Smurfit-Stone Improves Efficiency with Bar Code Verification System

This case history about Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. comes courtesy of Accu-Sort. It has been selected and edited by the MHM editorial staff for clarity, content and style.

Background
Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. Lithographics is one of the nation’s largest contract packagers and label suppliers for decorative packaging applications. Its specialty packaging division uses state-of-the-art sheet-fed, offset printing equipment to produce $50 million dollars worth of labels a year primarily for the food and beverage industries. Recently, Smurfi t-Stone invested $3.7 million in automation enhancements to modernize the fi nishing operations at its label printing facilities in St. Charles, IL, and in Greensboro, NC.

Challenges
The system design had to accommodate a production volume of 50 million labels a day and 2,500 different SKUs (stock keeping units). Label accuracy is critical. Mixing errors can damage customer relationships, create high reconciliation costs and ultimately result in a loss of business.

System Solution
Smurfit-Stone implemented the upgrade in three phases. The fi rst phase involved the installation of an Accu-Sort sortation system that automatically scans and sorts bundles of fi nished labels based on UPC. The second phase addressed bundle/carton verifi cation. The third phase involved the automatic printing and application of external carton labels.

Results
Smurfit-Stone claimed zero label mixes since the system was installed. The company was also able to reduce personnel requirements in the St. Charles fi nishing department by 45 percent and improve throughput by 60 percent. In the Greensboro plant, Smurfit-Stone reduce personnel requirements by 30 percent and improved effi ciency by 45 percent. They exceeded their target ROI of 40 percent. In addition to the operational efficiencies, economic benefi ts, and cost savings delivered by the system, Smurfit-Stone realized signifi cant safety improvements.

MHMonline.com welcomes relevant, exclusive case histories that explain in specific detail the business benefits that new software and material-handling equipment has provided to specific users. Send submissions to Clyde Witt([email protected]), MHM Editor-in-Cheif. All submissions will be edited for clarity, content and style.

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