Automated packaging process line with two machines

6 Essential Steps to Packaging Machinery Validation

As technology continues to evolve, new faster, cleaner, smarter packaging machinery is always being developed. When companies invest in new machinery, it is up to them to make it work, and work consistently. Validation is a critical means to that end.

The Purpose of Validation

The purpose of packaging equipment validation is to establish a baseline for a packaging process. This work is documented and referenced throughout the life of the machine. Not only is it a requirement for regulated products, but it is also an effective means for troubleshooting errors in packaging lines.

Many industries use a formal validation process, while others are less regulated and can simplify the process down to an informal visual inspection. In the end, the amount of testing required will be dictated by the corporate standards and quality systems that regulate each business.

Steps to Validating Packaging Machinery

For the more regulated industries, some of the steps in a packaging validation process include:

By validating packaging machinery, businesses can be assured of consistent, successful packaging performance. If you need assistance with validating your packaging machinery, contact us.

compostable

Evaluating the Feasibility of Switching to Compostable Packaging

Awareness of compostable packaging has grown significantly in recent years. One of the driving factors of this growth is the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy, which set a goal that all plastic packaging be 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. While many consumers are familiar with the reuse model, dating back to the days of the milk man, and recycling, with curbside recycling access continuing to grow, composting is a new concept that is not familiar to many people.

Understanding the Definition of Compostable Packaging

One of the main challenges with compostable packaging is developing a thorough understanding of the definition. To provide background on what is considered compostable packaging here is an excerpt from Compostable Packaging, A Greener Approach to Packaging Materials, An Adept Packaging White Paper.

Compostable packaging, or more specifically, compostable plastic, is defined by the ASTM (American Society for Testing & Materials) as “capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site as part of an available program, such that the plastic is not visually distinguishable and breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass, at a rate consistent with known compostable materials (e.g. cellulose) and leaves no toxic residue.”

According to World Centric, to be considered compostable plastic, there are three characteristics it must meet three conditions: 

  1. Biodegradable – in order for a material to be considered biodegradable, it must break down into carbon dioxide, water, biomass at the same rate as cellulose (paper).
  2. Disintegrable – the material is disintegrable if it is indistinguishable in compost; it must not be visible or needed to be screened out
  3. Free of Eco-toxicity – a material is considered free of eco-toxicity if the biodegradation does not produce any toxic material and the compost can support plant growth. 

Evaluation of Compostable Certification

Compostable packaging can be a great alternative for materials such as laminate plastic films, which do not have many end-of-life options today outside of landfill and incineration, but when assessing compostable packaging there are several factors that need to be considered, including:

  • The composting certification
  • On pack consumer communication
  • Supply chain of the package
  • Likelihood that it will make it to a composting facility

Compostable Certification Process

The certification process depends on several factors, including which country the package will be sold in and whether it is designed to be composted in an industrial facility or a home composting environment.

According to Compostable Packaging, A Greener Approach to Packaging Materials, in order to determine that a material is compostable, there are certain tests that the material must pass. Some institutions have defined either the standards or the methods to perform these tests, such as:

Commonly, to receive the assessment and certification, there are independent certification bodies that help with this process, such as:

  • DIN Certco (German Institute of Standardization, Germany)
  • AFOR (Association for Organics Recycling, UK)
  • Keurmerkinstituut (Certification Institute, Netherlands)
  • COBRO (Packaging Research Institute, Poland)
  • ABA (Australasian Bioplastics Association, Australia)
  • Vinçotte (Accredited Inspection and Certification Organization, Belgium)
  • Jätelaito-syhdistys (Solid Waste Association, Finland)
  • Certiquality/CIC (Composting and Biogas Association, Italy)
  • Avfall Norge (Waste Management and Recycling Association, Norway)
  • BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute, USA)
  • BNQ (Bureau de Normalisation du Québec, Canada)
  • JBPA (Japan BioPlastics Association, Japan)

Ensuring your package is engineered using certified compostable material and can still function to protect your product is one step in determining the feasibility of using compostable packaging.  

Consumer Communication for End of Life

Another challenge that companies face when implementing compostable packaging is lack the of consumer education surrounding it. Consumer communication is important when it comes to packaging, no matter what end-of-life scenario the package was designed for. If the package is disposed of incorrectly, it defeats the purpose of the intended design and provides no added value. Due to the fact that many consumers are unfamiliar with composting, it is best to provide as much information as possible.

