For production managers responsible for packaging lines, it can be tempting to simply take on more staff to increase throughput when demand increases or at peak times. Yet this is often not the most efficient approach in the long term and, with the hourly minimum wage in the UK for workers aged 25 and over set to increase by almost 8% to £7.20 from April 2016 onwards[1], it is likely to be an increasingly expensive one.

Are there ways for your staff to work smarter not harder?

Getting the most from your employees involves two things – keeping them motivated and identifying solutions that will enable them to do their jobs better and faster. Having staff whose job it is to stand at a packing station and erecting boxes all day long is not only a waste of an intelligent human resource, it can also be demotivating for the people involved.

By introducing systems and solutions that mechanise simple and repetitive tasks such as erecting boxes or wrapping pallets, you are able to increase the efficiency and potential throughput of your packaging line. Moreover, by making these efficiency savings you will free up your valuable staff to focus on those packaging tasks that require more thought.

Is your packing process fit for purpose?

Insufficient space is a daily reality for many businesses and is one that often stands in the way of efforts to increase throughput. When you can only fit two or three people around a packing station, allocating more staff to pack items when the work rate needs to increase isn’t possible without people beginning to trip each other up. Similarly, unless you can expand or redesign your packaging area, adding more packing stations isn’t a possibility.

When space poses a challenge to increasing productivity, the only way to overcome it is to identify solutions that will enable efficiencies and make your packing operation run faster. To achieve this, it makes sense to take a step back and assess where changes to the types of packing materials and the methods being used can help speed up processes.

Automated and semi-automated packaging equipment can often help production managers to improve efficiency while freeing up packing operatives to focus on the more important tasks in the packaging process. Identifying which solutions will deliver the best return on investment can be a challenge, but Antalis Packaging is experienced in working with clients to identify areas in which improvements can help to optimise the overall packaging process.

[1] National Minimum Wage Rates. 20 October 2015. Gov.UK. https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates.