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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Understanding Dim Weight

Keeping costs low while still providing the best services and solutions to customers will always be the priority of any business. Sometimes, unfortunately, new policies can make cutting costs a lot more difficult.

In an effort to update their value analysis for the space on their trucks and prevent ‘cubing out’ (when a truck runs out of space before it reaches its weight capacity), FedEx and UPS have both made the switch to dimensional weight practices, or dim-weight. This means that all boxes, not just the ones above 3 cubic feet, will be charged for either the actual weight of the package, or the dimensional weight – whichever is greater. This means that all boxes leaving your warehouse have to be measured as well as weighed, adding a whole new element of labor to your shipping process.

Dimensional weight is easy to figure out. Take the length, width and height of a package and divide it by 166 if the package is being shipped domestically and 139 if it is being shipped internationally. The equations look like this:

dim weight domestic

Domestic

dim weight international

International

Although they seem simple enough, these equations can mean bad news for businesses that use UPS and FedEx to ship products to their customers. Unless you’re using a packaging method that actively works to reduce the size of packages without sacrificing the safety and value of your product, you can be sure that prices to ship your inventory will go up.

All companies need to make sure that their shipping departments are aware of this change and knowledgeable about how to help decrease the dimensional weight of packages exiting the warehouse. Another thing to be aware of is bulging. If a box bulges due to poor handling on the shipper’s part, new fees can be incurred due to the dimensional change. If you have had issues with either a disproportionately large dimensional weight or package bulging when you are shipping, a new packaging solution is essential for your company to keep costs down.

There are a number of solutions to the issues imposed by this new policy, and the main one is to use more efficient, low weight packaging. Alternative packaging methods like bags, Surface Guard cohesive packages, and smaller cartons with less air are just a few examples of necessary solutions that will reduce your headache.

Click here to see all of the different solutions from different industry leading packaging companies that R.V. Evans has to offer. You can also visit our contact us page, or schedule a site needs analysis with one of our professional representatives.

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10 Tips for Maintaining Pneumatic and Cordless Fastening Tools (part 1)

With winter quickly approaching, it is important to perform seasonal and routine maintenance on your tools to insure their longevity. Below are 5 tips (look for the last 5 tips later this week) to help you prepare your tools for the upcoming winter months and beyond.

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  1. Read and understand the instruction manual: This document not only explains the proper way to use the tool, but also explains many of the tips and processes that will extend your pneumatic or cordless tool’s life and keep you safe.
  2. Always wear safety glasses: Most pneumatic tools will send debris through the air.  Debris may include fragments of the collation material or pieces of the lumber that the fastener is being fired into.  Regardless of the projectile, safety glasses are essential for any pneumatic or cordless tool operator’s visual longevity.
  3. Oil tools daily: Many pneumatic & cordless tools use engines that require the use of rubber O-rings and those O-rings require lubrication in order to function properly.  The following points will ensure that you are oiling your pneumatic & cordless tools properly. Read your instruction manual and make sure that your tool requires oil, and if so, the manual will tell you the recommended amount of oil and when to oil the tool.  Some tools are oil-less and may not require oil. If you are using your tool in a harsh climate, including those climates that are extremely high in humidity or cold temperatures, be sure to check with the tool manufacturer.  These climates may require the use of oils that are designed specifically for these climates. Tools should be oiled prior to every use, and they should also be oiled prior to storage.  Tools that sit in storage for an extended period of time without oil have a higher chance of drying out, thus damaging internal parts.
  4. Do not drop tools: Pneumatic & cordless tools are not designed to be dropped from any height.  Although many of them are tested to withstand several different forms of abuse, it is always in the best interest of your tool investment to set tools down on a surface that is dry and clean. If you are using your tool in a location that does not require much  obility there are several different zero gravity tool balancers that are available.  Tool balancers can not only prevent a tool from being dropped and damaged, but they can improve the ergonomics of any operator.
  5. Know the difference between air volume and air pressure and how it affects your pneumatic tool: Air volume and air pressure are very different components of performance for pneumatic tools.  Air volume is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), and air pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Too much air pressure can cause serious  amage to your tool and even bodily damage; most tools have a maximum air pressure rating of 120 PSI – PLEASE READ YOUR PNEUMATIC TOOL’S OWNER’S MANUAL FOR MORE INFORMATION.  Too little air pressure will result in poor performance.  Poor performance can mean improper nail feeding or jamming, and will likely prevent the tool from countersinking a fastener as it should. Air leaks can affect both air pressure and air volume.  Be sure to check your air lines, couplings, and fittings regularly to make sure you are maximizing the air flow to your pneumatic tool.

