Report: The 'Thinning Out' of Manufacturing and Flexible Packaging Machinery

Robb Leonhard

packaging-facility-machinery.jpgIn a time when the manufacturing sector is experiencing mergers, acquisitions, job cuts and consolidation, and an overall decrease in capital spending, while at the same time responding to increasing demands from consumers, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies are feeling the pressure, as are packaging Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). PMMI's recent Top to Top report explores in detail the top challenges that these companies are facing today. Let's take a look at four of them, share some insights, and explore the hidden opportunities these challenges may provide.

Challenge: Packaging OEMs can’t easily develop new technologies they can’t replicate – one offs are too costly

Yes, one offs are costly, both from an engineering and R&D standpoint, not to mention the time it takes to build and test flexible packaging machines. However, many packaging projects today require customization, and without the willingness to develop and test new packaging technologies and processes, there will be no innovation. Partner with a packaging OEM that is willing to take the time to learn the details of your project and offer something other than a 'one-size-fits-all' solution. Choose a flexible packaging OEM that is excited to experiment and take risks on new projects.

Challenge: There appears to be no relief in sight regarding the proliferation of SKUs and new product development – to the contrary, most see it only getting worse

As consumers, we see first hand the proliferation of SKUs in almost every market. From coffee to pet food to snacks, the deluge of products and package types is very apparent, and markets are getting even more crowded every day. That's why flexible packaging machinery that can accommodate a variety of different bag styles and sizes is a necessity to today's manufacturing and processing plants. It's an economical and efficient solution to a growing challenge in packaging. 



Challenge: There is too much work and not enough workers to do it – people are wearing multiple hats and feeling stressed

The days of narrow job descriptions are over. Employees today are expected to take on responsibilities and tasks that may be outside of their particular level of expertise or comfort zone. While that can be stressful, a positive aspect of this change is that cross-functional departments are becoming the norm. Technicians and line operators are asked to weigh in on capital equipment acquisitions. Marketing and engineering collaborate on how to most effectively bring a new technology to market. The result is an increase in communication in a workforce that is more aware of the unique challenges and needs of other departments. 

Challenge: Finding qualified workers at all levels becoming more difficult as is the training and knowledge gap

ProFood World reports that many manufacturers have tapped recent CPG company retirees to bridge the knowledge gap. Others have increased automation. But that comes with a catch - often increased automation necessitates a higher skill level needed on the plant floor to perform the work. If you are looking to automate production processes to alleviate the demands of manual labor on your staff and production schedules, partner with a flexible packaging OEM that will arrange for thorough on-site training and has an accessible technical service department.


We work every day in this changing manufacturing environment and understand the unique challenges it presents. From labor to market competition to education, we realize budget and product are not the only factors influencing your packaging project. Next time a packaging need arises, contact the flexible packaging equipment experts at Viking Masek for a free, no obligation consultation.