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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Unitizing and Stabilizing Your Products: Strapping

Strapping, also known as banding or bundling, is a common way to unitize, stabilize, and secure products. The strapping process involves applying straps (or bands) to a unit or collection of units in order to hold those units in place, or to further secure boxes or crates in which products are packaged or stored. An example of a strapped pallet of products is shown in Figure 1.

 
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Figure 1

 

Many applications involve strapping individual boxes for further package integrity. An example of such is shown in Figure 2.

 

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Figure 2

 

The straps help hold the boxes in place, providing stability and therefore protection for the products inside the boxes. Combining strapping with stretch wrapping and corner board provides for a well-protected pallet of product. An example of such is shown in Figure 3.

 

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Figure 3

Types of Strap

There are many different types of strap. However, these many types fall under two primary categories: steel and plastic.

Steel Strap

Steel strap is used for medium- and heavy-duty applications. Steel strap is manufactured with many different widths, thicknesses, tensile strengths, etc.- all designed for a certain set of applications. Determining an appropriate type of steel strap is best performed by an R.V. Evans solutions representative. 

Plastic Strap

Plastic strap is used for light- and medium-duty applications. There are three primary types of plastic strap: nylon, polyester, and polypropylene. Additionally, each of these three material categories have been included in many different products designed for different applications. Determining the appropriate plastic strap for your application is best determined by an R.V. Evans solutions representative.

Strapping Equipment

Strap can be applied with manual hand tools, battery-operated hand tools, pneumatic tools, or semiautomatic and automatic strapping machines. Each type, size, and model of strapping tools provide a unique set of benefits. Finding the best one for you is, of course, best performed by an R.V. Evans solutions representative.

 

For more information on strapping applications, click here!

Your Source for Battery Operated Strapping Tool Maintenance & Repair

For complete maintenance and repair of your battery operated strapping tools, look no further than the experienced factory trained service technicians at R.V. Evans Company.

Our team of skilled service technicians at the R.V. Evans Company offer over 25 years of combined experience repairing battery operated strapping tools including battery operated sealers, tensioners, and combination strapping tools.  In addition to providing a high level of knowledge and experience, you can count on R.V. Evans Company to provide the following technical in-house service support for your battery operated strapping tools:

  • Trouble shooting
  • Replacement parts
  • Complete repair and maintenance
  • Service hotline to answer your battery operated strapping tool questions
  • Tool schematics
  • Safety resources
  • Factory trained service technicians

Some of the brands and models of battery operated strapping tools we support include:

  • Signode GripPack battery powered sealer for steel strapping
  • Signode GripPack battery powered tensioner for steel strapping
  • Signode BXT2 battery powered combination strapping tools for polypropylene or polyester strapping.  Includes BXT2-16, BXT2-19, BXT2-25/32 models.
  • Samuel battery powered plastic strapping tools including models P328, P329, and P331.
  • Fromm battery operated plastic strapping tools including models P318, P328, P329, P330, P331
  • Encore battery operated plastic strapping tool models EP-1355-12/58 and EP-1355-58/34
  • Zapak battery powered plastic strapping tools including models ZP21, ZP22, ZP93A, ZP97A
  • Orgapack battery powered hand tools for plastic strapping including models OR-T 120, OR-T 250, OR-T 400, OR-T 50

Contact R.V. Evans Company for more information about our battery powered strapping tool technical service capabilities.

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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The Difference Between Polyester and Steel Strapping

Steel & Plastic Strapping

Your shipment is about to go out, and there’s a sudden snap. One of the metal straps holding your product together and in place has broken. One of your workers sighs and goes over to replace it. As he’s removing the strap, he grabs the edge the wrong way and it cuts him. He’s bleeding, and needs medical attention. After getting him to the proper care facility, a small group of individuals gets the broken strap off and the new strap on by hand, taking up an hour of wasted time and unfortunately injuring a worker. Just as they finish fixing the strap, the forklift operator comes over to stack the product and – drops the pallet. Now the replacement strap has broken. There goes another hour.

What a headache.

It may seem like an exaggeration, but this disaster is more common than you would think when using metal straps on skids and shipments of any kind. The use of plastic straps over steel will eliminate the risk of being cut, keeping your workers and your sites safe. As opposed to steel straps, plastic straps have the following benefits:

  • Safety
    • No cuts, no lost time due to injury
  • Coil Weight
    • Weighs significantly less (only 55lbs!)
  • Cost
    • Costs less per foot than steel
  • No more seals
    • Saves money, less inventory
  • More feet per coil
    • 2.5 times more footage, fewer coil changes, less downtime
  • No corrosion
    • Won’t mar product, won’t leave residue
  • Tension
    • Better load containment and elongation recovery
  • No edge protection needed
    • Saves money, reduces inventory
  • Made from recycled material
    • Environmentally friendly and sustainable
  • Better Tooling
    • Signode

These easy-to-use tools save time, money, and of course, keep your employees safe. Signode tools apply friction to the strap to weld the strap ends together, rather than using seals. This way, there are no cuts, no wasted man hours, and no re-applying straps when the skids inevitably fall or the wood expands naturally.  All of this means your workers are no longer getting injured, are using recycled material, and are saving time by not using seals, and instead using convenient battery powered tools to strap products.  Don’t be left with a foreman’s worst nightmare. Save money and keep your employees safe. Head over to our strapping page, contact us, or schedule a site needs analysis to make sure you’re utilizing the best ergonomic tools for your job site.

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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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Is There a Difference in Strapping Joint Strength?

rv-evans-joint-strength-strappingA question that we hear a lot here at the R.V. Evans Company when discussing strapping is; “Is there a difference in joint strength between strapping materials?” This is often times brought on by the difference in appearance between steel strap and polyester strap. Naturally, you would think that the steel strap would be stronger, but in reality, the joint strength of strapping material is very similar.

Sealless Joint types

Sealless joints can be made with manual or pneumatic combination tools for steel strap. Using interlocking keys, the sealless joints provide static joint strength equal to that of notch-type joints. The reverse lock sealless joint features one reversed interlocking key for added security in impact conditions.

Basic seal joint types

Notch Joint

The most commonly used joints for steel strapping are down and reverse notch. One way to lock strap ends is to cut, or “notch” the seal and the strapping it joins to form tabs at the edges. These tabs are bent down (down notch joint) or bent up (reverse notch joint). The strength of the notch joint comes from the mechanical interlock between the seal and strapping. Notch joints are typically used on waxed steel strapping in packaging and unitizing applications.

Crimp Joint

Another way to seal the ends of strapping is to press or “crimp” undulations into the seal and strapping ends. The strength of the crimp joint comes from the deformed seal creating high frictional forces. Crimp joints produce high static and dynamic joint strengths and are used on applications in which the strapped load is subject to severe impact.  This style of joint is used in plastic applications as well.

Friction Weld

Polyester strapping uses friction seals to weld the strap, eliminating the need for metal seals. Additional savings can be gained via polyester’s low strap cost per foot and through reduced product damage from seals or staining. 

Summary

In conclusion, there is no strength lost from switching between steel and polyester strap with a properly specified strap recommendation. It is a general rule that you can expect 75-80% of the listed joint strength of strap. This rule holds true whether you are talking about battery powered hand tools or pneumatic hand tools for strapping. Though different types of strap are designed for different applications, there are benefits to each type and the joint type used. Contact the R.V. Evans Company to ensure that you are using the right type for you specific application.

For more information visit our website at www.rvevans.com or call us at 1-800-252-5894.

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Sources: http://www.rvevans.com/Packaging-Solutions/PDF/signode_catalog_spd_1445.pdf