Be sure to connect with us on one of our social sites for part 2 of this blog series which includes 5 more tips.

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For more information on how you can properly maintain your tools or to speak with a service technician you can reach us at http://www.rvevans.com or at 1-800-252-5894

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Pins or Screw Systems: Which One Should You be Using?

Fastening applications can be challenging, especially when trying to determine the best fastener for the job.  A popular question we are often asked here at R.V. Evans is “when should I use collated pins vs. collated screws in my fastening application?”  Our recommendation weighs heavily on the material you need to fasten together in the application.

In our opinion, the Muro wood to steel floor screws are the best for utility screws-pin-systemstrailers where the customers are attaching 2″ thick wood to a steel frame. They have a larger diameter and a much larger head size than the Aerosmith pins. This holds the wood better and has less chance of pull-through. In most cases, the Muro screw is faster than pre-drilling and using bulk screws. That is its best-selling feature.

The Aerosmith pins are 5-10 times faster than screws. Their pullout values and cost is comparable to collated screws. If they are being used for heavy gauge steel you will need to use the high pressure system.  This requires the purchase of a high-pressure (400 psi) air compressor, hose, and tool. With the low pressure tools, any jobsite compressor will work. For trailers or truck boxes that are fastening plywood or sheeting to steel, there isn’t really any comparison as long as the volume justifies the tool cost. The Aerosmith pins provide a huge labor savings.  We have sold Aerosmith for construction use when the customer was attaching plywood or hardy board to steel studs. Both times the customer was replacing bulk screws with the low pressure Aerosmith system and they loved the speed and ease of use.

If you are unsure whether or not you are using the right fasteners for your specific application or are looking for ways to improve your process, feel free to contact us to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced Fastening Specialists.

Contact us at www.rvevans.com or by calling 1-800-252-5894 or connect with us on our social sites:

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Happy Fastening!

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Why 2013 is the Best Time to Purchase New and Used Equipment

As we approach the end of the 2013 calendar year, many companies begin looking at their current equipment situation to determine if a new or used piece of equipment is needed. Fortunately for these companies, the Section 179 Deduction for 2013 exists.

What is it?

The Section 179 Deduction is a 154 page bill better known as the “Fiscal Crisis Bill”. To read all 154 pages click here. To summarize, the Fiscal Crisis Bill provides three things:

• 2013 Deduction Limit = $500,000 (2012’s old limit was $125,000 deduction)

• 2013 Limit on Capital Purchases = $2,000,000

• 2013 Bonus Depreciation = 50%

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Important things to note:
According to section179.org there are three important things to note about this bill:

• Section 179 Deduction is available for most new and used capital equipment, and also includes certain software.
• Bonus Depreciation can be taken on new equipment only (no used equipment, no software)
• When applying these provisions, Section 179 is generally taken first, followed by Bonus Depreciation – unless the business has no taxable profit in the given tax year.

So, with a $500,000 deduction and a Bonus Depreciation of 50% on new equipment placed in use through December 31st, 2013, that makes 2013 the best time to invest in new equipment. And best of all, packaging equipment distributed by R.V. Evans Company qualifies for tax incentives! Unfortunately this deduction only lasts through December 31st, 2013.
As the end of the calendar year approaches, be sure to take time to schedule a review of your facilities. Feel free to contact us for a free Site Needs Analysis and let us help you determine if new or used equipment can benefit your packaging process.

