How a national contract packaging company utilized StellarPack to manage production in a scarce labor environment.

Copacker production management, planning and scheduling

United Facilities (UF), a national third-party logistics provider with a focus on contract packaging, has been using the StellarPack production performance system in their packaging operations. They have several copack locations around the US and wanted a system to help them standardize processes, increase productivity, and invest in automation.
UF chose StellarPack for its ability to control planning and production processes. Multiple locations are difficult to manage especially if they have unique processes. UF recognized this and enlisted StellarPack’s help. Upon implementation UF planners spent 40% less time on data entry processes due to StellarPack’s ability to perform minor tasks. Freeing planners to focus on exceptions encouraged a proactive approach to copack production that helped UF navigate supply chain and labor shortages. Being able to manage hot orders and quickly adjust schedules on the fly was a significant quality of life improvement…Planners spend 8 hours less each week which frees them up to focus on maintaining a cleaner schedule. During the pandemic, StellarPack allowed UF to move their planning team from in office to remote while maintaining high levels of safety without sacrificing planning execution.
Training quickly improved under the newly installed system. Once all facilities were singing from the same hymnal, UF was able to centralize much of the planning function and reduce training time by 66%. This also brought down turnover rates to record lows. StellarPack makes planning more successful by bringing data to the fingertips and helping planners visualize labor demand and production utilization.

“Standardizing our processes in the StellarPack production management system allowed us to improve the job satisfaction of our people because they were spending more hours on productive tasks as opposed to firefighting.” Matt McClure – National Packaging Manager

On the shop floor, UF utilized StellarPack features to manage their copack production flow. Drag and drop production scheduling allow the production team to be agile and responsive in the face of an uncertain supply chain. Adjusted productivity feature take a unique approach towards goal management. Ability to identify finished goods in StellarPack and deliver components to the line JIT. These features feed the dynamic schedule that adjusts in real time with changing production velocity.
Visual management techniques allow the supervisors to know production status at a glance and respond quickly to issues. Wallboards display real time productivity at each line and engages the whole team. This leads to organic productivity that enhances the bottom line. UF has been able to achieve sustained 6% year on year savings. With production efficiency in the forefront, StellarPack was also able to help UF realize a 20% reduction in changeover time.

“We found great value in quickly seeing our production status. We saw a 54% gain in one of our biggest activities. StellarPack has allowed us to be more reactive in the moment, as it is happening, while it still can be fixed. Finding and fixing a problem after the fact is less effective.” Matt McClure – National Packaging Manager

StellarPack fits well with UF’s culture of Continuous Improvement. StellarPack provides the data necessary for UF to assess productivity benefits of potential automation. Reporting and historical context are the basis of any good copack production improvement project. SP also helps UF track the actual impact of a project to ensure the intended benefits were achieved. Supported copack automation efforts that led to additional 13% savings.

Overall, UF has been able to increase the value of their packaging labor by utilizing the tools in the StellarPack system. Minimizing firefighting and maximizing productivity allows the copacker to get more done within the same space. As dark clouds continue to swirl around the labor market it is more important than ever to ensure your processes and systems are buttoned down.