 In the case of composting, completing the certification process will provide options of what graphic, instructions, and claims can be made on pack.

For example, the US BPI has a standardized logo that also aligns with the How 2 Compost labeling program from GreenBlue, the creators of How 2 Recycle. While in Europe, the TUV certification labels are widely recognized by consumers. Including resources that make it easy to find the nearest industrial composting facility or instructions for composting at home is also useful to promote correct end-of-life disposal.

Access to composting facilities

Not only does the consumer need to be aware of how to properly dispose of the package, but in the case of composting they also need to have access to an industrial composting facility that accepts packaging or have their own home composting setup. Not all industrial composting facilities are created equal; they range from accepting green waste, food waste, compostable packaging or all the above. GreenBlue has created an interactive map that highlights US composting facilities and the type(s) of material they accept.

Some companies utilize compostable packaging for products that have a defined supply chain, such as products being sold in sports stadiums where you can influence the collection systems put into place. The Green Sports Alliance is an organization that works in this space and promotes zero waste at facilities they partner with.

Determining your consumer’s access to these facilities or ability to influence collection systems determines the ability of your consumer to correctly dispose of the packaging. Without access to these facilities, a consumer doesn’t have the tools needed to compost the packaging.

Assessing if Compostable Packaging is Right for You

Considering compostable packaging can be a complex process to take on, given the need for certified material, education for consumers and access to composting facilities for end of life. By considering the factors noted here, companies can make a determination if the foundation is in place to take the next steps and what can and cannot be achieved by making the change to compostable packaging.

If you’re considering switching to compostable packaging or want to have a discussion about if compostable packaging is an option, our experts would be happy to help. Contact us.

Olive oil factory, Olive Production

EU Tethered Bottle Caps Regulation- Challenges and Solutions

In an attempt to reduce the amount of plastic that leaks out of the recycling system, the EU is imposing a new regulation for single use plastics. Part of that regulation, Article 6, requires companies to redesign all plastic containers up to 3 liters that use a plastic closure to ensure that closure is tethered to the bottle and cannot be detached.

This ambitious regulation is causing a stir in the Beverage industry. While the goals of Article 6 are aimed at reducing plastic deposited into marine environments, many are questioning if they’re realistic. Let’s take a look at the goals vs challenges of this 2024 regulation.

EU-Tethered-bottle-caps-regultion_Adept-Group

Conveyor with bottles filled with milk products

Elements of a Successful Reusable Packaging Program

The topic of reusable packaging programs has been widely discussed in recent years, but in practice, efforts have barely scratched the surface of its true potential. Executed properly, reusable packaging provides benefits ranging from increased sustainability and improved productivity to increased product quality and, perhaps most importantly, cost savings. Well-integrated reusable packaging programs help industries optimize the use of critical resources and minimize the waste associated with traditional packaging methods.

Applications for Reusables

Many packaging elements throughout the supply chain can be converted from single-use materials to reusables. Everyday items used in the manufacturing, packaging and distribution of goods, including durable handheld and bulk containers, pallets, shipping racks and dunnage, are often made for single-use or limited-use applications, but brand owners can find a lot of value in converting them to reusable items.

Reusable packaging can be used for shipping both inbound goods such as raw materials and outbound finished goods. While they are in the manufacturing facility, goods can be transported from one department or stage of the manufacturing process to another in durable packaging that lasts for many cycles before it needs to be replaced. Recyclable materials can be returned in reusable containers and replacement parts and other after-market goods can be distributed in reusable packaging that customers return for repeated use.

Planning for Reusability

The first step to a successful reusable packaging program is a thoroughly researched and well thought out plan. Brand owners need to solicit input from customers to find the best opportunities to incorporate reusable packaging downstream. Thorough analysis of current packaging systems provides opportunities to identify ways in which reusables will generate cost savings, and a well-researched list of suppliers will reveal sources to produce the items and materials you’ll need to implement a reusable packaging process throughout the supply chain.

Designing Reusable Solutions

While the planning stage provides an important overview of the process used to convert to reusable packaging materials, packaging engineers and sourcing experts need to adhere to a diligent design process to create a successful program. The new system must be designed for consistency with existing standards, such as pallet size, as well as take into account logistic needs. Equally as important, the new reusable system must provide protection for components that is on par with or better than traditional packaging to earn buy-in from stakeholders. Perhaps most importantly, reusable solutions must integrate seamlessly with the customer’s supply chain for the program to succeed.

