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Article | August 31, 2004
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GlaxoSmithKline teamed up recently with corrugated vendor Smurfit-Stone and coding machinery maker Markem to generate significant cost savings and simplified inventory at GSK’s Maidenhead, England, facility.
The savings were achieved by switching out of preprinted corrugated cases and moving instead to online ink-jet printing.
John C. Lackington is project procurement manager at the Maidenhead plant which is largely devoted to manufacturing and packaging oral healthcare products. Lackington was initially reluctant to embrace ink-jet coding because a past experience had led to blotting poor definition and unreadable bar codes. He was also concerned that the technology would cause a mess in the factory a major concern to a manufacturer of oral healthcare products.
His concerns were put to rest however when he was introduced to Markem’s patented Touch Dry hot melt wax ink system. It offers the print definition he sought and because a hard block of wax ink takes the place of liquid ink in a vessel it’s clean and leak- and splash-free.
In addition to generating direct cost savings on packaging the switch to hot melt wax ink-jet coding means that fewer people are involved in the packaging process. Logistics and inventory are also greatly improved. After all managing as many as 200 types and designs of cases that used to occupy some 400 pallet spaces in the warehouse is no easy task.
Moreover the plant can now operate more flexibly. Production schedules can be changed in minutes because the new dates codes and product identification information can be programmed in quickly at a touchscreen.
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