Rising Turnover Costs in Manufacturing: Mitigation Through Automation

Employee turnover can be expensive. In fact, Josh Bersin of Deloitte believes the cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5–2.0x the employee’s annual salary. These costs include hiring, onboarding, training, ramp time to peak productivity, the loss of engagement from others due to high turnover, and higher business error rates. (Altman, 2017).

In a time when speed-to-market, low defect rates, and low cost-per-unit levels drive profitability more than ever, manufacturers are particularly affected by employee turnover. In 2016, manufacturers experienced turnover rates of 16%. (Bares, 2017). Doing the math, one can see that if their company turns over 16% of their operating workforce, and turnover costs are 2x the lost workers’ salaries, then annual turnover costs can equal up to 32% of your total operating payroll per year (assuming equal wages for simplicity’s sake). The “learning curve” effect also plays its part in higher defect rates and lower productivity, decreasing product quality and speed-to-market (Argote and Epple, 1990). In other words, turnover can severely affect profitability, especially in manufacturing.

So, what can manufacturers do about it? The psychology and social science on this subject has been published for many years, yet turnover rates are still high and have risen consistently over the past five years. Let R.V. Evans Company take a different approach. If you’re a manufacturer, do any of these activities fall under any of your workers’ job descriptions?

  • Forming cases and boxes
  • Closing and stapling boxes/cases
  • Sealing/taping cases
  • Bagging parts
  • Stretch-wrapping pallets
  • Printing images, date and batch codes, or barcodes on products or cases
  • Applying labels
  • Manually creating void-fill protective packaging for cases
  • Manually shrink-wrapping products
  • Applying strap to bundles, boxes, pallets, etc.

If you answered yes to any of those, there is room for automation.

Automation doesn’t always come in the form of complete robotics; there are ways to semi-automate as well. Semi-automation reduces the amount of laborers required to perform certain tasks in the manufacturing process, particularly in packaging processes. Examples of automation and semi-automation include:

  • Incorporating a WFPS 3290 Combo to allow a single operator to form, pack, and seal up to 30 cases per minute
  • Using an AutoBag 550 to allow a single operator to bag up to 45 parts per minute
  • Install an Orion Flex Series stretch wrapper to wrap pallets much faster than by hand
    • with a 260% pre-stretch that can save up to several thousand dollars in stretch wrap per year
  • Implementing a Samuel Model P715 automatic plastic strapping machine to apply plastic strap to your packages at speeds of up to 60 straps per minute- without an operator
  • Connecting many of these systems and others via conveyor equipment
  • Much, much more

There are numerous ways R.V. Evans and its team of packaging solutions representatives can help you reduce turnover by eliminating some of those high-turnover positions entirely. This is not a recommendation to replace your good, high-quality people that make your operation great. This is a recommendation to allow R.V. Evans to help you find ways to eliminate positions that are difficult to keep occupied due to high turnover. Equip your good workers with the means to produce more and add more value- at a lower total cost. Automating, semi-automating, and/or streamlining your processes can increase your speed to market, decrease your cost-per-unit, lean out your labor force, and make you more money. 

Why R.V. Evans? Because we are a team of experts whose core competencies are creating packaging solutions and giving great customer service. We spend every day staying up to date with the latest technology, studying that technology, and creating ways to implement it in various manufacturing environments. You are the expert in your operation, and we are packaging solutions experts. Team up with us so we can create a packaging solution that is right for you. We will forever follow up with great service.

Here is how to get started. 3 options are included below.

  1. Click here to schedule a site needs analysis with one of our packaging experts
  2. Click here to request general information about a specific product or product line
  3. Call 800-252-5894 to speak to one of our wonderful customer service representatives

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Shrink and Stretch Wrapping: Differences and Applications

“Go ahead and shrink wrap that pallet”, my boss said before he walked out of the warehouse. I leaped into action only to waste 15 minutes searching for a shrink wrapper in the warehouse. There wasn’t one. As my boss returned, he said to me in an annoyed voice, “Ok, what was confusing about shrink wrapping the pallet?”. “I noticed there isn’t a shrink wrapper here, sir”, I said. He stared at me for a second before replying, “Ok…I guess it is hard to miss”, then he grabbed the pallet jack and wheeled the pallet over to a large, conspicuous stretch wrapper just 20 feet away.

