Help Wanted Sign

During the past few years, finding people to fill positions in many industries has been challenging. The packaging industry is certainly one of them. But there may be a light at the end of the labor shortage tunnel.

That light is robotics. Not that robotics is new to the packaging industry, but its importance and relevance has grown by leaps and bounds when it comes to getting packaging work done quickly and effectively.

Our friends at The Association of Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI) just released their most recent report: 2023 Purchasing Plans and Priorities. Their research uncovered that labor shortages and the difficulty of recruiting skilled personnel are among the top concerns of packaging and processing companies. It also maintains that fewer workers are interested in full-time, in-person manufacturing jobs, and many companies are shifting back to expanding domestic manufacturing and sourcing in the U.S.

The PMMI report confirms the fact that managers are desperate to reduce their labor dependency in a market where their fingers are constantly crossed that the entire crew will show up for a shift. Robotics gets the job done correctly, on time, and reduces the stress of having more call-ins (or no-shows) than supervisors know what to do with.

There are many reasons why robots are influencing the packaging industry. Here are our top five favorites:

  • We Need More Workers. No surprise here. Labor shortages have become the norm for many trades, and learning new ways to get the job done can be frustrating. Thankfully, robots are set up to perform tasks that humans previously did. By automating specific procedures, businesses can meet deadlines without relying on as many human workers. As an added bonus - robots can’t get sick, don’t need breaks, and can work around the clock.
  • Robotics Bring New Jobs. The first thing that comes to mind for many when they hear that robots are on the floor is that humans are out of work. But with robotics comes new jobs for people, like implementing, programming, and maintaining robotic systems, which require specialized human skills. A brand-new workforce is developing in robotics technology for engineers and programmers.
  • Efficiency, Productivity, Flexibility, and Adaptability. It’s the best of all worlds regarding robotics in packaging. These machines will bust out repetitive, labor-intensive tasks quickly and precisely while increasing productivity. Have a change to your production needs? No worries. Robots are flexible and adaptable. They can handle a modification in product or packaging formats, offering tremendous versatility for manufacturers.
  • Tooting Your Own Horn. When your company’s robotics offer a faster turnaround time, fewer packaging errors and defects, spot-on consistency, better product quality, and fabulous customer satisfaction, you have some unbelievable PR material and a significant competitive edge over your rivals who do not use automation.
  • Money in the Bank. We know that robotics is an investment. But, given time, you will see a return on that investment as they will add significantly to your bottom line. Automation runs with minimum supervision, which reduces labor costs and can have humans working on other tasks that robots cannot, like sales and marketing.

As technology presses forward, using robotics will make it easier and more efficient for packaging manufacturers to succeed. But that doesn’t mean humans are out of luck on the job front. Their skills and brain power will transform the industry by creating new technology to continue the rapidly growing field of robotics and automation.

We’d love to talk about your robotics and automation needs. Give us a call at 866.243.2402 or send us a message. Let’s find the answers to your packaging challenges!

If you missed it, check out our recent blog that covers the top five technology trends in the robotics world. (Spoiler alert: Labor shortages are one of them).