How Ops Managers & Co-Packers Can Improve CBD Packaging Lines

How Ops Managers & Co-Packers Can Improve CBD Packaging Lines


Speed up CBD packaging operations to get more products into the hands of customers faster.

In an ideal world, your CBD packaging line would operate with 100% efficiency. Equipment would never suffer any failures or downtime, employees would do their jobs with no mistakes, materials would always be on hand, and shipments would make it to their destinations on time every time. If this is how your operation works, congratulations! But those who would be happy to get even a few steps closer, we get it. 

The reality is that no business operates at 100% efficiency. One of the key metrics for determining how efficiently a packaging line gets products out the door is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). The optimal percentage varies by industry, but the best and most efficient lines operate at around 85%, with the average being about 60%. 

But you don’t want your CBD packaging line to be average, do you? When you’re looking for ways to boost your OEE percentage, start by measuring your current efficiency. Analyze your equipment and processes to see where your operation is falling behind, then take measures to fix the issues. You may need to upgrade capping and filling procedures, CBD labeling equipment, or employee training methods. Of course, you won’t know where the problem lies until you analyze it.

Optimal OEE Percentage

Measuring Efficiency

When benchmarking your production performance to find your OEE, there are six factors of major losses that determine how close to 100% your operation is:

  1. Equipment Failure
  2. Process Failure
  3. Idling and Minor Stops
  4. Reduced Speed
  5. Defects in Process
  6. Reduced Yield

Equipment failure and process failure are determined by comparing your planned machine production time vs. the actual production time. This gives you your machine availability (in OEE, represented as “A”). So, if your equipment was supposed to run for 10 hours but only ran for 7, that would be 70%. The calculation looks like this:

Actual Run Time/Planned Run Time=A

Idling, minor stops, and reduced speed are indicators of performance (represented as “P”). You get this metric by comparing your target output to your actual output. Specifically, the calculation looks like this:

(Ideal Cycle Time x Total Count)/Run Time=P

The ideal cycle time measures how fast you should be able to produce a single product. For our example, let’s say that’s 30 seconds or 0.5 minutes. Total count is how many items are produced in one shift or workday. Let’s say it’s 600. The run time is however long your line actually spends creating products. Here you would use your 7 hours figure from above (converted to 420 minutes for the calculation). Your calculation would be:

(0.5 minutes x 600)/420 minutes=71%

The final calculation takes into account your process defects and reduced yield. In other words, it accounts for how many defective products you need to throw away after a production run. This yields your quality (represented as “Q”). The formula is:

(Total Production - Defective Products)/Total Production=Q

If you produced 600 items but had to throw away 80 of them due to defects, your calculation would look like this:


At this point, we can take our A, P, and Q, then multiply them together to get our real-world OEE:

0.7 x 0.71 x 0.87=43%

While an OEE of 43% might seem dismal compared to an excellent score of 85%, 40% is actually quite common for businesses that are just making this calculation for the first time.

Finding the Weak Spots

Now that you know your efficiency needs improvement, you can attack the problems where they lie. Reducing downtime and increasing the speed of your equipment will be essential. Look for machines that are dragging down the rest of the line. If the labeling machine applying labels to CBD packaging, for example, can only go so fast and you’ve reduced the speed of the machines on either side to compensate, you will want to consider new labeling equipment. The same holds true if it breaks or goes out of alignment frequently.

You may also find that your processes are weak. Perhaps you have machines that should be next to each other that you’ve placed in different parts of your facility. This extra journey the products have to take is wasting time. Maybe your raw materials are kept in too remote of a location, and too much manpower goes into retrieving them. You may need to revamp your employee training as well, especially if too much time is spent trying to figure out how to use the equipment on the packaging line.

If products are damaged before they’re ready to ship, find out why. Do you have a piece of equipment that is damaging CBD packaging, denting oil containers, tearing your CBD brand labels, or spilling tincture bottles before they’re sealed? Is there a small but significant factor causing costly issues? You’ll only know if you observe.

Making Upgrades

Once you’ve identified your issues, it’s time to start making improvements. Old, outdated, worn out, and poorly designed equipment needs to be replaced. As you replace it, consider your entire CBD packaging line to make sure the right machines are in the right order for maximum efficiency. For example, if your labeling machine is first, you’re increasing the chances of labels getting torn or ripped as the containers move through the line. 

Whenever you get new pieces of equipment, make sure they:

  1. Can operate at peak speed without creating bottlenecks in the line
  2. Can take and feed products from one machine to the next (if you want a fully automatic line)
  3. Are easy to use and learn
  4. Can be fixed, maintained, and upgraded
  5. Have solid tech support from the manufacturer

Your CBD packaging line is only as fast as your slowest piece of equipment. You may have the best filling machines, capping machines, bottle washers, and pallet wrappers, but if your labeler is slow and clunky, then the rest of your line is, too.

Improve Your CBD Packaging Line with Pack Leader USA

Improve Your CBD Packaging Line with Pack Leader USA

When upgrading your labeling equipment, choose a partner who has experience. Pack Leader USA's labeling machines for the CBD industry will never be the weak point in your packaging line. It's our job to make sure you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about improvements to your line, so we've put together an ebook called 6 Ways the Right Wrap Around Labeler Can Improve CBD Labeling & Manufacturing Lines. Download it for free to learn how the right wrap around labelers can improve your line speed and label CBD bottles of every size faster and better.