Shutterfly, Inc. is the leading manufacturer and digital retailer of high-quality personalized products and services, offered through a family of lifestyle brands. Founded in 1999, the Shutterfly, Inc. family of bands includes Shutterfly®, Tiny Prints®, Wedding Paper Divas®, MyPublisher®, BorrowLenses®, and GrooveBook™, an iPhone app and Android app and subscription service.
Shutterfly is always looking for ways to improve efficiencies, but that goal is especially difficult when the company has to triple is workforce to prepare for the peak retail season for its popular personalized products.
Recently Research and Development completed a new line of products that includes metal flasks, growlers, and glass ornaments. However, the new products did not fit into the company’s existing handling process where products are prepared for shipment. R&D needed to find a way to improve the “economy of motion where the handling or movement of product is minimized or eliminated by operators during manufacturing. The specific process they needed to support was the application of a mask or film that prepares the product for sandblasting and the application of a barcode for tracking purposes. Additionally, the product needed to be safely stacked to be ready to transport to the next production station. Equally important to Shutterfly was reducing the likelihood of sending product to the wrong customer – a process they call “Not Mine.”
Shutterfly invited Packnet to observe the existing handling process in order to help them determine how to improve their efficiencies through a packaging solution. “Packnet was great at listening to our fuzzy concepts and our ideas,” said Tracey Bauer, Shutterfly’s Quality and Lean Specialist. Packnet’s engineers took their observations and customer input and designed a custom, corrugated plastic gray with waterjet cut interior foam to hold products safely and securely during the economy of motion process. The foam also includes visual guides for operators to center the masking applied prior to sandblasting. “It’s fairly intuitive, but the markings make it easy to train the operators quickly and obtain consistent output,” said Bauer. The corrugated plastic trays enabled secure stackability for transporting product to the next station.
Packnet’s customized solution helped Shutterfly improve efficiencies, with handling being reduced by 20-30%, and reduce the likelihood of mistakes. Bauer explains that the Packnet team “were very responsive and paid a lot of attention to detail. They were very creative with their engineering solution. We will be working with them again.”.