Accurate weight and measurement data is an anchor of logistical planning because it affects everything, including shipping, scheduling, resourcing, and cost.

Because of these interdependencies, even the slightest inaccuracies can result in delays and increased expenses, which are typically incurred by the end customer.

Consistent precision is hard to achieve, and the challenge is growing harder by the day as increasing demand drives manufacturing volumes higher. Whether we’re talking about pharmaceuticals, food, or furniture, the level of difficulty today in being both accurate and fast has ramped up considerably because there is so much more activity occurring along the lines. A good dilemma, but only if companies work to cut down on these costly mistakes and increase precision.

Precision Analysis and Process Refinement

Precision Analysis and Process Refinement are two processes that can help with current weight and measure challenges as well as provide a foundation for future standards and procedures. Even the slightest variations due to material variability, equipment wear, or human error can take a big toll on cost, production, trust, and brand reputation. By focusing more intensely on how best to optimize both precision and process, companies can begin to turn these challenges into opportunities for improvement.

While it may seem obvious, the first step is identifying and understanding how the mistakes are happening. Common root causes include mechanical failure, human error, and variations in materials and supplies. Improperly calibrated scales, for example, are a frequent culprit and can lead to myriad problems such as materials overuse, or rejection of products deemed off-weight. To combat these issues, companies need to have rigorous monitoring systems and protocols in place aimed at being more precise, cutting down on waste, and driving sustainable profitability. In other words, intentional, strategic approaches to Precision Analysis.

Precision Analysis Toolbox

Advanced precision analysis techniques can play an important complementary role in helping packaging operations identify and address the causes of their discrepancies. Some tools and strategies companies can implement to increase accuracy include: 

  • High-resolution scales. The technology within scales has come a long, long way, so much so that they now offer immediate feedback and data if inaccuracies occur. Leveraging key analytics to closely examine weight data and spot trends and anomalies is important.
  • Real-time monitoring. Getting into the practice of real-time monitoring brings many benefits, namely a constant flow of data that can inform and allow for quick pivots when weight deviations occur. This minimizes error impact and ensures consistent quality.
  • IoT and other technologies. companies can strengthen their data/accuracy by integrating IoT devices throughout the packaging line, which provides a fuller view of operations and facilitates decision making.
  • Statistical Process Control (SPC) tools. These can be used to continuously monitor and adjust the packaging process. These tools use statistical methods to detect and control variability, ensuring consistent product quality. One of the more popular SPC tools in the control chart, which was originally developed in the early 1920s. Control charts record data in a way that makes it easier to spot unusual events by isolating both common-cause variation and special-cause variation.
In our next blog "Tactical Approach to Process Refinement in Packaging" we talk about how precision and process are intricately linked – companies cannot claim to be precise if their processes aren’t completely buttoned up.