Lean System Tool

 

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Introduction

Packaging entails the coordinated process of evaluating, designing and preparing goods for transit, logistics, sales and end use consumption to target markets. The packaging process aims to protect, preserve, transport and sell goods to market regions either across the globe or in internalcountry boundaries.(Yoxall, Janson, Bradbury, Langley, Wearn, & Hayes, 2006) Packaging in most corporations or organizations is normally a fully-fledged system that is integrated into their management system ensuring functional operations of business operations. In the early 9th century materials available materials which were used for packaging included reeds, oden boxes, wooden barrels and woven bags among others. These processed materials were used as packages with earliest being the use of paper packages recorded in 1035 in Persia. However in the modern era processes such as tinning, canning and paper based packaging were adopted to package goods.(Twede, 2012) In the 20th century advancements in the use modern technology further enforced development of new methods of packaging such as transport cellophane overwraps and panels on cartons. These advancements led to increased efficiency in transporting goods and improve safety of products specifically food products which in turn improve functionality of the packaging process. Various companies have thus embraced these modern technologies. (Choi & Burgess, 2007)

The packaging process has several purposes, including for physical protection where objects enclosed require protection from mechanical shock, vibration, electrostatic, discharge, compression and temperature among others. The packaging process provides barrier protection to oxygen, water vapor, dust and thus packaging need to contain oxygen absorbers to help extend shelf life. Packaging also provides containment for small objects either for the purposes of storage and selling efficiency. Packaging also provides security and marketing for goods which ensures tamper resistance for these products, especially during shipping and also in the marketing of products through packaging, encourage potential buyers to purchase a particular product. (Rundh, 2013)

In organizations the packaging process must fit well with the organizations overall management strategy of ensuring that products are handled materially, warehousing and information regarding inventories are properly set. Organizations, whether private or public need to ensure that the packaging process is integrated together with other organizational functions to make easier for goods produced to be transported efficiently within the supply chain process.(Klevas, 2005)The packaging process, thus is an important process as any in the determining that products of a business reach the intended target market without any breakage or spillage of objects.

Packaging process

The developing of a packaging process is crucial in ensuring that products of organizations reach the target markets efficiently without any difficulty. A product usually requires different levels of protection during its transportation process and thus organizations need to optimize their packaging process in order to comply with the demand for protection and the saving of funds while at the same time protecting the environment. According to Soroka’s journal on packaging the process of packaging is a complex one for organizations that are involved in the process and it is becoming even more challenging due to the ever evolving nature of sustainable products and processes.(Soroka, 2002) Corporations and business organizations thus need to incorporate packaging process strategies which would increase the possibilities of developing sustainable product-packaging which will smoothly spur the process. The designing process usually requires one to have a detailed knowledge of products, packaging process and distribution of environment of which is obtained by measuring conducting product durability and packaging tests with in depth materials expertise. The essence for package development is to develop strength and durability for a product developed by an organization. According to Alex Gofman consumer driven package design is crucial in developing a process which promotes effectiveness and safety in transportation of products.

Package process design thus entails with identification of shelf life, quality assurance, logistics, and environment, end-use among other criteria which makes it easier to achieve time targets, resources and cost restraints. Transport packaging process of organizations thus need to be integrated into their logistical system in order to moderate the whole process in the supply chain. The identification of potential sources in packaging process is thus crucial.(Alex Gofman, 2010)

The implementation of the packaging process in organizations make it possible to adopt and try new ideas which is fundamental to improvement in operations particularly in the manufacturing process of organizations. The process of reducing wastage, implementing efficiency reducing practices and continuously improving operations are the main goals of a lean organizational ideology.(Pinya Silayoi, 2007) For instance in the packaging industry promotion of efficiency is a key component of businesses are it is the main principle that is integral to accompany own manufacturing practices. For example Butler Automatic who invented zero speed, non-stop film splicer had an equipment which eliminated downtime in the packaging process which in turn increased efficiency and reduced wastage in the manufacturing process.