There is a common confusion regarding shrink wrapping and stretch wrapping. These two applications have something in common: they are both methods of packaging something in plastic. However, these applications package things much differently and for different purposes.

Shrink Wrapping

Shrink wrapping is the process of using shrink film, a material comprised of polymer plastic, and heat to seal products inside of the shrink film. The heat application process can be done via either a heat gun or a shrink tunnel. Packaging manufacturers like Seal-A-Tron produce shrink wrapping systems for industrial applications. A shrink-wrapped item will look something like this:

Image result for shrink wrapped product

In some cases, entire pallets of produce can be shrink wrapped to provide a form of product protection in transit and/or storage. However, most applications involve individual products, especially food products.

Stretch Wrapping

Stretch wrapping is the process of wrapping stretch film, a highly stretchable and elastic plastic film, around products. The elasticity of the stretch film pulls the products together and keeps them secure. This process is often performed with a turntable stretch wrapping machine like Orion’s Flex CTS Twin Station Stretch Wrapper, although many options are available for different user needs. A stretch-wrapped pallet looks something like this:

Image result for stretch wrapped pallet

This particular pallet was also strapped and equipped with corner board, a form of protective packaging, for optimal protection and security in transit and in storage.

Which One Should You Use?

This question is best answered by requesting more information from the R.V. Evans team. However, to get you started, a brief breakdown of a couple advantages and applications is shown below.

Stretch Wrapping Applications/Advantages Shrink Wrapping Applications/Advantages
· Wrapping boxes and pallets of products

· Cost-effective (particularly with pre-stretch)

· Protection from dust, dirt, and moisture

· Typically used to secure single products

· Best choice for food products

R.V. Evans Co. would be happy to provide you with any additional information you need at 1-800-252-5894 or via the website.

Budget Friendly Solutions for Your Packaging Equipment Investment Needs

  1. Do you have a packaging project where new equipment is needed, but the scope of the project doesn’t justify an outright purchase of new packaging equipment?
  2. Do you need to meet an increase in production, but your budget won’t allow a capital investment in new packaging equipment?
  3. Do you experience down time in your packaging line but your budget won’t justify the purchase of a second piece of the necessary packaging equipment?
  4. Is your existing packaging equipment old, maintenance intensive, but money is not available for a replacement?
  5. Do you think your production volume is too low to justify automation in your packaging production line?

If any of these scenarios are preventing your company from investing in the packaging equipment you need for your production line, R.V. Evans’ Equipment Placement Program may be the packaging system solution you need to help take your packaging production process to the next level.

BEL 505 carton former with BEL 252 carton taper.

BEL 505 carton former with BEL 252 carton taper.

R.V. Evans’ Equipment Placement Program specializes in providing budget friendly investment solutions for a variety of new and used packaging equipment including:

For more information on R.V. Evans’ Equipment Placement Program, contact R.V. Evans or schedule an on-site review of your specific packaging application and receive your customized Equipment Placement recommendation and proposal.

Connect with R.V. Evans Company for new packaging and fastening system updates, tips, application solutions, and a little fun stuff too!

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Industrial Packaging: Functions and Materials

Industrial packaging includes a variety of materials, forms, applications, and equipment. There are multiple facets of industrial packaging, including Primary Packaging, Secondary Packaging, the function of each type of material, and the variety of applications in which you can utilize plastic industrial packaging. 

