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'Box made to measure' machine versus stacking tools

Article
Erik Drissen
Erik Drissen
Business Consultant
More articles by Erik Drissen

A ‘box made to measure’ machine scans the dimensions of each order and cuts a box to the smallest possible size. This box is then folded around the order, taped shut and labelled to make it ready for dispatch. The machine is completely flexible in terms of shape, dimensions and the number of products (singles or multiples) to be sent in one box.

Can it get any better?

Is a ‘box made to measure’ machine sufficient? Does a combination of machine and stacking tools create an even higher profit margin? We share our vision:

1. Reduction of transport volume

A ‘box made to measure’ machine promises a 50% volume reduction compared to standard boxes, resulting in lower transport costs, no unnecessary filling material and about 20% less cardboard consumption.

Yes, when it comes to just 1 product. But how often do you send just 1 product? To ship a multi-package product, your employee must first stack it manually to create a ‘custom box’. A stacking tool will first calculate the optimal stacking and then provide the smaller volume with an appropriate box.

2. Number of orders per day

Each ‘box made to measure’ machine has a maximum number of orders per day. Some process 500 orders, others process 1,000 orders or more per day.

What about during peak periods such as Christmas and St. Nicholas? There is a real chance that your machine cannot handle the influx and you have to use manual packers. The reduction you have won with the ‘made to measure box’ machine disappears due to manual processing. A stacking tool then offers visual instructions so that your stacking will be faster and more efficient.

3. Smallest possible box without filling material

The machine always promises the smallest possible box without filling material, but in reality this is not always possible. After all, every machine has to deal with a range. This means that the machine has to take minimum and maximum dimensions into account.

Suppose your machine has a reach of 20cm to 100cm in height. What do you do with products that are 10 cm high? You still need filling material for these. A stacking tool works with standard packaging that is not linked to a range, allowing you to use even smaller (or larger) boxes.

4. Stacking after ‘box made to measure’

Packing your products in an optimal box is only the first step. Now you also have to place them efficiently on a pallet and ship them with your carrier. For this step, a ‘box made to measure’ machine does not offer a solution. Especially with ‘high mix -low volume’, you can sometimes ship a pallet more than necessary.

Is a stacking tool better than a ‘box made to measure’ machine?

No, but it is a nice addition. Faes has launched the stacking tool StackAssist. StackAssist improves the efficiency of the use of ‘box made to measure’ machines:

  • You have a better stacking of orders, already from 3 products or more per order.
  • Manual stacking is faster and more efficient thanks to visual instructions for the employee.
  • You can decide in advance whether item(s) will fit in the “customised box” or in a standard box.
  • You can stack packed orders efficiently in trolleys or on pallets.

Consequences:

  • No volume scanners needed in machine for volume determination
  • No unnecessary delays when a product does not fit
  • Even higher volume optimisation
  • Even smaller customised boxes, saving more cardboard
  • Even more orders per trolley / pallet
  • More efficient and faster order throughput
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