By Meryl Malcomess, Marketing Director of SYSPRO
The mark of a strong product is one that can not only stand the test of time, but that can also adapt to all the changes and advancements that come with time and progress. This is especially true in the packaging industry.
It is an industry characterised by constantly changing market conditions, technological advancements, relentless competitive pressure, seasonal and regional variations as well as fluctuating costs for both raw materials and business operations.
Consider, for example, the challenge of creating packaging for perishable goods being transported to regions around the world with varying climatic conditions and regulatory standards. Add to that the considerable pressure on the packaging industry as a whole to protect the environment both in the manufacturing of their products and the recycling thereof, and you can start to get a glimpse of the multifaceted nature of this sector.
According to the World Packaging Organisation (WPO), the health of the packaging industry is strongly linked to that of the world economy as a whole. It also says that while the designs, materials, styles and functions of packaging have evolved and developed tremendously in recent years, there remains ever-present opportunity to meet the demand for increasingly functional, convenient and environmentally friendly, sustainable packaging.
Changes in consumer behaviour also play a large role in the evolution of packaging styles. Current trends include rising health-awareness, smaller households accompanied by the need for greater convenience for on-the-go lifestyles in a time-poor economy.
When faced with such wide-ranging and unpredictable challenges, businesses in the packaging industry are under immense pressure to stay at the top of their game. They need to have a firm grip on every single process in their operation while remaining flexible enough to shift their strategy and outputs at any given time while still leaving room for optimisation.
These companies must re-evaluate their processes with a focus on operational efficiencies and strategic use of technology. This is where, I believe, it is imperative for enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to step in.
ERP is a valuable asset for companies that need a highly detailed and dynamic business process modelling instrument. It assists them in fully understanding every aspect of their business – giving the necessary perspective required to know where there is room for change and improvement. As a result, it is essential for companies in the packaging industry to choose a software solution that has the ability to both support and catalyse their evolution.
The best way to manage a business in the midst of a changing industry is to optimise supply chain processes. The right ERP solution can increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs, improve customer service and give a company the competitive edge by integrating and automating its operations.
SYSPRO has more than a decade of experience in providing comprehensive, custom ERP solutions to companies across multiple verticals, including the packaging industry. Offering full traceability of materials throughout the supply chain – from purchase and inspection right through to manufacturing, stocking, sales and delivery – SYSPRO can have a significant impact on business processes.
ERP in action
Customers around the globe have used the SYSPRO solution to fine-tune their packaging operations. For example, manufacturer of steel and plastic strapping in the USA, Samuel Strapping Systems (SSS), successfully reduced its inventories by $2 million while still meeting customer demand.
Illustrating the impact of ERP implementation on a business, SSS installed SYSPRO Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) in one of its two plastic plants and did a comparison of the operational efficiencies of both plants. The plant using SYSPRO MRP was better able to maintain inventory levels and meet customer demands despite fluctuations.
Through a suite of inventory optimisation modules, SYSPRO can minimise cash tied up in ‘dead’ stock and keep all processes running smoothly and efficiently. Forecasting modules built into the solution also empower business owners with the tools to forecast future demand based on seasonal, cyclical and trend demand patterns.
In another example, packaging company, Bags and Boxes II (BBII), has seen a significant jump in productivity after implementing SYSPRO across its operations. The company has been through three system upgrades and has recorded a marked improvement in productivity after each subsequent upgrade. It’s sales order turnaround time has been halved and average inventory is now 250% lower than before – primarily due to the ease of purchasing through the system. SYSPRO’s Yield Recoveries module works specifically to optimise inventory.
Across the globe, environmental concerns have led governments to take steps to deal with the issue of packaging waste and recycling. According to the WPO, packaging directives from the European Commission, have led to the imposition of challenging targets for recycling, making governments examine new ways to discourage packaging waste.
Business technology, and ERP specifically can be a key enabler in this regard. Green-Tek, a Wisconsin based packaging company specialising in thermal glazing and greenhouse coverings, turned to SYSPRO mainly because of its Material Yield System. This system is unique in its ability to reclaim remnants from larger cuts and return them to inventory.
This enables customer-specific dimensional requirements to be matched against existing inventory to determine if remnants can be utilised to fill the order. By maximising the use of remnants, the amount of scrap relegated to landfills has been significantly reduced.
The deep integration of the SYSPRO system across operations also enables businesses to fulfil reporting requirements for waste and recycling regulations and meet industry standards for the sustainable manufacturing of packaging materials.
It’s clear that choosing an ERP solution that fully understands the unique demands and fluctuations of the industry can help packaging companies optimise their operations and remain at the forefront of innovation. Just as design, innovation, simplicity and flexibility are the core values of such businesses, these values should also be the key characteristics the ERP platform used to run them.
SYSPRO is one of the longest standing and largest independent, international providers of ERP systems for mid-market manufacturers and distributors worldwide. SYSPRO has for more than 35 years delivered on its promise to provide thousands of its customers globally with the tools required to effectively operate and compete. Backed by a truly dedicated and professional team of employees and partners around the world, the company's ability to innovate and develop technologies based on the needs of customers is one of the reasons why SYSPRO enjoys one of the highest retention rates in the industry.