Struggling to balance dramatic peaks and valleys in sales volume? Looking for creative ways to meet customer demand? Striving to keep improving performance? Many companies find that outsourcing value-added packaging services can help to address these common challenges.
For nearly two decades, a leading beauty products company has looked to Saddle Creek for holiday gift-pack assembly. Each year, the 3PL turns 10,000 items into 1,000 finished SKUs in the space of three short months. Many of the company’s other customers have similar requirements.
Packaging Services Add Value for Saddle Creek Customers
Saddle Creek specializes in providing value-added services for customers whose packaging needs are high-volume, high-velocity, customized and labor intensive. From gift-pack assembly to labeling to display building, the Saddle Creek team offers a wide variety of services to meet their requirements and address their toughest challenges.
The biggest pain points for the packaging business are space and labor. Customers count on Saddle Creek’s flexibility to help them address both of these issues.
During peak summer months, the company’s Charlotte facility handles 10 to 12 million pieces. Operations for one beauty product customer, for example, jump from five lines in the winter to 26 lines in the summer. Another beauty customer requires 16 to 18 lines to handle peak season needs.
Work space requirements can range from 50,000 square feet to 250,000, depending on customer needs. With more than 656,000 square feet of space in three area distribution centers, Saddle Creek easily accommodates these dramatic fluctuations.
A flexible labor pool is also critical for meeting changing needs. During the peak season, Saddle Creek’s Charlotte facility typically uses 400 – 500 temporary employees every day to supplement its permanent staff.
“Customers appreciate the scalability of our operations and our willingness to invest in the right resources to get the job done efficiently and effectively,” explains Brian Schroeder, general manager, Saddle Creek, Charlotte. “This frees them from the commitment of a major overhead investment and allows them to be more nimble in meeting marketplace demands.”
Companies often turn to Saddle Creek when their logistics needs are more specialized. The company is willing to tailor operations to meet specific business needs and doesn’t shy away from projects that are customized or labor intensive.
For a popular beverage producer, Saddle Creek converts standard 18-packs to multipacks of 6, 12, or 24 according to customer orders, enabling the beverage company to give retailers a unique pack in their market.
For a gourmet food company, the team assembles gift packs with an array of hot sauces for holiday gift giving. By handling this function closer to the point of sale, Saddle Creek helps its customer to improve inventory control and be more responsive to changing customer demand.
“We don’t offer cookie-cutter solutions,” Schroeder says. “Our business involves a high-level of customization and specialization. Whether we’re simply making adjustments to the packaging line or building an entirely new operation from the ground up, we pride ourselves on accommodating customers’ needs.”
Emphasis on Continuous Improvement
The Saddle Creek team focuses on maintaining high quality standards while increasing efficiency and reducing costs.
An on-site quality supervisor oversees routine quality checks based on customer requirements—from approving product samples to hourly line inspections. In addition, a number of KPIs are in place to help maintain service levels—from schedule adherence to rework rates to on-time shipping.
LEAN and 5S methodologies help to ensure optimal performance. By defining areas and setting limits, for example, the facility was able to achieve space savings of 40 to 50 percent.
Annual reviews with core customers include suggestions for cost-savings—typically 2 to 3 percent of their annual spend. For example, Saddle Creek helped to reduce labor requirements for one beauty company with the addition of automated label applicators and a custom-engineered bag chute—a minimum savings of $130,000 to $200,000 annually.
Throughout the year, the Saddle Creek team remains committed to learning the nuances of their customers’ business. With a solid understanding of the customer’s needs and business goals, they can anticipate needs and be proactive in recommending changes.
“Process reengineering, packaging needs assessment, component purchasing, supplier evaluation… these are just a few examples of how we go the extra mile to get our customers’ products to market efficiently and cost-effectively,” Schroeder says. “They see us as an extension of their company and know that we will do whatever it takes to meet their needs.”
While Saddle Creek customizes solutions for each of its customers, the end result is the same for everyone. They can count on flexible, high-quality, cost-effective service tailored to meet their unique business requirements.
Learn more about Saddle Creek’s packaging services.