operator training than others and are therefore easier to implement. PS 125 OneStep from Automated Packaging Systems is a table-top bagger offering customers a ‘plug and play’ option; all that is required is a desktop space, a 13- amp plug, and a small adaptation to existing software. Free demonstrations and trial mailings with artificial order data are available, providing reassurance before purchase. Table-top baggers also have the

advantage of a small footprint, maximising warehouse space, and as they are electric, the need for a compressed air supply is eliminated. Many data and software interfaces

offer pre-installation training and onsite testing for added security and ongoing support when integrating the software with packaging machinery.

by Duncan Hall, area sales manager, Automated Packaging Systems I

ndustry 4.0 has revolutionised the packaging industry, and the

technological advancements it presents have enabled mail order and ecommerce businesses to streamline, optimise and enhance their processes. There are now digital and automated packaging solutions available to help speed up the packing process and deliver a quicker turnaround, enabling businesses to meet the growing expectation of next- day delivery. However, the whole operation needs to

be considered if maximum efficiencies are to be achieved.

GOING PAPERLESS Businesses can benefit from significant operational improvements when switching from paper invoices and return labels to email communications. Often, when an order is being packed, there is a considerable delay waiting for the warehouse management system (WMS) to populate the invoice and for the printer to print the document, ultimately slowing down the whole operation. This delay can increase if there is a wait

for the carrier label to be printed, particularly when multiple items need to be scanned, preventing the operator from moving on to the next order. There are packaging solutions available, such as the Autobag 850s that can print the carrier label directly onto the mail bag before presenting the bag open and ready for the operator to load the bag at a faster rate.


COLLABORATION IS KEY When implementing a packaging solution, mail order companies need to ensure that the entire process is as efficient as possible. Data and user software can combine with semi- automated packaging machines to offer seamless integration and ultimately speed up processes and ensure accurate tracking and reporting. Although machinery plays a key part

in speeding up the number of orders completed per hour, when a WMS is implemented alongside a packaging system, it can offer reliability with real-time updates and provide a clear insight into the current condition of high-value goods. An intelligence partner enables

companies to run the lines effectively by telling the packing machine what to print and when to open and seal the bag, allowing companies to manage customer orders and the movement and status of inventory more efficiently.

SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION To ensure seamless integration, it’s important that companies have access to the appropriate support and high- quality customer service. Pre-installation testing is essential; it highlights whether the machinery and WMS combine successfully to guarantee a quicker and smoother packaging turnaround, and it is therefore critical. Some bagging machines require less

The Autobag 850s can print the carrier label directly onto the mail bag before presenting the bag open and ready for the operator to load the bag at a faster rate

INCREASING EFFICIENCY Mail order companies often experience peaks in demand, especially at busy periods such as Black Friday and Christmas. Holistic packaging solutions that consider the entire operation can enable companies to tailor their offering and minimise the knock-on effect of not having the capacity to cope with increased demand. Removing the need to wait for an

invoice and automatically printing the carrier label directly onto the bag with the Autobag 850s can achieve packing speeds of 350-400 orders per hour. What’s more, reducing the need for

paper, printers and toners is a more environmentally-friendly and cost- effective option. It also puts the onus on the customer to print out the return label, resulting in a decrease in the number of returns and the amount of people ordering multiple items simply to try them on, before returning them at the expense of the business. Although many companies are already

aware of the opportunities surrounding Industry 4.0, considering the whole operation and implementing additional changes can offer even greater benefits. By making tiny changes, the packaging process can be made even more efficient, giving companies the ability to take full control of their output and tailor it to specific customer demands at any given period.

Automated Packaging Systems T: +44 (0) 1684 891 400


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