Servicing thousands of accounts over the last 25 years, LinPepCo is no stranger to the soft drink and vending product distribution process. With its six facilities throughout Nebraska and Kansas, the company distributes exclusively for Pepsi-Cola as well as a variety of other beverages and snacks including teas, energy drinks, coffee and vending products. In fact, LinPepCo is one of the largest Pepsi-Cola franchisees in the Mid-West. From restaurants and bars to retail and grocery stores, LinPepCo customers depend on the company to deliver products on time and in pristine condition. Each LinPepCo facility delivers products to clients roughly twice a week- making for a very busy warehouse. The high demand creates a need for the company to operate as efficiently as possible. With product continuously coming in and out of the warehouse, monitoring costs, minimizing damage and producing timely deliveries is a top priority.
To ensure safe delivery, each customer load is hand wrapped with stretch film. Stretch film helps keep the product secure on the back of semi-trailers, en-route to the customer. However, hand wrapping can be a tricky and sometimes costly process. In fact, load failure costs due to improperly wrapped loads can run up to 3% of the annual value of the products shipped. In addition, waste due to “nicked or Barber Polling” rolls can add 10% to 30% to hand film costs. Factor in the manual process and companies like LinPepCo risk employee injuries from the heavy lifting of stretch film rolls.Traditional film also requires employees to hand stretch the film by 150% while applying it to the load. Companies can spend considerable money hiring, training and retaining employees that can effectively and consistently wrap loads. Combined with general manual error and the transient nature of the business, even more costs are applied. Higher film gauges are heavier and harder to manage while lighter films may break and tear prematurely. In the end, LinPepCo was not immune to these common trials.
A chance meeting
It was a chance cold-call with a Muller lcs sales team member that turned LinPepCo on to its latest time and money-saving stretch wrap packaging solution. Muller manufactures pallet wrapping film and equipment geared toward the hand-wrap pallet market. The company has been developing hand-wrap for over 17 of years and creates patented films through an Inline Orientation Process (IOP) that produces the lightest, strongest hand-wrapping film available on the market. Muller prides itself on creating Orientedhand wraps that eliminate wasted rolls of film, minimize load failures and reduce employee injuries.
“One day Neil Weisensel (National Accounts Manager, Muller) walked in to our Lincoln facility and we talked about our challenges,” says Justin Baum, Warehouse Manager,LinPepCo, Lincoln, NE. “He said he could not only solve them but would also offer a more cost-effective, easier to use and stronger film- we thought we would give it a try.”
Nearly a year and a half later and now in four of its facilities, LinPepCo exclusively uses Muller’s Oriented Film. Offering a wide-range of benefits, the film meets and exceeds the promises given by Weisensel.
Wrapped up in success
Muller’s Oriented Film is at least 30% stronger than other pre-stretch films of equal weight and its unique manufacturing process makes it morepuncture resistant. However, if punctured, it will not propagate or zipper. Muller also guarantees the use of the entire role without breaking or snagging. This promise is made possible with multiple unique film features. While its strength alone is a big factor, Muller’s Oriented Film also has hemmed edges. The films edges are literally doubled (or hemmed). This ensures the film won’t break or tear if the roll is dropped or falls- a common incident in most facilities. When standard stretch film is dropped it most often renders it useless because it will continue to tear as the roll is unwrapped. Much like tape, when traditional film edges are nicked or tear the roll continues to break and weaken until it reaches a point where the nick hasn’t penetrated.
Employees also appreciate several advantages with Muller’s Oriented Film. For one, the total film roll is roughly 50% lighter than conventional 70-guage film- reducing the chance of employee back injuries. Furthermore, Muller’s Tug ‘n’ Snug™ feature allows workers to simply tug the wrap around the corners of the load instead of having to pull and stretch the film 150% while wrapping- making it very easy use and minimizing the need for employee training. Post Wrap Contraction™ ensures Muller’s Oriented Film will continue to “contract” around the load even after the load is wrapped.
“The employees jumped right in with this new film. There was no training needed. The product is very intuitive and efficient,” says Baum
LinPepCo’s leap of faith paid off. Not only was Muller’s film less costly than the film LinPepCo had been using, but the company was simply wrapping smarter. In addition making the process safer, faster, and easier, they were also minimizing film breakage and waste. LinPepCo estimates that they now save about 3 rolls per 144 rolls compared to the film it was using before. Wrapping 220 loads per day in the Lincoln facility alone the savings equate to roughly 308 rolls per year across all four facilities. In other words, LinPepCo saves about $2,500-3,000 per year in material savings alone.
“It became clear very quickly that we had made the right decision,” says Baum. “We’re simply operating more sustainably- decreasing waste, costs and potential employee injury.”
“We often see a huge increase in productivity and decrease in expense when we work with companies like LinPepCo,” says Michael Klear, Market Development Manager of Muller. “We know our product is helping to create a more efficient system and we are always excited to hear about the ways in which Muller has helped our customers be more profitable.”
The service link
Perhaps the most successful part of the shift to Muller is the level of service LinPepCo has received from its new packaging partner. “Everyone at Muller has gone above and beyond to help us with the transition,” says Baum. Internally it is just a better operation than we have had with other suppliers. When we have a question, it’s answered immediately.”
With the seamless transition and significant savings in time, money and employee safety, LinPepCo’s chance encounter turned in positive results. “We believe we have found a partner in Muller. They understand our needs and support our efforts to run a more efficient, profitable business,” says Baum.
As for Muller, they are grateful to have been given the chance to prove their promises are true. “LinPepCo has a great reputation and we are thrilled we could help them,” says Klear. “We truly believe in our products and continue to strive to help customers run more productive packaging lines.”