The implementation of an effective packaging process must encompass a variety of packaging tasks, quality assurance and testing before deployment of a product by a company in an effort to reduce the time it takes to fulfill requests for a particular product.Organizatons are thus pressed to adopted various strategies in order to implement effective packaging processes which promote efficiency in the supply of goods in the supply chain.Rundh Bo’s journal of British Food has identified the link between packaging and marketing and thus implementation is hence critical enforcing an effective process which strives to improve efficiency and eliminate wastage. For instance in the health care sector managers adopts third party data exchange program which aids such organization in developing compliance which manufacture packaging products for them.Companies have adopted a lean system in improving the packaging process in a view of promoting efficiency in the packaging process in addition to simplifying other organizational process.(Jenni Niemela- Nyrhinen, 2013)

Control of packaging process

            The control of packaging process involve in packaging testing where the effects and interactions between the levels of packaging, and contents are measured and documentation conducted. The testing procedure can either be qualitative orquantitative .The control of the process helps to determine validity for end user and help solve problems which may be associated with current packaging in an effort to improve efficiency of the packaging process. Several organizations publish control standard tests for packaging testing which are used in various organizationin their packaging process. These testing bodies include International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ASTM International, and European Committee for Standardization, TAPPI and ISTA (International Safe Transit Association among others.(Yam, 2009) These bodies ensure that the guidelines for effective packaging process standards are strictly adhered to. In accordance with Silayoi’s journal of marketing the packaging process attributes are necessary for organizations to control the process in order to develop a process which will help improve efficiency of the transportation process.

Compliance to quality control specifications and elimination of waste together with stable production are extremely essential in the packaging industry as it simplifies the operational efforts and reduce the maintenance and service costs of organizations in their day to day activities. The quality control thus need to ensure that the packaging process meet the packing requirements and procedure of the potential clients.Purchasers are thus encourage to provide packing procedure to equipment manufacturer while at the same time allow the quality control team to take of the packaging process so as to provide protection of goods from damage during transit.(Dvorak, 2010)

Improvement of packaging process

Successful innovation is crucial in the development of new packaging ideas as the packaging process play an important role in the positioning of a brand and the appeal of products to the target market population. The main aim of improvements in the packaging process is to increase the competitiveness of goods both produced by organizations which in turn results to further penetration of goods in the target market. Technology play a huge role to a larger extent in determining the supply chain capabilities and expand selection of products which are developed by an organization.(Shah R., 2007) According to Nielsen Bocewicz the establishment of partnership between manufacturers of companies and regulatory bodies makes it effective for the improvement in the packaging process in an effort to produce tangible business benefits.

The implementation of modern technologies in the packaging process will provide an organization with a competitive advantage over its competitors and thus enable the organization fulfill the consumer’s increasingly high demand for packaged products. The optimizing of the packaging process is important in ensuring that there is efficient in the process and upgrade of the packaging process in order to benefit fully on the transit of goods to target markets.(Calver, 2004)

The ability to find the right ideas in order to improve product packaging requires effective understanding of the needs of retailers, consumers and markets which is usually a complex task. With packaging process playing a huge role in positioning of a brand of any organization and thus the process needs to be integrated into the organization supply chain so as to benefit from access to products to markets by prospective clients. A holistic approach towards the packaging process is thus mandatory for corporations that aim to create a customer-centric way of packaging which takes into consideration the consumers and products that are sold in the market. Packaging process thus play a key role in providing a marketing impact to an organizations brand which can be sustainable for future company’s operations and growth. According to Rene de Koster research into packaging designs, order collection and transit of goods by organizations has increased rapidly in recent years and with the adoption of these new technology brought a unique solution to eliminate wastage in the packaging process. For instance automation  and system verification are some of these new technologies that have been adopted by organizations in their management operations in order to achieve maximum effectiveness and growth.

