Size does matter - but if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it

Australian Institute of Packaging
Thursday, 20 September, 2012

Size does matter - but if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. This was one of the messages attendees took home from the September meeting of the Australian Institute of Packaging. Michael Dossor of Result Packaging and Stephen Mummery of Matthews Australasia - national sales and marketing managers for their respective companies - presented at the meeting.

Dossor’s presentation covered recent developments in Result Packaging’s flexible packaging sealing technologies, with a particular emphasis on easy opening and resealing to protect the package’s contents.

According to Dossor, a package must not only protect its contents but also influence the buying decision. The main driver to improve packages comes from customer complaints of ‘wrap rage’ - a modern phenomenon that occurs when consumers struggle to access the contents of a package.

In response to manufacturer concerns that changing packaging to easy-open and resealable packs will cost money, slow down production and require new capital equipment, Dossor offered the following advice: “If it is done properly, it will work.”

He claimed that the added cost of a package can be as little as a quarter of a cent and, based on studies of successful transfer of applications, would require capital expenditure of about $15,000.

Dossor supplied sample packs to give attendees the opportunity to test the packaging. Result Packaging’s new product, Bend Seal, is designed for powders, grains and frozen or chilled products. It positively reseals the pack, eliminating sifting and similar problems.

Stephen Mummery from Matthews discussed overall equipment efficiency (OEE), or lean manufacturing. OEE is a measure of the relationship between availability, performance and quality, with a 100% OEE score representing perfect production.

Inability to measure inputs is a big contributor to companies struggling to remain profitable, Mummery said. He explained that OEE is a global best practice measure to monitor and improve the effectiveness of manufacturing processes. Lean practices focus on reducing non-value-adding waste in manufacturing, such as waiting time, overproduction, need to rework and motion times in production.

According to Mummery, the benchmarks for greater effectiveness are as follows:

  • 100% is perfect production, manufacturing only good parts, as fast as possible, with no downtime.
  • 85% is considered world class for many manufacturers and is a suitable long-term goal.
  • 60% is fairly typical for many manufacturers, but indicates there is substantial room for improvement.
  • 40% is not at all uncommon for manufacturing companies that are just starting to track and improve their manufacturing performance.

Continuous process improvement and waste reduction are key to improving a low score, Mummery said.

He showed some of Matthews’ software solutions, including camera and computer technologies providing automatic inspection, process control and robot guidance in manufacturing and industrial applications. He also suggested the idea of using live scoreboards throughout factories to improve efficiency as they show everyone - operators and managers alike - exactly how production is, both historically and in real time.

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