Industrial-Shrink-Film-on-a-Roll-Photo

Primary Packaging

Industrial packaging can refer to primary packaging – the packaging in which products are brought to market – (a good way to think of this is it’s often the last thing that you toss when the product is consumed, or it’s the packaging that comes directly in contact with the product)

Packaging Product
Bottles Soda, water, juice
Tubing Toothpaste, cosmetics,
Boxes Crackers, household goods, electronics
Jars Candles, Salad Dressing
Clamshells (plastic cases) Hardware (nuts, bolts, etc.), Toys
Shrink film Frozen Pizzas, Apparel

Secondary Packaging

Secondary packaging refers to protective packaging, including strapping, edge protection, stretch film (palletizing), envelopes, etc. This is the packaging that is used to protect the product in transit, storage, and on the shelf. Secondary packaging also includes –

   Air pillows         Air cushions
   AirPouches         Void fill
  Paper void fill         In-the-box-paper packaging
  Foam-in-place         Rolled bubble and foam products
  Corrosion prevention         Bubble wrap
  Paper liners         Air pouches
  Packing peanuts         Corrugated boxes
  Protective sheeting

What it’s made of: Polyethylene Film

One of the most prevalent materials in the flexible packaging industry is polyethylene (PE) film. Polyethylene is made from ethylene gas and is versatile, tough, has good clarity, and there are several variations with distinct and specific characteristics that make it a preferred material for industrial packaging applications.

There are several variations of PE film that are regularly used; three of the more popular types are LDPE, LLDPE, and HDPE. PE film is a popular flexible packaging material because of its relatively low cost, sealability, moisture barrier, and tear resistance. Its applications are versatile, ranging from uses within the agriculture, construction, and manufacturing industries. There are several different types of PE, three of the most common are:

  • LDPE – Low Density Polyethylene film
    • LDPE film is known for its toughness, flexibility, and fair transparency.
  • LLDPE – Linear-Low Density Polyethylene Film
    • Characteristics of LLDPE film include its high tensile strength, high impact and puncture resistance, flexibility, and resistance to chemicals and UV radiation.
  • HDPE – High Density Polyethylene Film
    • HDPE film is known for its high clarity and scratch resistance. HDPE film is harder, stiffer, and stronger when compared to LDPE film.

Applications for LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE films

LDPE film is often used to produce

  • Bags:
    • dry cleaning bags
    • newspaper bags
    • bread bags
    • frozen food bags
    • household garbage bags
  • Other uses include:
    • shrink wrapping
    • stretch wrapping
      • Stretch wrap is available in “hand wrap” or for “machine use”
    • bags on a roll
    • bubble packaging
    • industrial liners
    • container lids
    • toys
    • squeezable bottles

LLDPE film is used in the same applications as LDPE along with applications that require more toughness and sealability.

  • Hardware
  • Automotive parts
  • Food
  • Craft items
  • Medical devices
  • Electronic components
  • Retail applications

HDPE film is used in similar applications as LDPE and LLDPE films. HDPE is stiffer than other PE films, which is beneficial when packaging needs to retain its shape

  • medical
  • food
  • sporting goods
  • any application that might result in chemical contact with the film

These types of films are used for protective packaging, satisfying the needs of small operations (with 5 to 10 packages per day) and large operations packaging product around the clock. Different forms everyone is familiar with are bags, sheeting, tubing, casing, and liners. When you purchase anything that needs to be assembled at home, the hardware is in a PE film bag. When you see a home renovation or remodel, the plastic sheeting that is often protecting the floor or furniture is PE film. Trucks hauling equipment or pallets that are covered by plastic sheeting – polyethylene film! Garbage liners and mattress bags are also made from polyethylene films.

When it comes to industrial packaging and uses, PE film is one of the most common. You’ll find it in primary packaging, secondary and protective packaging. You’ll also find PE film in several different variations, serving multiple purposes because of its versatility and affordability.

Contact one of R.V. Evans’ sales professionals to discuss the material you’re currently using and the potential in your industrial packaging processes at 1-800-252-5894 or visit our website at www.rvevans.com

You can also email us at sales@rvevans.com or connect with us through our social sites.

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Ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in Your Packaging & Fastening Process

Ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in Your Packaging & Fastening Process

Logo courtesy of http://americarecyclesday.org/

Logo courtesy of http://americarecyclesday.org/

November 15th was America Recycles Day so it seems fitting to provide businesses with some ideas that may help them reduce, reuse, and recycle in their industrial packaging and fastening processes.

