How to improve your packing shed operations
Minimising costs while maximising efficiency and quality is a key focus for horticulture packing sheds in the agriculture industry. By implementing effective processes and ensuring you use the most suitable consumables, you can directly minimise waste, save time and save money.
It is important to get this right at the start of the packing season to reduce the impact of common packing shed challenges. These challenges include casual staff turnover, lack of in-depth training and stringent quality and safety legislation. The guide below details how you can achieve this to maintain the quality of produce and get the goods despatched as soon as possible.
1. Sort out your site safety
Having a packing shed that is safe, comfortable, hygienic and clearly signed can directly and indirectly save money. Ensure that the shed has warning and instructional signage displayed to clearly communicate dangers, health and safety messages, housekeeping practices and the location of emergency exits and first aid kits.
Occupational health should be part of these safety measures with the use of anti-fatigue floor mats as they can reduce strain, fatigue and are non-slip. These measures can also include providing personal protective equipment where required, such as ear plugs and respiratory equipment.
2. Practice hygienic handling
Food-safe hygiene practices centre around making sure your hands are clean at all times and ensuring you are using the correct gloves. Having an antibacterial hand cleaner or sanitiser available can avoid many health or contamination problems.
Vinyl food preparation gloves are recommended for most packing sheds as latex has been known to negatively affect certain foods. Vinyl gloves are also preferred as they are more sensitive on the wearer’s skin when compared to latex.
3. Pick the right packaging
Using a bag or carton liner that is the wrong material or incorrect dimensions can be costly to your business. Polyethylene is a common material for poly bags and liners as it is safe to use with food items. Both products can be found in a wide range of different sizes with a selection of thicknesses available. By using the correct bag or liner for your application, you can save both money and time.
Another way to do this is to make sure your cartons are suitable for the produce you’re packing. This could be through switching to trays, cartons or boxes with handles, or having your cartons custom printed with your company’s logo.
4. Select labels that match your needs
Labels are an integral part of the packing process as this is where the important information such as the carton’s contents, shipping requirements and relevant dates are displayed. Both freight labels and date/batch labels are ideal for displaying this information.
Freight labels work in conjunction with freight computer printing systems which ensure your goods meet your freight company’s barcoding and shipping requirements.
Date and batch labels are recommended as they clearly communicate best before or use-by dates, display a batch number or can record the carton’s packing date.
5. Secure cartons with wrap/strapping
This final step ensures that your carefully picked and packed goods will stay safe and secure during transit. There are a few products specially designed to hold cartons or the pallet together while also being conducive to air flow. This can be vital for fruit and vegetable packing sheds to ensure the produce has appropriate air circulation and maintain their quality – especially where the goods have been chemically treated.
The ideal wrap is air flow pallet wrap which has reinforced ventilation holes to provide quick cooling or drying of the wrapped items. The film is designed with dependable tensile strength which helps to keep the goods secure during transit and minimises spillage.
The strapping option available is polypropylene strapping tape which can be used to bundle or palletise cartons and can be used instead of pallet wrap. This product has high impact strength so it won’t split or break during transit.
These are only a selection of the important products and processes which will help to optimise your packing shed. For more advice on how to reduce waste, save money and become more efficient, contact us on 13 7446 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.