Six sigma model

The six Sigma technique has emerged as one of the most effective improvement strategies that have been developed and adopted recently by many organizations in their day to day functions. The application of this approach is thus an important approach which is aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness of organizations. The Six Sigma technique is therefore explored by various organizations around the world to fully explore their potential. It includes a set of tools and techniques which seeks to improve quality of output of a process by identifying and removing defects and minimize variability in various processes in a business setup.(Harry, Mann, De Hodgins, Hulbert, & Lacke, 2011)According to Juju Antony’s business process management journal demonstrate the power of six sigma which is clearly a disciplined approach to improving product, process or service quality which strives to address performance improvement by organizations process especially for business organizations that employ packaging process in their day to day operations. The six sigma approach is thus integrated into the management function of various organizations in an effort to improve quality and reduce wastages.(Souraj Salah, 2010)The packaging industry has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years and with advancement in technology there has been further adoption of various techniques such as the six sigma technique which are used to improve quality of a packaging process.

For instance many companies have changed their packaging process in an effort to attract more consumers to use their products or in an effort to get access to improvement in the quality of products and to have a competitive edge over its rivals in the field of business. Starbucks and Applebee’s are two companies that have changed their packaging process in an effort to increase the quality of their products and reduce wastages which in turn improve efficiency of their product.

Starbucks

Starbucks has undergone some majorrebranding and redesigns in history. Its packaging process and branding has been changed a number of times in an effort to make the company’s brand one of most popular coffee brands all over the world. Since coffee is one of the world’s beloved beverage across the globe, therefore, there a tremendous amount of pressure for Starbucks to maintain its image to compete with other brands for quality of their product.(M.Ritson, 2007) The packaging process of the company has thus been changed from time to time in order to capture the audience with the bare-breasted and two tailed mermaid which are intended to attract a certain audience in the market. One of the major challenges that the company faced in the packaging process was in developing a design and branding that will appeal to people worldwide. In order to counter this challenge the company, thus developed packaging approaches which would help deliver on communicating the new positioning and character attributes in times of quality assurance and improvement of efficiency of the product.

The process of gathering and analyzing data forms a critical part of Starbucks quality improvement program. Starbucks Company thus has used the Design of Experiments, or DOE tool, so as to optimize their sealing and packaging process for bags of coffee beans especially in transit in the packaging process. Coffee beans are delicate foodstuff which requires packaging to be airtight which not only preserve the safety of the product, but also keep the coffee in perfect condition both quantity and quality wise. The challenge to find an effective packaging process which strives to seal the packages is however very difficult to achieve and thus the company has enforced the use of six sigma program to achieve efficiency in the packaging process.

Over the years, Starbucks has continuously redesigned their packaging process by adopting green energy, packaging materials without so much as losing its natural appeal to its customers thereby creating a successful packaging process. The company adoption of technological innovation in its supply chain has enabled the organization improve its packaging process, especially for coffee products and beans, which are in transit in various cities in Northern America and clients from international markets.(Mark Peterson, 2015)

Starbucks by embarking on the adoption of the six sigma approach it strives to strike a balance between efficiency and quick customer service with the utmost quality and consistency of coffee products. The adoption of these techniques will thus try to eliminate wastages in the packaging and manufacturing process as it aims to promote its coffee products to various local and international markets.

The packaging process of Starbucks thus affords freedom in the process and flexibility to explore new products, regional and experience opportunities which can enable the company to keep up with current and future customers. According to Michael O’Neill research journal on management a six sigma quality approach to the packaging process by organizations in an effort to promote quality of products.(Marcus Assarlind, 2012)

Applebee’s

Applebee’s is among one of the world’s largest casual dining chains offering exception dinging experience for customers requiring luncheon meetings to family outings. The road to success for the company has not always been an easy one with the management team being forced to take action in order to quell the dramatic drop in profitability experienced in 2006.The Company thus embarked on approach which would change the brand of the company to a successful one which could counter various competitors who provide similar services in the market.

