Food Packager Clears Labor Bottlenecks by Switching Suppliers

March 21, 2012
Buying group helps Berner identify options to improve shrink wrap operations.

Berner Food & Beverage, a Dakota, Ill.-based producer of private label cheese sauces and spreads, was encountering a frustrating problem at the end of its production line, where case shrink wrap designed to cover and seal its finished products was continually getting stuck in the new wrapping machine the company had recently purchased.

When wrap would get stuck in the machine, it immediately halted the production line. Berner Food & Beverage tried moving to a heavier grade of plastic wrap, at the suggestion of its plastic wrap supplier. The heavier wrap continued to jam the wrapping machine, while also costing about 30% more than the originally specified wrap that first started causing the machine downtime. Berner then began a search outside its existing supplier base for a solution to this expensive problem.

The company also joined Prime Advantage, a manufacturers’ buying group, to save money on purchased goods as well as identify qualified supplier options. Prime Advantage introduces its members to the group’s supply base through multiple channels, including the use of regional account managers, and through its semi-annual conferences. One-on-one meetings take place between members and suppliers at Prime Advantage’s three-day conferences, and at one of these scheduled meetings Berner met with Gulf Great Lakes Packaging Corp.

“While attending our first conference, our regional account manager suggested Gulf Great Lakes as an option to address our shrink film supply option,” says Kimberly Newton, vice president of supply chain and engineering, Berner Food & Beverage. “While meeting with the Gulf Great Lakes representative, he was able to speak to the machine challenges, film alternatives and potential starting points for addressing the increasingly expensive problem.”

“They did not need a heavier grade of film, nor did they need a new wrapping machine,” says Tom Haddon, national accounts manager, Gulf Great Lakes Packaging. “Instead, they needed a higher grade of plastic that would move through their machine smoothly, and with the new plastic wrap, their wrapping machine works exactly like it should.”

Prime Advantage leverages the purchasing power of its membership, all manufacturing companies, to negotiate rebates and discounts that grow as the group’s business with each vendor grows. These vendors are audited by Prime Advantage to ensure competitiveness and quality in more than 130 categories of industrial goods and services. By combining the purchasing power of more than 700 industrial manufacturers, Prime Advantage negotiates volume rebates and discounts with global suppliers.

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