While those considerations are integral to buy-in from external stakeholders, design needs to account for additional considerations for internal stakeholders to understand reusables’ value. A successful program must balance durability with weight and easy of handling to control costs and ensure reusable solutions last long enough to generate savings. The new system must comply with health & safety standards and free up space that was previously used to store traditional packaging components for productive use. To prevent loss, an integrate a tracking system that monitors the location of reusable packaging as it moves through the supply chain can be incorporated. This allows for creation of a plan for storing the physical elements of the reusable program at each stop along the supply chain.

Prototyping and Testing

Because implementing reusable packaging involves an overhaul of so many pieces of your packaging process, it is important to make sure every element integrates seamlessly within the system before implementation. For this reason, a thorough testing process involving prototypes of each physical element is integral to the process. Many of the same suppliers identified during the planning stages can be leveraged to produce prototypes.

When it comes to package testing, there are a variety of options to consider. Consulting engineers and other high-level technical experts with knowledge of the product and its distribution provides valuable input to narrow down the list of standards to use for packaging tests. Testing standards that apply to reusable packaging include:

  • ISTA-3A: Packaged-Products for Parcel Delivery Shipment
  • ISTA-3B: Packaged-Products for Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipment
  • ASTM D7386-16: Single Pack Performance Test
  • ASTM D4169-09: Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems
  • FedEx 6A: Packaging Testing Under 150 Lbs.

Integration

Once the planning, design, and testing are completed and approved, a well-executed integration process will ensure the reusable packaging program gets off to a successful start, which is important for the longevity of the program. Proper introduction of the new reusable solution is also valuable to ensure that everyone who will handle the reusable packaging understands the new system. This will encourage correct use of the system, so that reusable items can circulate properly and return to their starting point after they are used.

Completing the transition from single-use packaging solutions to a true reusable packaging program can be a complicated process requiring a high level of input from technical experts. For brand owners who lack the resources or the manpower to complete the transition, Adept Packaging can help. Our team of Loop-certified packaging engineers have guided many brands through the transition. Our global network of suppliers enables our engineers to design, develop and qualify innovative reusable packaging solutions. Additionally, our sustainability team collaborates with our value optimization team to analyze opportunities for cost savings via transitioning to reusable packaging. They build the plans, design the details, manage the prototyping and testing process, and oversee integration to provide a smooth transition to a reusable packaging program that will save on costs and increase a brand’s sustainability efforts.

If you’re interested in talking to our experts, contact us! We’d love to hear from you.

Business disruption covid-19

Conquering Business Challenges Introduced by COVID-19

With infectious disease experts now warning that COVID-19 could become seasonal, the need for social distancing practices may repeat periodically until an effective vaccine is available. While some businesses that were familiar with remote work and had an infrastructure in place to support it were able to adapt, many others faced a learning curve these past few weeks and will need to develop plans to navigate the rest of the initial outbreak and any future outbreaks.

Keeping your business up and running through a heavily disruptive event is a major challenge, especially when partners, key vendors and customers or clients are facing similar challenges. Developing a good continuity plan will help you focus on the most important business activities and determine sources in advance to help you deal with fluctuating changes to staffing needs.

Evaluating Priorities

When unprecedented and unpredictable events like the current pandemic occur, it’s hard for leaders to know what to expect for their business. When some or all of the business’s staff is unable or unwilling to come onsite, it can be easy to succumb to feelings of despair and throw your hands up, but it’s important for leaders to have a clear picture of what businesses processes and activities can be conducted remotely.

Knowing which activities are realistic and can contribute to the business’s success during a major disruption provides a clear set of priorities that will help the team move forward. To determine these priorities, it’s helpful to separate normal business activities into three buckets:

  • Bucket A should include the essential functions that need to happen for the business to continue running successfully. This is where you should place the majority of your attention, enabling your staff to dedicate their time to the activities that keep revenue coming in and providing the goods or services your customers need.
  • Bucket B should include functions that can be curbed for a period of time. This includes business functions that can still happen under social distancing conditions but will require reconfiguring staff or changing up resources to accomplish.
  • Bucket C should include functions that cannot be completed under these disruptive conditions. Being honest about business activities that belong in this category will help to avoid wasting limited resources on tasks that are not productive.

Having business activities bucketed into these three categories will allow companies to react quickly when disruptions happen.

