With more than 3,500 boxes containing about 28,000 products shipped each day from Boston Scientific International’s distribution center in Kerkrade, Netherlands, the company’s annual corrugated packaging demand is enormous. As such, the leading medical device company recently examined their distribution process to improve efficiencies.
Boston Scientific’s extensive custom-sized medical device offering forced the company to stock more than 50 different box sizes and required that they be stocked five months in advance of production. “Our box inventory took up significant warehouse space,” said Frank Moonen, director of operations at Boston Scientific, Kerkrade. “And despite this broad inventory, we never had the right-sized box, forcing us to ship a lot of air and additional packaging fillers.”
Moonen also associates other problems with shipping in boxes that are too large. “We faced shipping damages and high freight charges as well,” he said.
In seeking a better process, the company’s greatest concern was packaging quality. “We need high quality boxes to ship our most sensitive products,” said Moonen. “The boxes we used were made of very solid cardboard, required no taping and were characterized by their high stability.”
Moonen took note of the Packsize On Demand PackagingTM, a system that involves an automated packaging machine and corrugated cardboard to create onsite the smallest possible box for any given product. “We tested a great number of corrugated qualities as well as box designs,” said Moonen. “The overall idea behind each of our decisions over the course of the project was to deliver undamaged products to our customers.”
Boston Scientific integrated three Packsize converting machines with its Warehouse Management System in Kerkrade. “Now, with each order, the system calculates the perfect box dimension and sends this data to one of the Packsize machines, which then cuts the required box. Another crucial deciding factor for us was that the packaging system we selected met our takt time equirements - Packsize excelled here as well.”
“Packsize helped us accomplish our strategic goals by reducing our shipping damages and saving us freight, cardboard, and storage costs,” said Moonen. “Certainly the Packsize implementation was an important element in our overall operations strategy, and continues to support our advancements toward a leaner one‐piece workflow, not only in Kerkrade, but in other distribution centers around the globe as well.”