HomeApplicationsFlexible packaging producers

Flexible packaging producers

Production specifics

Flexible packaging is a product made of foil which has several different functions. It must protect a product, constitute a barrier against external factors, allow for its identification, often specify its ingredients. Currently packagings are more than just information and protection – they are used for marketing activities, advertising product by attracting the consumers attention. Their task is also to prove the quality of product and to enforce its brand.

The concept of flexible packaging covers the whole group of products including both welded products as well as delivered in a roll, products with one-, two- and multi-layered construction. The packaging production process is commenced at the stage of foil pressing where the adjustment of proper pellets composition defines the parameters of the finished products. The timely supply of packagings and their quality often decide on production flow of large technology lines, therefore error elimination, precise workmanship and production time are of crucial importance.

Flexible packagings production is performed mainly using the flexography print method on a narrow or wide web using solvent  or UV cured inks. They are completed by packaging coating and welding processes. The packagings are also produced using gravure technology as well as hybrid technologies, e.g. using offset presses with exchangeable printing cylinders with the additional flexographic components.

Problems and Challenges

Packaging is not an independent product and creates only an element for production of other goods value of which is many times higher than the packaging value. This component is often used by automated production and packing lines and its lack or defect may cause losses of ten thousand currency units for each hour of delay. Therefore, in the case of packagings production timely delivery of orders, supply chain control, production planning well in advance are even more important than in other printing specifications.

At the same time each newly implemented packaging must be properly prepared before production launch. The technology preparation of packaging is not limited to specifying graphic design and dimensions. The key factor usually is the packaging destination which decides on the used substrate, order and composition of the used foil, pellet content.

At the same time the packaging price, more than in any other printing production, is affected by the cost of used materials. Therefore the analysis of waste stemming from the production process and their proper estimation during initial calculation are of key importance for the print shop profitability.

Solution

PrintManager (CRM - Client Relations Management module, PLM - Product Lifecycle Management, PP - Preplanning, JA - working time registering module, WMS - Warehouse Management System, SA - sales, BI - strategic analysis) + WebClient - www order and storage processes supporting module.

The PrintManager system is a modular system supporting printing company management. The system enables registering of any crucial information for operation efficiency, its processing and making it available to the authorised persons. The system supports implementation of processes in the company, helps in following the required procedures by imposing order and standardising work of all its users. The system configuration is flexible enough to allow for covering and modelling not only the production processes but also for graphic projects performance, marketing activities, complaints processes and any other processes with established procedure – e.g. related with implementation of quality systems procedures obligatory in the company.

From the print shop employees’ point of view, implementation of the PrintManager system enhances work organisation, improves information flow, automates the repeatable operations. For the management board, system implementation guarantees compliance with the chosen procedures, ensures control over the employees’ activities, gives access to indices informing about effectiveness of performed actions.

Support of the basic areas of company operation

Customer service, Sales, Finances, Warehouse are the basic areas of company operation. The PrintManager system offers support the ContactManager, ProductManager, Sales and WarehouseManager modules.

The ContactManager is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) used for collection of information about the print shop customers, documents management and organising work in the form of projects. It can be used for modelling and control of any processes performed in a company, enforcing specified operations on the users. The ContactManager module includes also a set of Document Management System functions: enables registering the documents created in the company, following changes made in these documents and controlling the documents versions.

The SalesAssistant is the module responsible for support of sales in the PrintManager system. The module allows for registering sales documents related to the production orders for customers. The system integration results in forwarding most of data from other modules which significantly simplifies work with SA module. The module also enables registering purchase invoices and settlement of invoice. The SA module is open to integration with many popular finance and accounting systems is its significant feature which additionally enhances information flow in a company and automates the implemented processes.

The warehouse is serviced using the WarehouseManager module. The module offers complex management services for numerous physical and logical warehouses. The system may serve many companies and the number of serviced warehouse documents covers the scope of each print shop warehouse operation in 100%. The warehouse enables full identification of products including identification of orders (production batches) from which comes a product available at the warehouse.

