Packing machine requirements: E-commerce is changing the game
January 31, 2019
With the advent of e-commerce, the global marketplace is undergoing seismic changes – and industry players, both big and small, need to be more agile and flexible in order to successfully respond to changing consumer needs. And that change starts on the factory line.
When it comes to packing machines, the traditional recipe for success has been increased efficiency, dedicated lines, and high speed. Suppliers of goods such as toothpaste, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals were in control of the marketplace, and their customers were happy receiving 20 thousand packages of the same product.
Consumers are setting the rules
E-commerce has changed everything: consumers are increasingly setting the rules, on-demand is becoming norm, and the old business model has been turned on its head. This dramatic shift in marketplace dynamics means companies, particularly some of the more dominant players, need to act now in order to address the new way of doing business.
“The more agile and flexible you are the easier it is to react quickly to an increasingly fickle and demanding marketplace,” says Norden Citus Kalix Sales Director. “It’s becoming more or less impossible to predict, for example, which shade of lipstick will be popular next month because one influential blogger with 5 million followers could throw a monkey wrench into your plans. You need to be ready to respond because the chain reaction set off by one blog post has a powerful impact, right down to filling and cartoning machinery.”
Responding to new requirements is key
Norden Citus-Kalix Sales Director says reacting to this new marketplace, which is now based on customer demand and controlled by E-commerce giants such as Alibaba’s Tmall and Amazon, means having the ability and the agility to roll with the changes.
“This doesn’t just mean changing over from one product to another quickly – that’s a given,” says the Sales Director. “Companies need to be flexible to handle new requirements, such as running mostly multi-color filling one day, or a certain shape, or maybe adding something to the tube that you didn’t expect, such as a label or promotion packs. There are any numbers of changes that require you to be swift and flexible.”
“Companies today need machines that can adapt to the new trends and requirements because if you don’t have machines that are as flexible and adaptable as you need to be, you’re going to be in trouble. When we supply a machine, we don’t fully equip it or utilize all the positions on it,” explains Norden Citus Kalix Sales Director. “Instead, we make sure there is plenty of spare capacity for growth or modifications, which means companies can add different equipment and upgrades that will address things like smaller batches.”
Batch sizes might be getting smaller but if the changeover time is longer than it takes to produce, just say, 100 units, it’s not going to work. Additionally, it’s no longer necessarily about high speed. This is where Norden and Citus Kalix are acting as a true partner to their customers.
Breaking the Supply Chain
Additionally, it is becoming more and more difficult to predict the supply chain due ever-evolving consumer trends as the result of E-commerce. A number of solutions are available from Norden and Citus Kalix in order to figure out the best place to break the supply chain in order to meet new demands. Knowing what the right level of pre-packing is, whether to print a basic tube digitally with generic information such as logos while waiting to add more specific details just before filling, or perhaps filling a tube but storing it until you understand what sort of packaging might be required – perhaps adding a brush or a sponge – are all areas where Norden and Citus Kalix can help.
“It’s a bit like preparing a meal but not cooking it until everyone’s ready to eat,” says Norden Citus Kalix Sales Director. “We are ready to help our customer find the right solutions that will keep them agile and flexible – which will go a long way towards keeping them competitive on today’s market.”
“At the end of the day, we know times are changing and in order to both keep our edge and help our customers keep theirs, we need to be super-flexible and innovative. We want to support our customers and help them understand how they can respond quickly to the marketplace – and thus keep their competitive edge.”
With e-commerce – and, by association, digitization – driving significant changes in the global marketplace it’s important for companies to evolve their business model. Working in partnership with your suppliers will give you the tools you need to order to respond to increasingly swift changes in the marketplace with the flexibility and agility the new landscape requires.
Learn more by contacting your Norden sales representative.