CBD manufacturers need a way to package fast, accurately, and efficiently.
So, you have a problem with your CBD packaging line. It's not a unique problem to you, or even to the CBD industry in particular. It's a universal issue, and that's the battle between speed and accuracy. Push your line too fast, and mistakes are made. Labels are misaligned (if they get applied), bottles get dropped, fill levels are different, and bottlenecks start cropping up. Production targets get missed while your competition steams ahead. To achieve optimal efficiency and output, the solution isn't ramping up every machine until they're running at 200%. It's going to take a little more finesse to arrive at a reliable and quick pace that doesn't result in damaged CBD products.
If you're a CBD manufacturer, no doubt you'd like to get your CBD oils, lotions, and other infused goods out the door and into customers' hands faster than the other guys can. Let's go over how that can happen.
Measure Twice, Pack Once
The old line in construction is, “measure twice, cut once.” This emphasizes double-checking to ensure everything is correct before an irreversible process begins, such as sawing a board. The same approach should be taken with raw materials and equipment. So, before making changes, identify what you need to change. Carefully analyze your CBD packaging line and determine what needs to be measured before making costly or irreversible changes.
The Overall Equipment Effectiveness system looks at Six Big Losses that lead to productivity loss. Apply these to your CBD manufacturing line
- Unplanned Stops: When your equipment fails, everything grinds to a halt. You have to use valuable time to identify and fix the problem before you can get your line moving again.
- Planned Stops: Take time to set up and make adjustments so that your machines are running properly. Perhaps they were exhibiting signs of poor tolerances, like improperly screwed caps or spilled CBD oil.
- Small Stops: If a piece of machinery is running, but no product is going through, it may be idling for some reason. This could be because the equipment behind it can’t feed it fast enough, is jammed, has incorrect settings, or the sensors aren’t working.
- Slow Cycles: If your machines are still running, but they’re not working at full capacity, they are working at reduced speed. This wastes their potential.
- Production Rejects: If your packaging line is outputting products unfit for sale, these production rejects are eating up time and resources.
- Startup Rejects: This involves materials or equipment that are defective at startup. If you have machines that require long warmup cycles or destroy raw materials due to incorrect settings, you’re experiencing significant waste.
Once you have identified where the problems lie, you can correct them. You may have a machine that’s getting old and won’t hold adjustments. Perhaps two machines that should be next to each other are on opposite ends of the production floor. There may be an issue with employee training (remember, it’s not necessarily the number of employees that’s important, but how efficiently they work). Whatever the case is, document the problem, implement the fix, and then document that for future reference.
Stock Up to Counter Shortages
Thanks to supply line shortages, consumers have been forgoing many staple purchases. To avoid being one of those manufacturers who have to issue “sorry we’re out of our product” messages, one tactic you can employ is stocking up on your materials. Order early; order often. Talk with your suppliers about any possible shortages they may be having and form more partnerships to open up multiple supply lines.
For items that have no specific expiration, such as containers, labels, lids, etc., you can stock larger amounts for a rainy day. Yes, this can be more difficult for your CBD products themselves since they have specific shelf lives, but there are changes you can make to ensure they have a longer lifespan, as well. Reducing sunlight to keep them from spoiling, making more room in refrigerators, and changing formulas as needed for longer freshness can keep your facility humming.
You can also start using multi-packs to reduce the number of labels you need or consolidate container sizes and types, so you don’t have to order many disparate bottles, bags, or pouches.
Maintain Your Machines for Longevity
If you need to buy new machines, do so. They can dramatically increase your productivity. But, many CBD packaging lines would operate faster if the equipment already in place were cared for with longevity in mind.
If you want long life and proper efficiency out of your equipment, do the following:
- Implement regular cleaning routines.
- Monitor them closely for wear and misalignment.
- Lubricate parts regularly.
- Ensure operators are well trained.
- Keep spare parts on hand.
These simple measures not only keep your equipment around longer but will also help them operate more accurately and quickly. It will be crucial for your employees to keep a close watch on them and report any problems.
Reduce Labeling Friction Points
Don’t slow everything down to match your slowest machine. Find a way to speed it up so that it can keep pace. If it can’t be sped up, repair it, replace it, or keep it on hand as a backup (sometimes a slow machine is better than no machine at all).
You may need to upgrade your labeling for more versatility and capability. Let’s say you’ve been labeling both sides of a container, and your labeler can only handle one side at a time, necessitating a refeed of your containers. If this is your bottleneck, you might consider using one label with all the information needed or investing in more versatile labeling equipment that can label front and back simultaneously, handle larger labels, or apply multiple labels.
Improve CBD Labeling Efficiency with the Right Equipment
Changing to machines that are faster, more efficient, durable, and easy to use will set you up for success. Pack Leader USA labeling machines are an excellent solution to the problem of under-optimized CBD packaging lines. Check out our guide to labeling CBD packaging better, where you’ll get our advice in one convenient place.
We look forward to connecting with you about improving your CBD packaging line productivity.