation is something worthy of consideration. Defining your goals will help you discover which direction your business should take and if you should invest in new equipment.

 

  1. Analysis of your Current Packaging Environment

If you don’t know where you are, you can’t get where you want to go. This also applies when you are looking for a way to grow your business. An analysis of your current manufacturing process can help you discover the level of automation your business needs for the future.

Manufacturing areas you should assess include:

  • Current output rates
  • Any process bottlenecks
  • Primary packaging types

 

Go deeper into product and packaging types you want to develop in the future. Also, make sure to analyze the guidelines and requirements set by your current or potential product retailers. All of this should help you when identifying packaging and equipment goals. Consider:

  • Packaging weights
  • Carton/case dimensions
  • Pack counts
  • Handhold requirements

 

  1. Analyze Your Material and Labor Costs

You don’t have to necessarily go for high-speed, fully-automated lines. Some small manufacturers run effectively with a semi-automatic, or slow- to medium-automated packaging lines. When analyzing secondary packaging options, make sure to look at all of the factors that can affect your bottom line, including:

  • Time and resources associated with manually packaging and pallet-loading cases
  • Material, storage and freight costs associated with corrugated shipping containers
  • Equipment and material space savings

 

You’ll then be able to conclude if automation is feasible for your organization, what are your potential dollar savings and how large your capital equipment budget should be.

After you’ve completed your fact-finding steps, you are ready to make an informed decision about automation. If you share your findings with any potential packaging equipment manufacturers, they can develop a system according to your product and business goals. Automation is a prominent trend, but keep in mind that investing in automation has to make financial sense for your businesses, regardless of trends. If you are having second thoughts about automation, here are six signs that could show if your company needs to automate.

 

Sign 1 – Increased Production Demand

Does your main piece of equipment keep breaking down? Can your current production methods keep up with customer demands? Choosing the right automated system can help you achieve more efficient production and the ability to service big contracts.

Sign 2 – Increased Labor Costs

Employee safety in the workplace is a critical issue, especially in tough environments. Food processing or manufacturing jobs often mean working in wet and cold workplaces. Health issues due to working in unfriendly surroundings and repetitive motion injuries due to manual work are the main causes of absenteeism. Absenteeism, in the long run, increases your labor costs and decreases efficiency.

Sign 3 – Increased Competition

Your company probably needs to compete with similarly sized companies or with low-cost-labor companies from overseas. Automation is a good selling point. It shows your customers that you are able to provide a product or service at a lower cost and higher quality than an overseas provider. This can be a great advantage, especially when calculating time and cost needed for shipping.

6 signs you need automation

Sign 4 –New Markets and New Opportunities

If you are a company that makes only one product for one industry, you may be facing a tough choice: expanding to new markets or going out of business. If cheaper products from overseas threaten your existence, you should consider automation and expanding your production to new markets.

Sign 5 – Too Much Waste

Automation can support your decision to reduce wasted materials, wasted time, and wasted effort in pursuit of lean manufacturing objectives. Flexible systems can save both material waste and reduce production time.

Sign 6 – Demand for Ultra-Precise Assembly

Today’s assembly spaces are getting smaller, creating the need for precision beyond human abilities, especially in electronics. Besides electronics, this trend is affecting the assembly of automotive parts, household appliances, and surgical devices.

Deciding to automate your packaging process is a big step and in order to make it happen, you will need a trusting partner. Nortech Packaging is dedicated to developing automated packaging solutions that will respond to the client’s unique needs. If you are considering automated pouch packagingcartoning, palletizing, case packing, case loading, case erecting or line tracking, get a quote, and let’s get the automation started!