Don't get us wrong, we love production teams and we spend most of our days speaking with them and their plant and corporate engineering colleagues.
There's no point in having an ultra-efficient vertical bagger though, if the sell-through and costing don't make sense. Fast Moving Consumer Goods success requires a multidisciplinary approach involving:
While every company and department is unique, we've accumulated a lot of insight to help us understand your concerns and priorities. Too often, today's project becomes tomorrow's production challenge; next year's market/customer requirement; and the maintenance burden you don't need in years.
You sweat the little stuff because you've learned from experience that there's no detail too small. Remember the time there wasn't enough ceiling clearance for the feed conveyor into the scale? Or the time a vendor forgot to highlight the impact of that fancy recloseable option on sealing dwell time?
Whether you have a corporate engineering resource to turn to, or work on your own in the plant, it's hard for you to ever be a hero. When things work well...well thanks for nothing, you've just done your job. But when there's a hiccup...well you know how that goes.
We work with engineers from all disciplines on vertical bagger projects. Industrial, process, safety, quality and of course mechanical and electrical members of the engineering team each know the important questions to ask to ensure that the bagger and end of line packaging is efficiently commissioned and delivers the capabilities you need.
ROI isn't as simple as many manufacturers seem to believe. If funds were unlimited, then anything that paid for itself in two years might be a good investment. Instead, you have to prioritize projects from among many that meet some basic return profile.
Too often, overly optimistic output calculations combined with unrealistic material cost savings and overlooked unsaleable package output blow many appealing vertical bagger ROI calculations.
It's time for a more nuanced look at the investment and return on increased capacity and replacement machinery for aging end of line packaging. Case studies are a great place to start and we're happy to help advise you on realistic expectations for total net output, future flexibility, actual material and labor cost, reject packages and more critical factors that weigh on an overall total cost of ownership for your vertical bagging investment.
"Great guys, but....."
That's one of those terms that makes you cringe when talking to a maintenance team. Their wants are pretty simple. Knowledgeable technical support and available parts when required - regardless of how old their machine is or what your schedule happens to be. After all, production requirements don't have much respect for their scheduled time-off.
Too often, though, small/niche manufacturers of vertical baggers can't support the carrying cost of the parts inventory and tech service teams to support all generations of equipment across multiple time zones and work schedules. Sometimes they even close their doors, which creates a whole separate degree of maintenance challenge.
In contrast, the huge global players may not understand the pace of your business and the unrelenting pressure you're under to eliminate downtime and keep everything running - sometimes even at the expense of proper vertical bagger preventative maintenance programs.
We know you don't live in an ivory tower. More importantly, we also know that you're juggling priorities well beyond your vertical bagging solution. You need one that works financially, mechanically and commercially and isn't a barrier while you're juggling HR, environmental, community and supply chain challenges.
Often you provide the final sign-off on a project - maybe it's to add needed capacity, to upgrade unreliable or unsupported equipment, or to provide capabilities to support your marketing and sales colleagues in securing an exciting new customer.
You've got that perspective that's important to finding the right solution - and unlike engineers who may sometimes find some comfort in selecting the best known line, the burden of your P&L responsibility causes you to challenge traditional wisdom. We welcome those discussions.
You've heard the grumbling from engineering. And you know the standard line..."Marketing wants to do what today?!"
So, here's the truth- We empathize with you both. It's up to you to optimize marketing and merchandising. Meanwhile retailers, consumers, focus groups and industry trends all create a set of requirements that it's impossible to satisfy.
But impossible isn't an acceptable answer.
So here's a solution. Let's spend time with your team talking about trends in the market place for products like yours, and the machine considerations that impact your capability today and next year.
When today's pillow pack bag-in-a-box requirement suddenly becomes tomorrow's flat bottom retail display package, you need to know what your production team can quickly produce.
And wouldn't you like to have input into the range of capabilities of the vertical bagging line bought today that might need to meet future requirements?
Get it running and keep it running.
But could such a simple goal be any harder to achieve? So many gremlins are running amok in even the best managed operation.
And yet, you're incredibly resilient and creative in how you manage the challenges. But there's one challenge that you simply can't overcome easily - unplanned downtime.
The problem is that much of the unplanned downtime with vertical baggers actually stems from issues that could have been identified and prevented ahead of time. That's the perspective we bring and why some of our strongest advocates are the scheduling, production and operations folks that live under the gun to achieve daily output.