Technical preparation of production

The ProductManager module is used for description of production technology in the PrintManager system. It is a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) class module supporting the user from the moment of preparing a quotation through automatic generation of offers, placing orders to generating job orders. Production technology is already initially specified during calculation and the production costs are estimated then. Upon establishing the final performance technology the estimated production costs are recalculated before commencement of production which helps in locating works of lower profitability even before their execution and allows for earlier reaction. Production technology of repeatable products such as labels, packaging or periodicals of fixed volume is saved by the ProductManager in a process chart enabling immediate commencement of production using the right technology in the case of reprints.

Production Planning

The ProductionPlanner module allows the planner to optimise the order of production processes, including foil production, printing, packaging production processes. The module provides a wide range of information on each operation and helps in decision-making.

The module also gives information on planned machines utilisation, therefore at the order acceptance stage is it possible to verify the ability of its performance in the specified time.

PrePress

The PrintManager system supports prepress processes by monitoring the status of tools required for production (such as blanking dies, printing forms or stencils for embossing) and informing about the materials not being ready for the planned orders. The solution enables prepress processes optimisation by adjusting them to the production plans, notwithstanding whether the tools are made in the print shop or at the subcontractors. The system also provides effective register of prepress processes costs regardless of the method of their processing.

Press

In the JobAcquisitor module, print operators have access to technological details regarding the performed operations. The module allows for registration of work in real time while processing the production order leading to more efficient organisation and work control. The machines operators also have the possibility of reporting the errors and breaks in production occurring during the production process.

In the case of implementing new products, the JobAcquisitor module allows for reporting key parameters of the operation such as the choice of aniloxes or the mixed ink formulas which inserted into the Process Chart guarantee repetitiveness of production during the next reprints.

PostPress

The JobAcquisitor module enables registration of production operations by the operators in accordance with the technology path specified in the order. Registration of any parameters for operation is possible using the module. Automatic counting of operation time depending on the number of personnel adjusts operation to the given production shift.

Using the module in the confection process allows for verification of the number of substrate quantity reported by the printers and use it for example to specify the remuneration in case of appropriate remuneration systems.

Management Board

All the modules of the PrintManager system collect ongoing data regarding work of the particular employees and sections then added into the central data warehouse which apart from MRP system may aggregate information from other information solutions working in the company enabling for creation of precise multilayer strategic analyses. The BI module helps in precise accounting  and checking profitability of orders with many finished products combined on one printed sheet.

Solution Advantages

  • The PrintManager system uses advanced algorithms allowing for very close estimation of glue and foil use, taking into account parameters of the used materials as well as parameters of semi-finished products created during production
  • The built-in system algorithms enable performance of calculations in various measuring units depending on the standard used by the customer. The available measuring units include e.g. metres, kilograms, square metres, pieces
  • The production planning and material requirements modules increase the certainty of timely performance of orders giving information on current machines utilisation, on available raw materials, taking into account the tools availability
  • All events in the system are assigned to a user and have creation date which helps in reconstruction of history of any process, in management and ongoing control of many parallel processes
  • The PrintManager system allows for identification of the batch of substrate available in the warehouse as well as of the batch for the products located in the warehouse
  • All data and documents are saved on the server which increases their safety – data gathered in one place simplifies archiving and it is also easier to protect it against access of unauthorised persons
  • The PrintManager system is based on the stable and reliable solutions of Microsoft company and therefore cooperates well with the Office software and any administrator familiar with the Microsoft solutions can manage it.
  • The client-server architecture and modular construction makes the system scalable – i.e. it is easily adjustable to the company of any size and development of the system does not require exchange of the system server, purchase of singular modules is sufficient.

Implementation Benefits

  • Increasing precision of production generated waste estimation
  • Increasing flexibility of calculations due to the ability to prepare offers in various measuring units
  • Improved effectiveness production taking into account availability of materials
  • The management process optimisation with raw material supplies which guarantees availability of the needed materials without increasing the warehouse inventories
  • Improvement of information flow inside the company
  • Factual enforcement of observance of key procedures
  • Improvement of identification of the materials and products origin