Steelcase, located in City of Industry, Calif., wanted to eliminate the space required for all the corrugated containers it used, says Steelcase buyer, Don Stolz. "The way we're building them right now is right off the production schedule. We don't build a box until it's on the line."
Using Packsize Right-Sized Packaging on Demand, Steelcase has reduced its packaging space needs from approximately 10,000 square feet to 1,000 square feet and has cut its waste by 20 to 30 percent. This system fits with the concept of lean manufacturing that the company has been implementing for the past 10 years. In February the plant was awarded the Shingo Prize for excellence in lean manufacturing, and this element of the plant is just one example of how well the concept works for them.
Solution to odd sizes
In the past there were a number of odd sizes of Steelcase products with low volume and low usage. The company would only need a quantity of 10 or 15 boxes over a two- or three-week period, but it could only order the odd sizes in quantities of 250 to 300. Because the boxes had Steelcase's name on them, they couldn't be resold. The product would end up on the shelf and most would eventually be thrown out.
"Right now everything is done in a software nesting program and we're using five different sizes of fanfold, which makes all of the cartons that we're currently using and it allows us to stay within a 3 percent scrap factor," says Stolz.
Packsize brings the machine to the company and allows them to use it. There is no cost and no lease, because the machine belongs to Packsize. The fanfold material, purchased from Packsize, is brought in an accordion form and is purchased by the square foot in various lengths and sizes.
"The machine is linked to them electronically, so they can tell exactly what we're running through it at all times," say Stolz. "They can tell what size we're running, and every 30-day period they evaluate what our scrap factor is and where they think we need to change sizes of fanfold. They're very diligent about making sure that we're as efficient as possible."
If the company needs a new size container, a call is made with the required specs and information will be e-mailed back. Changes actually can be made from Packsize's location. All Packsize needs is the depth, width and the height, and they do all the rest.
Custom sizes can also be done manually at the machine.
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