Applebee’s usually outsource large amounts of packaging materials such as paper and plastic goods for its restaurants. In choosing the packaging process the company normally considers the quality and price of packaging materials in an effort to improve the process.In the process of packaging products the companies previously used 95% of polystyrene in the packaging process and replaced it with recyclable packaging, allowing safe and clean transport which in the long run reduce the impact on the local landfills. Thecompany’s insistence of the adoption of environmentally friendly materials in the packaging process has enabled the company to achieve success as far as conserving the environment is concerned.(Schneider, C.Kluge, U.Weis, & h.Rohm, 2010)

Over the couple of years Applebee’s has adopted the use of six sigma approach in its packaging strategy by redesigning its logos, locations and branding over a couple of years in an effort to reflect a more modern restaurant chain. These changes in the packaging of the business have led to increased profits and better customer perception. This is because Applebee’s updated their packaging process to suit the customer’s ever changing needs, so as to target consumers at various locations. Sustainable packaging is thus mandatory for restaurant chains such as Applebee’s because of the ever increasing demand for fast casual and quick service restaurants.(Jesus Garcia-Arca, 2014) Organizations such as Applebee’s thus have embraced the six sigma approach in ensuring that the quality of products sold and packaged in their restaurants to meet the highest standards of safety.(Burke, 2007)

Statistical and non-statistical tools

Statistical tools provide relevant practical examples of using various aspects of statistics in the different stages of process validation and thus it’s an important resource in the determination of interactions between inputs and outputs in a packaging process. According to Brue (2004) six sigma method is a statistical concept that measures a process related to defect in a particular process as it is arguably the most effective way of branding and packaging, which measures how far a given process. (Cooper DR, 2005)Some of these statistical and non-statistical tools used itheimprovementnt of the packaging process through developing strategies which are adopted by organizations. They include:-

  • Measuring process performance

This tool provides performance measurement of a packaging process by an organization, for instance process maps are used to record activities performed as a part of the process, while capability analysis tool is used to assess the ability of the packaging process to meet its specifications. This tool is crucial in identifying specific measurements which are used to measure the frequency and ability of a packaging process to meet its customer needs.

  • Improving process performance by addressing root causes is another tool adopted by six sigma model to uncover root causes of packaging failures of organizations and conduct multi-vari chart in order to detect the various types of variation within the packaging process. This tool is used in the packaging process in the identification of the root causes of failure in the packaging of products and effect analysis of respective failure in the process.
  • Improving process performance by addressing root causes

This tool solves complex problems which may arise that influence the outcome and thus Design of experiments (DOE) is used to solve such problems.Kaizen event is also used to introduce change using ideas and motivation of people who do work in the packaging process in an effort to achieve success and improvement.

  • Controlling the improved process and future performance

This tool ensures control of the packaging process through development of a control plan and statistical process control (SPC) is used for monitoring the packaging process.(E.Vassailakis, 2010)

  • Technology

Non statistical tools such as technology is an important tool which is used in the packaging process to improve the efficiency of the process and thus organizations have embraced the adoption of new technologies in the packaging process in an effort to ensure that products are packaged safely for both consumption and transit purposes.(Morgado, 2008)

The statistical and non-statistical tools are crucial for purposes of driving process improvement and when applied in effective way, then they will fully integrate as a part of the system. According to Paul Pluta statistical tools provide development improvement and control of the packaging process in an effort to achieve effectiveness in the process.(Wenbin Wang, 2008)The tools are useful for the packaging process in the bid to improve the performance by either controlling process, identification of root cause of failure of various processes thereby help in increasinthequalitytyothe packaging processss.

