Since the onset of the coronavirus, consumer preferences and buying patterns have changed, leaving food and beverage manufacturers scrambling to find ways to increase production rates despite a lean labor market, supply shortages and economic disruptions. In addition to challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, manufacturers have long struggled with inconsistencies in their packaging production lines such as:
- Improper labeling
- Missing or illegible words and graphics
- Missing barcodes or markings
- Use of improper packing materials
- Inaccurate product weights, and more
These inconsistencies add up over time, resulting in unsellable products, reworks, quality defects or damage that occurs during the shipping or distribution process. To mitigate this risk, manufacturers have started exploring new food and beverage packaging technology to adapt to these challenges and improve production and throughout.
Packaging Trends: Top Challenges Facing the Food and Beverage Industry
For many enterprises, implementing a semi- or fully automated packaging system reduces risk, enhances regulatory compliance, improves safety and positions them for long-term profitability. Let’s explore the most common challenges currently faced by the food and beverage industry and the various ways automation solves those challenges.
Supply Chain Inefficiencies
As rising supply costs and fluctuating supply shortages continue to wreak havoc on manufacturing operations, managing raw materials and packaging supplies becomes more critical than ever. Automation can cut down on material waste that may result from hand wrapping a pallet load or manual case forming. Using a case that is not designed with efficient packing of your product creates time and material waste. And with automation, just the right amount of stretch film is used to properly contain a load and boxes are erected and sealed properly — saving money from wasted material, labor costs and rework.
Nearly every business is experiencing labor challenges to some degree, whether that is on the packing line or other stages of production. Any time a product must be filled, weighed, inspected, labeled or packaged by hand it requires personnel to perform the task. Without adequate staff, bottlenecks form impacting production and quality. Automated systems can run with fewer operators than manual packaging operations — increasing uptime and allowing the business to reallocate key workers in profit-generating roles rather than repetitive tasks.
Food and beverage manufacturers can automate most processes on the line, reducing the need to fill numerous positions with qualified workers. Feeders/fillers, checkweighers, marking and coding equipment, labeling, stretch wrappers and palletizers are just a few ways you can automate your line.
Employee Health and Safety
Labor shortages not only impact production cycles, but they also have a direct impact on the health and safety of your employees. Manufacturers struggle to staff production lines with adequate numbers of qualified staff. Those left to perform manual operations often experience injury due to overexertion, fatigue or poor ergonomics.
By automating your packaging lines, you can reduce the risk of injury at the operational level by removing workers from dangerous or repetitive tasks. Automated equipment such as case erectors, carton sealing equipment and automatic palletizers allows you to relocate workers to other vital roles with lower chances of injury and increased employee retention.
If your business is struggling to keep up with demand or if you would like to scale for growth, packaging automation can streamline activities to help you get the most out of your production cycles. Packaging line automation keeps production running at peak capacity without relying on human intervention or manual operations. Instead of hand sealing bags or manually printing ‘Best By’ date labels, automated equipment offers faster sealing rates and more consistent markings— resulting in less production time, fewer labor hours, less waste and more output.
LINC Systems Can Help Optimize Food and Beverage Packaging Operations
We offer industry expertise with a full range of consultative and technical services to help you eliminate bottlenecks and operate more efficiently. In addition to packaging supplies and equipment, we offer services like operational analysis and technical support on all your packaging equipment, whether you purchased them from us or not.
“Our End-Of-Line packaging services ensure you never run out of supplies or experience unnecessary downtime or backlog again,” Kyle Brand, Regional Sales Manager, LINC Systems.
Every business has different operational needs. That’s why our team of packaging experts work closely with your plant engineers and operations managers to analyze the entire production line and identify bottlenecks and areas of improvement. Our goal is to get your product packaged properly and effectively for consistent and reliable delivery to your customer. We also work with our extensive network of suppliers to identify solutions that meet strict chain-of-custody, sanitation and FDA standards commonly required in the food and beverage industry.
Whether you are experiencing a bottleneck issue, a staffing issue or a production line issue, our team can create a customized solution that works.
Our team of factory-certified technicians arrive onsite to install equipment, train personnel, perform system checks and repair your equipment back to factory specifications. Our technicians are prepared to offer quick turnaround, fast repair and minimal downtime — so you can get back to work.
Automated solutions can improve your packaging processes and reduce the need for human intervention in your operations. We offer customized packaging automation options that can increase production speed, enhance safety and drive profitability for your business.
LINC Systems is proud to carry a variety of packaging products, fasteners and industrial supplies from top-rated brands. We also have the services you need to manage your operations more efficiently. If you would like to consolidate your supply needs and start saving time and money, contact us today by calling 800-252-5894 or visit LINCsystems.com.