Access and Resources

Once leadership clearly outlines the business’s priorities for the period of disruption, it will be important to determine what resources are needed to enable staff to work from their homes or from other off-site locations.

At its most basic level, this means making sure everyone has access to a laptop that includes all the software they need to do their jobs or access to a system they can log into from their own computer to do their work.

Beyond this basic hardware requirement, it’s also important to look at software solutions that will help your team maintain productivity. This includes software for conducting remote meetings, such as Skype or Zoom, and software for assigning and tracking tasks and deliverables, such as Asana, Trello, or the task functions built into Outlook.

This also includes scaling up the business’s online security efforts to limited vulnerability to online attacks while employees are conducting 100% of their daily activities remotely.

Managing Workload Changes

While some companies are experiencing a slowdown, many companies are struggling to keep up with the pace of online orders. For the items in buckets A and B, it may be helpful to tap into a flexible, scalable staffing solution provided by an outside partner who specializes in your line of business.

For example, many of our clients in the Life Sciences and Food and Beverage industries are experiencing an uptick in business. They need additional packaging engineering resources to account for increased demand, to offer expertise, or consult on time-sensitive projects.  

While new challenges arise, such as an increased need for anti-counterfeiting features, cold chain packaging development for new products, or access to a new supplier base, hiring a full-time resource doesn’t always make sense. Leveraging consultants that have the required expertise allows companies to have expertise for a defined duration without adding the cost of benefits, training, and other expenses that come with a fulltime engineer.

Most companies are learning daily about the adaptability of their teams. Developing a plan that includes business practice expectations, resources, tools, and partner companies will allow for business continuity in the face of disruption.

How are Companies Leveraging Adept?

While we work with the largest brands in the Life Sciences and Food and Beverage industries, many of our clients are seeing a shift in need. While some need additional resources for their internal teams, others need expertise to respond to their dramatic increase in e-commerce demand.

As companies respond to the financial challenges brought on by the economic shift, our Value Optimization team is helping companies reduce packaging and logistics costs so they can reallocate that money to other areas of the business.

Additionally, we work with most of the top Life Sciences companies, many of which are looking to quickly get their products into trials and to market to combat the pandemic. Our engineers are leveraged to source, engineer and qualify packaging quickly to ensure the progress of these trials.

If your company is experiencing a change in need due to current circumstances, we have a diverse team comprised of over 100 packaging engineers with 60+ niche areas of expertise to find the solution. Contact us.  


Work from Home

Business as Usual: Working Remotely During COVID-19

As COVID-19 disrupts businesses, communities and the economy as a whole, Adept Group is uniquely positioned to continue operating remotely with little to no disruption. For more than 10 years, our global team has leveraged a virtual working environment to collaborate and support some of the most iconic brands in the Life Sciences, CPG and Food & Beverage industries.

Long-Standing Remote Infrastructure

At a time when many businesses are adapting to social distancing as a new working challenge, we’re moving forward with mature and fully functioning people, systems and processes engineered to execute packaging projects remotely. Since inception, the Adept Group recognized the need for our team to be adaptable to meet our clients’ needs, however, whenever and wherever they needed us – including our home offices.

We’re designed for agility, from recruiting and onboarding to managing teams, projects, and people, enabling seamless connectivity of our employees, customers and partners. While the health of our associates remains our top priority, our model translates into business value – a more productive workforce sooner, less business disruption, increased organizational agility, superior service delivery and happier employees.  

Flexibility and Scalability

Our structure is designed to be flexible and scalable. For example, when the pandemic began to spread throughout Italy, our international associates started to experience limitations such as travel restrictions, while our US team was still free to travel. When one of those Italian associates was unable to board a plane for an on-site appointment with a client, we adapted, deploying a US-based engineer to act as the eyes, ears, and hands of our Italian engineer as they worked together to deliver undisrupted service.  

Adapting to Economic Circumstances

Our Value Optimization team, which is responsible for cost and quality optimization, travels under normal circumstances to clients’ locations to evaluate their packaging and processes. They’ve adapted their methodology during this time of restricted travel. As an alternative, they are having clients ship their packaging to us for evaluation and redesign, while leveraging our remote infrastructure to collaborate, effectively maintaining the project timeline and helping clients reduce costs during this financially and logistically difficult time.  

While cost savings may not be front-of-mind yet for companies, recovering from the financial burden of this economical hardship will call for some innovation. Our Value Optimization team can help. Leveraging remote tools and methodology, companies can start the process now to evaluate packaging and logistics spend and start seeing savings when they need it most.

