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Shrink film choice crucial to efficiencies

By buying into a buying group, private label food and beverage producer solves packaging problem and saves money.

The film moves more smoothly through the wrapping machine.
The film moves more smoothly through the wrapping machine.

Berner Food & Beverage, Inc., Dakota, IL, and Roscoe, IL (sales office), produces a variety of private label food and beverage products, including shelf-stable dips and sauces, bottled lattes, and energy drinks. According to Berner, the company makes approximately 70 percent of all private label cheese sauces/spreads in North America, 85 percent of private label salsa con queso, and 90 percent of all private label aerosol canned cheese products. Berner attributes much of its continued growth to successful partnering strategies and the ability to identify and manage suppliers that can align with Berner’s corporate and operational objectives to maintain a competitive advantage.

At the end of the production line, in the casing area, Berner was encountering some problems. Shrink wrap film designed to cover and secure open-face corrugated cases of products often was getting stuck in the company’s relatively new KHS Innopack shrink wrapping machinery, causing production bottlenecks and expensive downtime. Berner tried converting to a heavier gauge of wrapping film (which cost about 30 percent more), but the jams continued to occur.

Berner began an urgent search to find a film that could accommodate its performance needs. At the same time this search was underway, Berner joined the manufacturer’s buying group Prime Advantage. Prime Advantage introduces its members to best-in-class suppliers by conducting semi-annual conferences to help clients network with multiple suppliers and also arranges one-on-one user/supplier meetings. Prime Advantage works with members to optimize supply chain partners, providing material cost savings, volume rebates, and discounts.

It was at one of those one-on-one meetings that Berner was able to match up with packaging systems and film distributor Gulf-Great Lakes Packaging Corp. and get on the fast track to an economical solution to its wrapping machine jamming problem.

Kimberly Newton, who was then vice president of supply chain and engineering for Berner Food & Beverage, said, “While meeting with the Gulf-Great Lakes representative, he was able to knowledgeably speak to the machine challenges and film alternatives.”

As it turned out, Berner did not need a heavier-gauge, more expensive film, nor did they need a different wrapping machine. Instead, according to the Gulf-Great Lakes representative, Berner needed a higher grade of film that would move through the machine more smoothly.

Newton says, “Our Prime Advantage membership allowed us to quickly find an endorsed supplier who we could feel confident in working with, due to the streamlined process for vetting suppliers.”

Berner selected a 1.5-mil LLDPE/HDPE blended film, supplied in 18”-wide rollstock by AEP Industries, Inc.. After implementing this new film, Berner’s shrink-wrapping operations proceeded much more smoothly, averting jamming problems and costly downtime.

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