Not only does the R.V. Evans Company make every effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle in their daily business practices, we also partner with manufacturers to distribute products that help our business partners find sustainable methods of packaging & fastening.  Business’ today are seeking solutions that can help them reduce their environmental footprint and R.V. Evans Company can help provide solutions that will not only minimize environmental impact, but will also provide overall savings in the total cost of ownership.

Following are a few ideas to get you started.  Click on each application category title below and then the Sustainability heading to access additional information including a number of white papers.

  • Bagging Applications – Use baggers with printers to print variable information on bags to reduce inventory of multiple pre-printed bags for multiple SKUs.  There are also a number of biodegradable films available for bagging applications.
  • Shrink Wrapping Applications – A variety of energy-efficient equipment options are available.  There are film down gauging options to help reduce materials. In shrink bundling applications the use of corrugated products can drastically be reduced.  There are also a variety of biodegradable shrink film options available.
  • Stretch Wrapping Applications – There are a number of ways to reduce stretch film consumption such as reviewing the overall application method, analyze film stretch, and load stabilization.
  • Strapping Applications – In many strapping applications there are opportunities to reduce material usage by using a higher strength strap that has been manufactured using fewer raw materials.
  • Carton Forming & Closure Applications – Use energy-saving carton forming and closure equipment with a built-in power save mode.  Review methods of carton closure such as taping, gluing, and stapling.
  • Marking, Coding, & Labeling Applications – Printing directly on a label or carton can drastically reduce wasted packaging materials like preprinted cartons.  Consider energy saved when using electric equipment vs. equipment requiring the use of compressed air.
  • Protective Packaging Applications – There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of packaging used to protect products and fill voids in shipping.  The best way is to measure the savings and reduction using a free “pack-out” test.  Contact R.V. Evans to learn more.
  • Nailing, Stapling, Collated Screw Applications – For those wood & steel recyclers – fasteners are a must.  The use of nails, staples, screws, pins, adhesives, and more make rebuilding, recycling, and reusing a cinch.  R.V. Evans Company has a multitude of creative fastening solutions for those challenging fastening projects.

Let us know how we can help you with your sustainability goals in your packaging and fastening processes in 2014.  Contact R.V. Evans Company today!

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Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Shrink Film?

Most people are currently using a particular gauge of shrink film because that’s what has always worked. What many people don’t know is that based on their specific application or process, there are several options available to reduce their shrink film usage and increase their bottom line. Most proactive shrink film projects are focused on corrugated reduction by using a PE (Polyethylene) shrink film instead of corrugated box. This can be done with a bundler.

In order to show a film savings, down gauging or downsizing the width of the film needed. This can be accomplished in a couple different ways.

rv-evans-shrink-film-gauge-guide

Determine the correct film width

The image to the right is a formula that can be used to determine the correct film width. By determining the dimensions of the product that you are packaging into the formula, it will provide the correct width of film that should be used in the process.

Switching to an automatic side seal

In a high speed or high volume application, going from an automatic or manual L Bar Sealer to an automatic side sealer can offer tighter package dimensions of film, therefore resulting in film reductions.

You can also save money through other options. One simple solution is switching the size of the shrink film roll to a jumbo roll, which has twice the footage. The benefit of this is fewer changeovers needed which results in less downtown.

Utilizing pre-perforated shrink film is another step that end users can take advantage of. By having the shrink film pre-perforated, there is no longer a need for handling or maintaining a perforating wheel. Perforating wheels are comprised of hundreds of small pins used to poke through the shrink film to make hundreds of small holes (perforate it.). After a while, these pins begin to become dull from extended use. When this happens, maintenance is required on the wheel and all of the small pins need to be sharpened again which can be time consuming. The use of pre-perforated shrink film also results in less downtime and fatigue caused from setting up the roll on the wheel.

Just because a shrink packaging process is working does not necessarily mean that it is the most cost effective solution for that specific application. Having a Packaging Specialist analyze and consult with you on your shrink packaging process can help reduce material costs and increase productivity.

For more information on shrink film solutions or a free consultation feel free to contact us at sales@rvevans.com or visit us at www.rvevans.com or call 1-800-252-5894

You can also connect with us through our social sites:

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Happy Packaging!

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