Changes to Packaging Needs

Among innumerable other changes, this pandemic is likely to impact packaging for some companies as well. As the demand for ecommerce increases in the weeks to come, companies who focus mainly on brick and mortar sales may need to adapt to get their products to consumers safely. Our ecommerce experts are fully functional to address your needs.

Our Fully Functional Team is Ready to Help

If you find that your packaging needs have shifted, we have experts in over 60 specialized areas that can help you with new packaging development, quality remediation, ecommerce packaging and much more. Check out our website for an overview of our services and capabilities. 

Stay safe everyone and make responsible choices. Contact us for assistance with any of your packaging challenges.

working through covid19

Coronavirus: Maintaining Productivity & Interaction

In a time of uncertainty, social isolation can compound the foreboding being felt across the globe. While many people are quite literally isolated, there is a sense of connectedness that needs to be excavated from the apprehension.

Strategies to Stay Connected through the Distance

As a global team, our associates are experiencing varying levels of severity of COVID-19. Our Italian team, who is in the trenches right now, has developed new ways to keep their communities connected through this difficult time. At 6 pm every night, the musicians throughout Pavia Italy open their windows and collectively play music for the town to hear; reimagining ways to create through the devastation.  

This awe-inspiring act is one of many ways our associates have employed to cope with the current crisis.

As many companies are working remotely for the first time, we felt it useful to share the strategies we’ve established to ensure our employees remember that they’re not alone, while avoiding disruption for our clients. While technology makes it easier than ever to work remotely, keeping employees engaged, productive and mentally healthy requires additional effort from the leadership team. 

Establish Strong Leadership:

The importance of leadership cannot be understated in times like these.  When leadership falls silent, the disquiet among associates can be deafening. In bleak and uncertain times, employees need a leader who is willing to make decisions and communicate a clear plan of action for his or her team.

Each week since the onset of COVID-19, the CEO of Adept Group has sent out an email recognizing the changes that are impacting our daily lives. He takes the time to outline action plans to provide a clear vision in the coming weeks, provides anecdotes of inspiration from our associates across the globe, and motivates our team to continue leveraging our strengths as we fight toward a common goal.

This communication not only serves to keep our associates informed but provides a point person to go to with concerns which he is happy to shoulder. Maintaining focus through chaotic times is essential to keep productivity high and priorities in order.

Shift your priorities:

Another tell-tale sign of strong leadership is a clear vision. Understanding that the changes to our daily lives will restrict our capabilities is vital to the development of clear priorities. In other words, do what you can do, adapt whatever possible and deprioritize what’s left.

Encourage Open and Frequent Communication:

In order to keep a finger on the pulse of the mental and emotional health of the company during this trying time, it’s critical to establish judgment-free open communication.

During 2019, the Adept Group made a pledge to eradicate the stigma around mental health in our work environment and encourage employees to share, speak up and ask for the help they need. As the stress of the situation weighs on our teammates, it’s more important than ever that they feel they have somewhere to turn and a support system in place, even if it’s physically at a distance.

Beyond promoting open communication, frequent discussions and check-ins encourage employees to be engaged. Since the onset of COVID-19, our culture committee has made an effort to start the day with a question, quote, picture challenge, etc. to get the entire group interacting.

Promote Facetime:

As a globally dispersed company, video conferencing does a tremendous job of bringing our employees closer together, even under normal circumstances. Being able to interpret facial expressions and see each other laugh and smile adds a social element that is otherwise lost in a virtual environment. Beyond easing integration into the team, there are productivity benefits to adding the video aspect to conference calls.

75% of office workers in the US fear that our professional relationships may deteriorate if people keep their eyes fixed on computer and smartphone screens instead of on each other. Facetime elevates communication from a conversation to an interaction; effectively reducing distraction and resulting in more productive meetings with stronger team bonds.

Since the onset of social distancing, we’ve made additional efforts to interact and see one another each week. Every Friday, our CEO hosts a call for the entire company to join, catch up, air concerns, check-in and communicate about what’s happening in their areas and how they’re managing the situation.

Develop New Ways to Interact:

Developing activities for employees to take part in beyond work may seem counterintuitive; however, feeling isolated or disengaged at work is directly correlated to reduced productivity and quality of work.

