Don’t overlook packaging and shipping when considering cost reduction opportunities

Cost reduction in manufacturing is a matter of survival.   If your company doesn’t have an ongoing cost reduction and quality improvement program, then you may be out of business in the next few years.

Many manufacturers are now adopting lean manufacturing or TQM principles and are constantly reviewing their manufacturing operations for waste reduction or elimination.

We at Packnet are surprised that so many companies that are “going lean” are not including packaging and shipping in the lean manufacturing efforts.  We believe that the potential for cost reduction is tremendous.  Below are just a few examples of cost reduction opportunities:

  • By redesigning the packaging, a customer was able to use the shipping packaging from their vendor as an internal material handling system.  Product was brought right to the production line in the same container that it was shipped from by their vendor.   The packaging container  was also designed to be positioned in the material feed station of the first operation.   The packaging system was made from durable corrugated cardboard and could be used over and over.  The customer saved on the labor to unpack and store as well as saved on storage containers for its internal material handling.  The supplier saved money by going with reusable packaging and also solidified its relationship with their customer.
  • A hoist and chain had to be used to place a large bulky product into a 4 sided shipping container.   Packaging time was cut by 50% by redesigning the container to be a three sided with the 4th side being assembled after the product was loaded.   A further refinement was making that 4th side “double” as a loading ramp that allowed the product to easily be wheeled into the container.   This also saved time for their customers who had to unload the product.
  • By shortening their airship cargo container by 6 inches, they were able to save on freight costs because the new crate size was compatible with lower cost cargo planes.  The company was able to save thousands of dollars per year in freight costs.

The above are just a few examples of cost reductions possible by adjusting or re-designing the shipping packaging.   Sometimes a thorough review of your packaging and shipping methods can reap huge savings.  Contact a Packnet representative to get a free assessment of your current packaging.