Problem associated with packaging process

            The packaging process standards are set out by global bodies which identifies the specific regulations which govern the packaging process adopted by various organizations. FDA regulates the safety of substances added to food in terms of how it is processed, packaged and labeled.According to Food Contact Substance (FCS) Section 409 which states the components of materials which are used in packing, packaging and transporting should not have any technical effect on the food. The packaging process, especially of food products is of delicate nature and thus requires FDA approval in order to allow substances which are transported and packaged to be safely transported all over the world by organizations that provide them.(Janice Boyce, 2008)

Problems associated with packaging usually arise in form of the safety and transport of products to target markets all over the world. The packaging process guidelines and methods are usually set up by various countries in accordance with their respective compliance directive such as European Packaging and Waste Directive and CEN Standards, which are used by companies who transport products to various regions of the globe.(Samaneh Matindoust, 2016)

Wastage is also another problem that is associated with the packaging process and thus packaging producers and manufacturers must register and meet their waste packaging recycling and recovery responsibilities. The obligation of wastage remittance by packaging companies in terms of owning the packaging activities carried out and supply packaging at any stage in the supply chain is necessary by organizations in order to increase efficiency and compliance in the packaging process.(Sarah Buelow, 2010)The regulations aim to minimize the impactof packaging waste by reducing amounts which would go to landfill and thus monitor compliance among the packaging process by various companies.

Validation of the packaging process

The process of validation entails the collection and evaluation of data from the design stage throughout production in order to establish a specific evidence of the ability of the process to deliver consistent quality products. The validation process is a precursor requirement of good manufacturing practices taking place over the lifecycle of the product and process.(Sanjay Tiku, 2010) The United States Food and Drug Administration has proposed guidelines which validate the packaging process through establishing a document that provides a high degree of assurance which enables product to meet its predetermined specifications and quality attributes.(Lockhart, 2006)

The process of validation activities normally takes place in three phases;

Phase 1 – Process design

At this stage the commercial process is defined during this stage based on knowledge during the process of development and scale-up activities.

Phase 2- Process qualification

In this phase the packaging process design is confirmed as being capable of reproducible commercial manufacturing practices.

Phase 3 – Continual process verification

After the process of routine production the packaging process, thus remains in a state of control and thus the process is in a state of self-control

The validation process means that companies and organizations need to document each step of the manufacturing process in the packaging process. This ensures that safety and quality of the products that reach the consumers at the market.(Leslaw Kwasniewski, 2015) Validation enables the right product is in the right package and rightly prepared through the right label. The fundamental packaging process has been in place for a couple of years, however due to advancement in technologies and approaches which has improved quality assurance and flexibility in the validation process. The integration of science in the process, thus places a lot of emphasis on companies to demonstrate their knowledge and ability on what they are able to or not able to affect the quality and efficacy of a product.(Pilchik, 2002)

Validation, however has a few challenges stemming from consistency in the validation procedures of machines which can be improved by offering rather a whole packaging line as opposed to using a single in order to improve consistency standards of the packaging process. Companies thus need to keep grasp of the validation requirements and how to support them in order to ensure that the verification is accurate and complete. The packaging industry, thus needs to provide a high degree of assurance to the specific process which clearly meets the requirements and quality attributes necessary in improvement in the packaging process by organizations.(Lynn Metcalf, 2012)

Conclusion

Packaging processes nowadays have pushed the limits of available packaging techniques by making packaging visions into a sense of reality which strives to reduce time and eliminate wastage for the benefit of capturing more sales of products transported to the marketplace. The use of non-statistical tools such as technology have proved to be a major factor in improving and upgrading the packaging process in an effort to improve the efficiency of the process. For instance, by using advanced CAD and 3D visualization and techniques for packaging design companies can be able to develop effective packaging techniques which strives to reduce and eliminate wastages in the supply chain system.(Hakola, 2013)

Managers are advised to integrate effective packaging process systems in order to produce goods that are of the highest quality which are able to reach the target markets. From the traditional era of packaging through the use paper package materials up to the innovation era of high end technological advancements the packaging  sector has undergone rapid changes in an effort to achieve maximum efficacy and effectiveness in the development of products for their consumer base.

 

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