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FLEXO Magazine : July 2014
in. tall. When it came time for the approval process, this piece of information was run through packaging sizing tools from a palletization program. Based on the needs of sales and marketing, the 12-piece pack, the best arrangement, and the best case size, the best pallet fit for this particular product and corrugated box was three facings by four width, in a 12 pack on this 48-in. × 40-in. pallet: a total of 32 cor- rugated master packs per pallet load with 12 in each, for a total of 384 cartons. Rather than just proceeding through the entire project, we now know at the very beginning—before we have even manufactured a single proto- type—we have a fairly inefficient pallet fit. We are only using about 88 percent of the available pallet space. Rather than just enhancing those inefficiencies in the packaging supply chain, we can look at the different iterations and try to optimize this carton before it even leaves the drawing board, with structural design tools. On the right side of Image 7, you can see what happens when you take this finite carton size and allow us to float the three dimensions of length (left to right as it sits on the store shelf ), width (front to back on the store shelf ), and height (the vertical in the master shipper and also on the store shelf). We allow those dimensions to float, as much as 0.25-in., in 1/16-in. increments. The computer, very quickly, looks at thousands of iterations, and reports that one of the more effective changes alters the length slightly, by about 3/16-in., and changes the width slightly, by about 1/8-in. By varying those small footprint dimensions and maintaining the 12 boxes per shipper, we have a slightly better shipper size, using slightly less corrugated material. We’re now using 98 percent of the pallet, and are able to pack 480 products or cartons per pallet load. In just one run of the program, we have optimized the entire packag- ing supply chain by at least 25 percent by finetuning the dimensions of the structure itself: • The folding carton • The arrangement of the 12 pack within the corrugated box • Sizing the master corrugated box • Optimizing the pallet fit Now, every time this product is manufactured—any time it’s packed 12 pieces to a shipper and any time it's put on a pallet stored in the warehouse, pushed onto a truck or shipped directly to the retailer—we have maximized 98 percent of the available space and 100 percent of the materials for the carton itself and the corrugated box. You can gather this information just by working with your structural design and palletization software. There is no other step. You have this information and you’ve created the most optimal box possible and the most optimal arrangement—which positively affects your bottom line. The ROI for these types of software programs is dramatically short; usually hours, due to the money that can be saved, the speed in time savings and the fact that you're taking out many of the human errors that occur along the way. The typical brand owner or consumer goods company spends about 10 percent of its annual sales volume to design, package and ship their products through their distribution supply chain. With these types of tools, on any one particular product it’s very easy to achieve a 10 percent savings. So, if you think about 10 percent of the 10 percent total, you're saving 1 percent from a brand owner’s bottom line. That’s pure profitability that goes to the bottom line of the business in a very, very powerful way. Along with just the cost savings, many companies strive to seek sustainable options, create sustainability metrics or study the impact of these types of savings on the three metrics that are used to measure sustainability: people, profit and planet. Those familiar with the Wal- Mart scorecard would find that 40 percent of the rating relates to the savings and the optimization that are achieved by using these types of software products. So, whether it be at the product level, the package level, the corrugated cube, efficiencies on the pallet or the actual filling of the truck (or the sea container if you're importing goods from other nations), the goal is 40 percent of all of those savings relate to metrics like the Wal-Mart scorecard. “While the original process of product and packaging development was solely influenced by maximizing the message on the shelf, it now has a second component that can be measured up front at the design stage: economic efficiency. ” Image 4 Image 5 JULY 2014 | FLEXO 61