Giving sight to packaging lines
Our sister site, Healthcare Packaging, shares this story of how machine modifications and facility-wide organization
help the Lighthouse for the Blind's visually impaired employees fulfill orders for government and corporate customers:
Maximizing efficiency is challenging for virtually any manufacturing facility, but when 95% of your direct labor employees are legally blind,
those challenges are magnified. This is the case at Lighthouse for the Blind-St. Louis (LHB Industries), a contract packager and manufacturer
of products provided to commercial customers and the U.S. government.
The organization operates under the AbilityOne Program, governed under the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act. The program dates back to 1938 when President
Roosevelt signed the Wagner-O'Day Act into law. It was later expanded to the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (JWOD) through the efforts of Senator Javits in 1971.
Under the AbilityOne Program, "the government will agree to sponsor or purchase a product from a non-profit agency that employs people who are blind
and legally blind as long as they can produce such product that performs equal to or better than a commercial equivalent in fit, form, and function,
and at approximately the same price," explains Brian Houser, director of sales and marketing for the St. Louis-based Lighthouse for the Blind (LHB).
"We currently manufacture various aerosol cleaners and medical supplies that have been sponsored and are on the Federal government's Procurement List,
a list that indicates all products that the Federal government has agreed to purchase from non-profit agencies in the Program." Houser notes,
"When any Federal government purchaser needs, for example, bandages or an aerosol glass cleaner, they would automatically purchase our agency's products,
since they were sponsored and LHB is the approved sole source for those items. Understand, we receive no Federal or State funding and are not a United Way
agency. The government supports our mission of blind employment and the AbilityOne Program by purchasing our quality products, which are proudly
manufactured by people who are blind and legally blind."
Read the fulll story here.
Co-packer helps diabetic entrepreneur find frozen food fortunes
Cole Egger, a businessman in Dallas, Texas, saw lots of weight-loss products at the grocery store but couldn't find pre-packaged foods
specifically for those with diabetes. So he started Meals to Live, a company, and a line of eight
frozen 9-oz entrees. To start the company, Egger turned to — who else? — a co-packer. While undisclosed, the contract service fills
product into paper-based trays, applies a top layer of film and packs the trays into the outer cartons. From its inception in September 2010, the
company sells products in more than 2,000 retail locations in 22 states. Chains include Ralphs, Publix, Tom Thumb, Meijer and Walgreens.
The meals are also sold on Amazon.com. Read more about Eggers' business and lots of packaging
Fill a niche with trial-size (contract) packages
"Getting the consumer to try a product is a daunting challenge for any CPG company," writes consultant Sterling Anthony in his latest
Web exclusive column, In this story he explains how trial-size packages can pay "full-size benefits," and how contract packagers can help,
for instance, a CPG company that "might not have the equipment to run trial-size packaging and would have to enlist the services of a contract
"In that event," he continues, "there are critical contract packager/client company issues to be addressed. Will product formulation be performed at
the contract packager? If not, how will the product be provided in bulk to the contract packager? What secondary-packaging operations are required?
After contract packaging operations are completed, how will inventory be placed in the commercial stream and under what type of monitoring and control?"
Click to read Anthony's full piece, "Give it a try." Additionally,
click here to keep-up with Anthony's Packaging Insights Newsletter.