When employees feel connected to their team, company buy-in increases, quality increases, and productivity follows. At Adept, we’ve always done team building activities to encourage team interaction, but as the feeling of physical isolation mounts, we are adding more events to the calendar to counter it. Some activity ideas for your team are:

  • Monthly trivia– have one associate put it together and host a meeting, cameras on, to share in the laughs and fun of a game together
  • Lunch Bunch– our lead recruiter hosts a video conference call with any associates who choose to join where we eat lunch and play games to get to know each other better, like would you rather, or two truths and a lie
  • Paper Plane Contest– This is one example of the fun competitions you can challenge your associates to. In this one, employees were given rules about making a paper plane. The one that flew the farthest was the winner.
  • Love Your Pet Campaign– During this activity, associates were asked to send in pictures of their pets. All of our associates got to see the pictures and comment and ask questions. The whole activity only took a few minutes.

Those are just a few we’ve done, but if you’re looking for more virtual team building activities, here’s a link to an article that includes icebreakers, conversation starters and activities to try.

What’s to come?

The next few weeks will demand creativity and innovation from companies across the globe as they pivot to tackle the new challenges presented by this pandemic. Strong leadership, clear vision and a willingness to explore new solutions will be more important than ever. Companies with leaders who prioritize connection as highly as productivity will be well-positioned to weather the storm.

Top WP 2020sm

Adept Packaging Named Lehigh Valley Top Workplace 2 Years Running

For the second consecutive year, Adept Packaging was recognized as one of the Top Workplaces in the Lehigh Valley by The Morning Call. We take great pride in this continued recognition of the culture we’ve built in both our Allentown office and with our team spread across the globe.

Our Top Workplaces Standing

The best part of this honor is that it’s based on responses from our employees to The Morning Call’s Energage survey. Workplace culture means everything to us, and we couldn’t be prouder to see our efforts validated through positive feedback from our team: our most valuable resource.

The survey gauged employees’ feelings on topics such as trust, communication, culture and benefits, and we got great feedback across the board. Words that came through most frequently in our team’s written responses included flexibility, work-life balance, culture and learning, demonstrating our success in creating a work environment where employees feel empowered to grow and do their best work while living a balanced life.

The Top Workplaces Event

We had a great opportunity last night to celebrate our culture at the dinner honoring the Top Workplaces winners throughout the Lehigh Valley. One quote from the night that resonated throughout the crowd was from Mike Miorelli, Editor at the Morning Call: “If you want to stand out, you can’t stand still.” which is why we never stop moving toward the things that matter most to us.

Our Culture

We work hard to create and maintain a workplace culture that celebrates diversity, encourages a healthy work/life balance, empowers our team to excel in our roles, and celebrates team and individual success.

We continue to consider our associate needs and adjust our cultural objectives to meet those needs. For example, in 2019, we undertook an initiative to focus on employee mental health in order to reduce the stigma, encourage communication and empower our associates to take their mental health as seriously as their physical health.

Our Incredible Team

We appreciate the entire Adept Group team’s commitment to excellence and willingness to continue to find new ways to positively impact our communities, clients, environment, and one another.

It was an honor to be recognized amongst the most culture-forward companies in the area. To our team, thank you and congratulations on helping to build one of the Top Workplaces in the Lehigh Valley!

HR managers or recruiters hiring millennial female job candidate at interview, woman applicant listening to potential employers during employment process. Recruitment concept. Back close up view

The Benefits of Working with a Recruiter

US companies spend over $150 billion annually on recruiting and staffing agencies – even when they have their own internal talent acquisition teams. So why do companies work with an outside agency, rather than leverage their internal recruiting team? This is why:

Access to Premier Talent

The biggest reason companies decide to work with recruiting firms is to get access to top talent and hire people they can’t find on their own. This might sound redundant when considering that some companies have internal recruiting teams, but remember, an internal team might be filling multiple positions within the organization and often doesn’t have time to build a network of candidates for every role. A recruiter is constantly looking for top talent and assessing their availability. For specialized recruiters, knowing the key skills and attributes that make someone an attractive candidate in a particular field or discipline is their livelihood.

A Reality Check

Depending on the amount of turnover within an organization, a company may not have a real-world understanding of the availability of talent, current pay scales or what top candidates desire in their next opportunity. Depending on the state of the economy, the market for talent might be very competitive. By utilizing a recruiter, an organization can better position itself to find and attract the right people.

