Getting your product to market-and ensuring it is noticed once it arrives-requires a collaborative force between production, supply chain, and packaging operations. Accordingly, advances in supply chain operations have the potential to revolutionize contract packaging. Here are some ways supply chain improvements are virtually transforming the contract packaging industry.
Improving Communications through Better Tracking
An increasing number of packages these days are equipped with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips or Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tracking devices. Packaging with this technology allows for better communication with customers by letting people know where their packages are in real time. They also make it easier to identify logistical issues and solve them in the earliest stages. As technology improves, shipping becomes more cost-efficient and product safety is enhanced as well.
Emphasis on Information Technology
Information technology is not something you normally associate with packaging. However, much of the technology used in supply chain management directly affects packaging by:
- Allowing for greater control over inventory. This ensures you have the right amount of packaging on hand and at the right time. No more holding up orders due to a lack of packaging or being stuck with excess packaging you no longer have a need for.
- Making it easier to implement safety controls, particularly ones imposed by regulatory guidance. That’s because the right IT will automatically come with its own built in checks and balances.
- Streamlining processes across all areas of operation.
- Improving visibility among various departments.
- Enhancing the overall customer experience.
Intelligent Shipment Systems
An intelligent shipment system-one based primarily in the cloud-can be one of the most effective ways to streamline supply chain operations. Cloud-based operations promote a team-based environment where everyone is able to perform more efficiently. These systems also automate such functions as label printing, and give contract packagers more insight into the manufacturing process. Better insight in many cases means an ability to provide better quality packaging at a lower cost.
Moving supply chain functions to the cloud is especially beneficial when operations are strung out across multiple locations. No longer will those working at remote sites be left in the dark, so the odds of an error due to miscommunication will be greatly reduced.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality allows for scene capture and identification by enabling computer vision and implementing object recognition. This in turn allows for greater accuracy, and reduces the odds of mislabeling or incorrectly packaging an item. As such, augmented reality is highly useful in industries such as food service and pharmaceuticals where safety is a primary concern. AR has even proven useful in the area of facility planning, and could make it possible to develop safer, more cost-effective packaging in the future.
Supply chain management and packaging truly do go hand in hand. When both are handled by the same company, costs decrease, efficiency improves, and customers are more satisfied. Here at Combined Technologies, Inc., we are a one-stop shop for all your packaging and supply chain needs, and eagerly await the opportunity to serve you.