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Illustration of a packaging line

What have you learned over the past year, and what will you do differently in the future?

Reed Lane bottle lines are fully integrated

Reed Lane bottle lines are fully integrated with in-line cartoning, and several including serialization and aggregation capabilities.

Photo courtesy of Reed Lane

Joe Luke, VP of Sales  Marketing at Reed Lane

Joe Luke

VP of Sales & Marketing
Reed Lane

Photo courtesy of Reed Lane

The pandemic took the entire country and world by surprise, and no one was truly prepared for what initially happened. In hindsight, some of the PPE gowning and cleaning supplies should have been on hand, and we will hopefully not be caught off guard in this area in the future. In regard to the future and purchasing new equipment, all of the COVID lessons learned need to be applied for the operation of the equipment; all new suites will be designed differently with distancing in mind and more automation wherever possible.

Kelly Hawkinson, Focus Factory Manager at Brenton

Kelly Hawkinson

Focus Factory Manager

Photo courtesy of Brenton

This past year has reinforced the idea that you need to be adaptable, flexible and forward-looking as far as what the next change needs to be. I think 2020 has taught us at Brenton not to get too hung up in the chaos of it all, and deal with what we can control. For the first few months of the pandemic, new orders really slowed as no one was spending money; everyone seemed to be in a “wait and see” mode. But once summer arrived and companies began adjusting, new orders began to flow again. That forced us to quickly ramp up production, yet do so adhering to social distancing guidelines. Some of the new manufacturing processes we initiated in response to the pandemic have worked out well; I think many of these will become a permanent fixture at Brenton.

Overall, the strategies that Brenton and parent company ProMach have devised stress the need to be flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of our customers. The pandemic really affected the packaging industry, and we had to quickly pivot and change the way we do business, and that meant provide diverse packaging solutions quickly for customer success.

VideojetConnect remote service, a cloud-based packaging line visibility and productivity suite

VideojetConnect remote service, a cloud-based packaging line visibility and productivity suite, allows the customer access to printer intricacies, and Videojet techs access without needing to be on-site.

Photo courtesy of Videojet

Bob Neagle, Commercial Director, Digital Products and Services, Videojet

Bob Neagle

Commercial Director,
Digital Products and Services

Photo courtesy of Videojet

As COVID is surging in different states, and plants are making labor and safety adjustments, we have helped manufacturers rethink how they are managing production. We have guided them in bringing some lines back up to speed, reconfiguring equipment, and adding spares and new printers to lines to space things out on the floor for employee social distancing. We leverage VideojetConnect ™ Remote Service (VRS), which is a cloud-based portal that provides visibility into a production site, reducing the need for an on-site presence. VRS allows both the manufacturer’s personnel and Videojet experts to check on the printers via the remote connectivity. A companion piece to VRS is  VideojetConnect Insight software as a service, which uses data in the printer as a proxy for the packaging operation. Production supervisors can remotely view what is being produced on each line, if they’re on target and track OEE over time. This enables manufacturers to make decisions in real-time and see trends that can highlight potential areas for improvement.

Craig Souser, President  CEO, JLS Automation

Craig Souser

President & CEO
JLS Automation

Photo courtesy of JLS Automation

Get our task force in action sooner — they were very effective, but we could have had them in place a couple weeks sooner and that would have taken some pressure off top management during a stressful time. Having some emergency preparations in place will be helpful going forward.

Chris Baum, Director of Sales Specialists, Veritiv

Chris Baum

Director of Sales Specialists

Photo courtesy of Veritiv

Veritiv has been pleased with how our employees quickly adapted to the new way of working, seamlessly transitioning to a work-from-home model, when possible, and adopting the latest in safety protocols for those employees still in our warehouses and on the road. To improve internal communications during the pandemic, Veritiv’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Dean Adelman, started an internal newsletter, “Working in a Virtual World,” where he provides tips and tricks on how to adapt to this new way of working. Our organization has responded with rave reviews. As a distribution company, during the pandemic our team evaluated alternate supply chains for the resources that were in high demand. Our team found new supply chains, both domestic and international, that we plan to continue to leverage moving forward. We also realize there are ways to improve and are investing in additional ways we can communicate remotely.

Spotlight illustration by sorbetto / DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

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