5 Challenges for Packaging & Label Printers that an MIS/ERP Can Solve
Multiple Solutions That Are Disconnected
Is your workflow a series of disconnect steps? Many companies use apps and software in prepress, estimating or production departments, but these are disconnected from the rest of a packaging company’s processes. These third party apps/programs/ERPs are inaccessible and unlinked, in essence, islands.
Does your staff have to plug the gaps by manually intervening—handing off printed job tickets for example? Do your estimators work from Excel spreadsheets? Does your existing software link production costs to accounting for invoicing updates?
One of the most important benefits of smart automation is the ability of companies to increase throughput and grow their businesses without substantial increases in staff—by connecting all parts of your label and packaging business, from front office and sales to estimating to production and postproduction. Warehousing and inventory connects to purchasing, purchasing connects to estimating, etc.
Job Onboarding Takes Too Much Time
Estimating systems are at the core of the Management Information Systems (MIS) that run many printing companies. The estimating process, however, can be fraught with time consuming tasks.
With each quote, does your estimator have to start from scratch? Is she/he searching through spreadsheets for past estimates? What about more complex quotes? How much of the job ticket process is manual? Still printing job tickets?
Job onboarding – getting the job from the point of sale to the point of production – is a key element to investigate when looking for places to streamline. Identify the real costs of job onboarding, and whether it is in the estimating process, which is the single biggest point of cost in the workflow process.
Limited Communication and Collaboration Between Departments
Insufficient communication between estimating and production, production and purchasing, scheduling and production can cause extra time to be wasted. When steps are missing or ambiguous, employees have to scramble to fill the gaps. Manual touchpoints are necessary; again, time.
In terms of knowing costs, more often than not, production data is not available to other parts of the company, so costing cannot be tracked; actual costs can’t be accurately calculated.
With the integration of multiple solutions into a single automated workflow, you have access to job data at any time, anywhere through an easy to use dashboard. Each department’s authorized user has his/her own custom dashboard and can access real time data.
Does your staff have to plug the gaps by manually intervening—handing off printed job tickets for example?
Do your estimators work from Excel spreadsheets? Does your existing software link production costs to accounting for invoicing updates?
Data Has to be Searched for–and Searched and Searched
Estimators, planners and operators must navigate between several different screens, sometimes multiple applications, to access information on a job. This can result in slow, inefficient order entry and estimates, quotes that do not easily flow from estimate to job, lengthy set up times, difficulty accessing job documents and production errors, among others. Input data, or other data is missing, but job goes through anyway and bottlenecks result.
Having to open up static reports to see current status, moving through window after window to get the info you need. When it comes time to print out monthly and quarterly reports, front office workers must dig through the mountains of data and put together reports that end up just being estimations.
Companies that are still relying on paper-based business processes struggle to operate. They do not have the same control over what is happening on a day-to-day and on a long-term basis; not only are customer relations strained, but financial goals are not met.
Once the packaging business identifies the ways in which their workflow process is siloed, inefficient or otherwise hindered, they must invest in comprehensive, all-encompassing tools that allow their workflow to function seamlessly and intuitively, from job processing to completion and invoicing.
Tooling is Not Optimally Organized
What is more frustrating than not being able to find a die or tool? How much time is wasted when shop floor does not know exact locations or dies? Or, if you find it, the tool is broken, but the job needs to run NOW.
Packaging and label companies employ a host of specialized tools: dies, cutters, anilox rollers, foil stamping dies, embossing dies—in a variety of types, shapes, variations and sizes. Your inventory may have hundreds, thousands. A system is needed to continuously organize and update your die and tool library. Or time is wasted looking for dies, replacing blind dies or ruined dies. A job can be disrupted. And often, the job ticket does not account for the time due to remaking dies, so accurate costing for jobs is not available.
Technology can reduce your downtime when tooling and dies are recorded and inventoried. An MIS with die library functionality will tell shop floor workers exactly where to find the tool/die.
Data from shop floor collection will update the dies and tools and remind the operator of the number of uses and when dies need to be replaced.
What’s ideal for packaging and label printers?
- Connection of processes from job quote to final invoicing so that information is shared throughout the company and there are no gaps between departments.
- Expedited job onboarding with a fast, easy to use estimating engine that includes templating and tools and dies inventory info for packaging companies.
- Data for reports that is instantly available from a comprehensive database that updates jobs in real time.
- Comprehensive functionality specifically for packaging and label that includes a die and tool library which organizes your vast tools inventory and keeps tool usage up-to-date.
Packaging Company GRANPAK Implements HiFlow’s MIS and Achieves Results
Connected systems allow visibility and control
Through HiFlow’s MIS, Granpak has instant info about status of each sales project, construction projects, PO amount, job workflow and many more by one click in a system on their desk. After implementing HiFlow, Granpak optimizes production scheduling with direct access to technological documentation. When a quote becomes a job, HiFlow’s Workflow Diagram is instantly created and allows planning and scheduling to see all parameters of the job. It’s a compendium of knowledge gathered in one place. It facilitates the verification of orders and helps to catch technological errors and mistakes in the job specifications.
Reporting tools collect real time accurate data
With a comprehensive MIS for packaging manufacturing, Granpak can analyze processes before and after production, at any time. Error and downtime reports indicate points where changes or improvements are needed. Management can analyze performance of machines, as well as individually assess operators. HiFlow gathers important information for reporting on individual clients. Post-production calculations post calculation where all info about costs, times, wastes, performance and profits are visible and it takes just seconds to generate it.
GranPak’s complete case study is HERE.
It’s the new norm. Managing connected processes and data and automating day-to-day manufacturing operations has undoubtedly become the best strategy to help operations remain productive, efficient and effective in today’s challenging printing and packaging manufacturing industry. Implementing Industry 4.0 is no longer just an optional expense, taking second place to buying new equipment. The data show that adoption of Industry 4.0 can only add momentum to print manufacturers as they grow and morph in the coming decade.
Overcome challenges by adopting Industry 4.0 capabilities and Smart Factory by implementing an MIS/ERP management system.
Have questions? Connect with one of our packaging & printing solutions consultants at HiFlow Solutions www.HiFlowSolutions.com