You can reach us at 1-800-252-5894 or visit us at www.rvevans.com
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Happy Packaging!

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The Benefits of Having a Preventative Maintenance Program

We all know the feeling that comes with the experience of something not working. It doesn’t matter what it is, your phone dies, your laptop quits working, or your air conditioner doesn’t blow out rv-evans-preventative-maintenance-programcold air anymore. These are all inconveniences that can cause not only frustration, but money. The same thing can come from a piece of equipment in your packaging process not working correctly.

Having a preventative maintenance program is an important piece for facility management. Having machines routinely checked and maintained can improve performance and the safety of the equipment. On top of that, ensuring that a machine is running how it is supposed to can improve the lifetime of the equipment. Implementing a preventative maintenance plan can avoid unplanned maintenance activity that would otherwise occur through system failure or unexpected troubles. Having to make a service call to receive system maintenance can be costly and also causes downtime for the machine, resulting in lost profits from loss of production.

The decision on whether or not to implement a preventative maintenance program is often debated through a cost benefit analysis – is the cost of having a preventative maintenance program worth the benefits that we will receive from it. Preventative maintenance programs can often be more expensive when using in-house human resources due to the extensive training involved on new pieces of machinery. In this case, outsourcing your preventative maintenance program can save money.
Implementing a preventative maintenance program far outweighs the cost of one through the following steps:

  • Decreased downtime for equipment.
  • Longer lifetime of equipment.
  • Less expensive for routine maintenance as opposed to emergency or off hours maintenance.
  • Improves the functionality and safety of the equipment, resulting in improved safety for operators and employees.

To learn more about implementing a preventative maintenance program at your facility, feel free to contact us at sales@rvevans.com or visit us at www.rvevans.com or call us at 1-800-252-5894

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3 Things You Should Know About Carton Closing

Carton Closing Stapler

Carton Closing Stapler

There are a variety of ways to close and seal a carton. The method that you choose to close the cartons in your packaging process can greatly affect the condition of the product when it arrives to your customer. If the product arrives in poor condition, it not only runs the risk of being returned with a complaint, but it hurts your company’s brand. Using the correct method to close and seal cartons can reduce material costs as well as increase shipping conditions.

There are a variety of methods for closing your cartons including staples, tape, and plastic strap. All are designed for different applications. Some of the most common use of staples and plastic strap is to keep cartons sealed that may contain heavier items that would normally rip tape, whereas tape may be used in applications where higher volume production is present.

These are very basic examples of applications where these carton closing methods would be used, in all truth, each application is unique. There are a variety of factors that must be taken into consideration in order to achieve the optimal carton closing method. 3 important factors are:

1)   Storage and Shipping

One factor that comes into play is; what is happening to the product after it is packaged and the carton is closed? If it is immediately going into ground shipment and it is a heavier item, then staples may be required to ensure that the product stays in the carton. If the product is going off of the packaging line and being placed on a skid to be stacked, you may be able to get away with tape to close the carton.

2)  Production Volume

Another factor is the volume of packaging that is occurring in the application. If you are operating with very low volume, using stick staples in a carton closing stapler may be adequate. As packaging volume increases, your method needs to change to meet the demand. Staples can also come in roll format; these are collated rolls of up to 5,000 on most Bostitch rolls. If volume increases even more, tape systems can meet the demand of higher throughput. Systems like the Wexxar BEL250 are designed to seal up to 25 cases per minute.

3)  Environmental Factors

Another factor to take into consideration is the environment in which the carton is being closed. Dirty and dusty environments can leave residue on the corrugated container making it more difficult for tape to seal, but does not affect carton closing staples. Also, if there is a void around the product, you may risk damaging the product with staples.

There are a plethora of factors that come into play when deciding whether to use tape or staples. Using the correct method will provide better results, reduce wasted material and cut down on costs. Take time to identify some of the factors that may affect your end product to ensure that you are using the correct carton closing method.

Happy Packaging!

For more information you can contact us at 1-800-252-5894 or by visiting our website at www.rvevans.com

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