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Optimising Tube Packaging

Bespoke stillage solves client’s storage issues – all part of a long-term partnership


For over 20 years we have worked with the industry leader in the industrial thermal transfer printing industry, supplying them with cardboard tubes used for all their labels and thermal transfer ribbons. From parent tubes that are cut down to a wide range of cores requiring varying volumes, qualities and dimensions, the customer demands the very highest levels of quality at all times – dimensional accuracy has to be spot on and a very high cut-edge finish is required.

One of the products supplied – a high-quality 2m length parent tube – became the focus when our customer’s warehouse space was filled so they had to find better ways to manage their available capacity without increasing costs.

We worked in close partnership with the customer’s dedicated lean manufacturing team to explore how additional capacity could be generated. The team examined everything from racking systems, wagon movements, transport costs, warehouse utilisation and more to see how more space could be generated without any significant increase in costs.

In order to ensure a zero defects supply – without damage in transit or storage – the 2m tubes had been supplied carefully packed on industry standard-size steel stillages.

The eventual answer lay in the design and production, by Stell, of bespoke stillages. The holistic examination of all aspects of the supply chain identified that a narrower stillage was the optimum solution. Whilst this meant that more stillages would be needed (and that they would have a smaller footprint on the wagon, with some impact on transport costs) the bespoke stillage and packaging approach  – customised for the warehouse racking system  -was recognised to be the best for the customer.

“We validated the bespoke stillage as the best solution for the customer taking into account all the variables,” commented Lee Skelton, MD of Stell. “We sorted out their manufacture and supply and have adjusted our packing, loading and delivery procedures as well. We have had to work out how to take on and absorb this added complexity – but it’s all part of the outstanding levels of customer service we pride ourselves on; and it reflects the range of capabilities Stell can bring to a job.”

“We build strong customer relationships, regardless of their size, and are always seeking to add value in whatever ways we can. Yes we supply high-quality, on-spec cardboard tubes and cores – but we believe it’s everything else that we do in terms of the full supply chain service that helps to set us apart from our competitors,” concludes Lee.

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