Save Time and Money

There are a lot of great tools available to help companies find talent, but many of those tools require time-consuming efforts that slow the process down and drive costs up. Adding together the costs of purchasing recruiting resources with the expense of man-hours utilized to learn, manage and evaluate the results – not to mention time lost for other projects – many hiring managers are surprised by the total expense of an already-difficult process.

The average cost of a poor hiring decision, which is often due lack of time or understanding, is $48,000 in the packaging engineering world. With the failure rate of new hires averaging between 40%-60% within the first 18 months, the importance of finding the right fit the first time saves a company both money and reputational damage. Working with an experienced recruiter streamlines those tasks and ultimately saves time and money.

It’s Faster

Let’s face it, most Human Resource departments can be called on to fill multiple positions at any given time. A beverage company, for example, may be on the hunt for production planners, laborers, merchandisers, management systems facilitators, packaging engineers and a variety of other essential personnel all at once. It takes years to learn what makes a good hire for every department and role, but an in-house recruiter may only need to use that specific knowledge once or twice in a decade. For highly specialized roles, a specialized recruiter can educate you on the must-have skills for the position, identify top candidates and trim days or even weeks off the process.

Recruiters Know Where Candidates are Hiding

Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn and other job search platforms have made finding candidates much easier. However, these tend to be “active” candidates who are already looking for a job and committed to making a career change. This can be a great pool of candidates, but it may not be enough to find the best fit for a particular opening. Many times, the ideal candidate is only passively looking and doesn’t want to reveal their desire to leave their current role by advertising their intentions, but they will tell a recruiter they trust about their goals and aspirations. This is crucial for high-level jobs, where there is a much smaller pool of available jobs and qualified candidates.

Alternate Options

Not every opening requires a fulltime hire. Staffing firms can identify qualified contractors that add a flexible resource to a short-term or part-time project. Temporary or project-based hires can help when budgets are tight, headcount is too high or the workload only increases for a limited time.

Recruiters are Confidants

Negotiating is often the hardest part of the recruiting process, particularly for candidates; they want a fair salary and they don’t want to price themselves out of the running. By working through a recruiter, candidates can be honest and feel they are getting a fair compensation package. In addition, recruiters can often vet details about a candidate’s background that they might otherwise be hesitant to tell potential employers, such as health concerns, relocation challenges or career aspirations. By becoming a sounding board for both clients’ and candidates’ concerns, recruiters can act as an impartial resource throughout the hiring process.

Adept Talent Can Help

To minimize the costs of a prolonged and inefficient candidate search, consider contracting an outside recruiter that knows the packaging industry. Our specialized recruiting team at Adept Talent has a background in engineering, so they’re familiar with the array of projects, skillsets and unique challenges encountered within the industry. They have a vetted pipeline of candidates with a diversity of expertise, which allows them to provide a concise pool of qualified candidates quickly, significantly increasing the likelihood of a successful placement. Whether you’re in need of specific expertise or a complete packaging department, our team can provide the right resources, right when you need them.

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Benefits of Digitizing the Food and Beverage Supply Chain

With the increase in supply chain complexity, the Food, Beverage and CPG industries are starting to recognize that digitization is the next step for packaging. The benefits of implementing a track and trace solution, which range from improved food and consumer safety, to increased consumer engagement have tremendous implications for digitally aware brands.

So what is Track and Trace or Traceability?

Traceability is the capability of keeping track of a given set of information throughout its lifespan, enabling verification of its history, location, or application. ​ As goods move from the point of manufacture through the supply chain, tracking or monitoring them allows for transparency. Tracing them enables the company to validate where they came from, where they’ve been and allows for a detailed historical path.

Why is this important now?

As the complexity of modern supply chains continues to grow, the number of touchpoints increase dramatically. As the occurrence of handoffs increase, it causes blind spots, as well as increased opportunity for damage. These factors are responsible for challenges such as product recalls, inability to maintain safety and/or quality of products and counterfeiting and diversions. With all of these potential challenges comes a cost; often both financial and reputational.

How does traceability prevent these issues?

With emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), simpler and less costly solutions are available for companies looking to implement traceability.

For example, upgraded technology enables companies to monitor their goods with a level of detail that was previously unprecedented. This allows companies to quickly identify inefficiencies in the supply chain, pinpoint the cause of damage, as well as use data to predict future scenarios and tackle the challenge of optimizing the supply chain.

In addition to enhanced monitoring capabilities, companies have the ability to control inventory like never before.

Product Recalls

Within a traditional supply chain, product recalls can have a significant impact on a brand. In addition to the $10 -30 million financial costs, the damage it causes to a brand’s reputation is often even greater.

Implementing a track and trace solution allows for a multi-tiered approach to prevent recalls from occurring in the first place.

Consider the three following aspects:

  • A Track and Trace system enables identification of the origin, quality, and authenticity of ingredients and supplies involved in the product. In addition, the ability to track the location, status, and flow of products in the supply chain from raw material to end user allows for companies to identify harmful or incorrect items and initiate a targeted recall or prevent one altogether.
  • An integrated supply chain allows companies to access real-time actionable insights from a network of partners which allows for quick investigations to identify the source of contamination.
  • IoT Devices allow for continuous monitoring of critical-to-quality parameters, such as temperature, humidity, light exposure, etc. to ensure the safety of the products.

Brand Protection

In addition to avoiding recalls and ensuring customer safety, avoiding counterfeiting in a market where $1.7 trillion of goods are counterfeit is becoming increasingly important. Counterfeiting is made possible through weak channel management and the ability to replicate products due to a lack of product authentication components.

Anti-counterfeiting technology, paired with a Track and Trace solution will not only allow for companies to trace the history and origin of their products, but identify weak links in the supply chain.

Other Implications for Track and Trace

Product Recalls and Brand Safety are just the tip of the iceberg for the possibilities uncovered by implementing a Track and Trace solution. The ability to capture real-time data has numerous benefits including increased safety, increased customer interaction, the ability to leverage data to make brand decisions, and increased recyclability, to name a few.

Want to Know More?

Understanding how to develop a solution for your unique needs is where we come in. Adept Group has cross-functional teams comprised of specialists for the Food, Beverage, and CPG industries that collaborate with our dedicated digital experts to deliver solutions unique to your challenges.

We have an extensive global network of suppliers which enable us to provide true end-to-end traceability, connecting all the players and creating unprecedented visibility along your supply chain.

In addition, our digital experts have delivered solutions in even the most highly regulated industries and remain ahead of the curve on all regulatory requirements.

If you’d like to learn more, check out recent Supply Chain Digitization Learning Share.

If you’re interested in talking to our experts, contact us! We’d love to hear from you.

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Improving Packaging Line Efficiency Through OEE

Packaging line efficiency is one of those factors that aren’t often front-of-mind until there’s a problem. When productivity decreases or the error rate increases, companies start to evaluate their Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), which is often responsible for these declines.

OEE declines can be circumvented with proper operations management and business process redesign and optimization. Without those proactive measures, any changes made to the packaging line can have a negative impact on OEE.

The Impact of Serialization

Through the introduction of serialization equipment, additional process steps and controls have been made part of the normal operations on the packaging line. With this comes added complexity and an intrinsic process variance that generates additional time loss. This is due to new setup requirements, additional rejects, and additional line macro and micro stoppages.

Companies that have implemented serialization have noted that efficiency losses of up to 20% are connected to the additional complexity of new operations, processes and automation/IT systems.

Tech-Enabled Tracking

Fortunately, the technology that enables tracking and evaluating equipment efficiency is now commonly available. Supply chain visibility, predictive maintenance, Big Data, and OEE live tracking are now becoming increasingly pertinent in the Pharmaceutical industry, but experienced OEE experts agree that collecting the data is only half the battle.

Identifying the Real Challenge

The biggest challenge to identifying problems with OEE and rectifying them is being able to extract value from that data, which requires more than a tracking system can provide.

In an article entitled, Improving Pharma Packaging Line Efficiency Through Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), digital expert Valerio De Simone examines key performance indicators and OEE tracking systems, as well as the importance of obtaining the full picture when it comes to packaging line efficiency. Valerio offers insights on how to better use overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) tracking systems and how to avoid common mistakes.

Read the Full Article

Click here to read the full article. If you have questions about increasing the efficiency of your packaging lines, contact us!

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Understanding the European Medical Device Regulations (EU MDR 2017/745)

With the May deadline approaching, the EU MDR regulations, covered in a robust 175-page document, apply to a more diverse group of companies than ever before. In order to help companies understand this regulation at a high level, our regulatory experts put together an overview of the who, what, when, why and how of the regulation.

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If you need help understanding how this regulation applies to you, evaluating your projects and packaging for compliance, or need the advice of a regulatory expert, contact us today!