The topic of “flexible packaging” is one that continues to be mentioned when it comes to running a business. It’s important to analyze what this type of packaging entails before looking at how it benefits a business and its operations. This can be broken down into smaller pieces with a look at various customers, suppliers, and what it represents.
Let’s assume the focus or POV of this business is being a mid-size enterprise.
The business can be a mid-sized flexible packaging converter and aims to make items such as thin gauge plastic films. To do this, the enterprise is going to use various presses between the sizes of 48″-56″ and it is going to be of the 1-year-old vintage. This is when the pricing is going to be adjusted to account for this and that is called the “power curve of good pricing” and it is going to be set at a run size of 10 million square inches.
The idea of this quantity is to have a setup that is functional and is going to stay in that state for as long as the business needs. This is going to account for the costs, price, and set up time that comes along with such a converter. In general, this is going to take a look at a ratio between setup time and run time.
The ratio should be 1:3 (run to setup time).
This means for every 15 minutes of run time, it should take only 45 minutes to set up as intended. This, in theory, would lead to at least 2-3 images. Of course, when charging a client, it is going to be done on an hourly basis to account for the ratio as a whole. This is going to let the business make money for the run and setup time in one shot.
Of course, when the ratio is improved and/or flipped, it leads to better results but that can take time while starting off with new equipment. The goal should remain to head towards that path and progress to a better ratio as the business develops.
In most cases, the ideal ratio is going to be 3:1 with the runtime being longer than the setup time.
Assuming the business is looking at creating 100,000 medium-sized potato chip bags, it is going to need to maintain the ratio at a level to reach those at the right ratio.
Of course, with a larger customer, it is going to be important to nail this ratio down and ensure it is on the right track. For example, if a large chips company such as Frito Lay calls in and states it needs around 20,000,000 impressions for its bags, this is going to require a far faster process. It is going to need a quick press that is able to set up and run on the item throughout the day without fail. This might take a couple of days to put together and get all of the impressions out on time.
When such a customer comes in, they are going to need a dedicated and bigger press to handle the load.
This is why the major brands such as Frito Lay tend to go with proper presses for the task at hand.
However, there are customers with smaller asks and are not going to need dedicated presses to get the job done. This is when it is better to aim for flexible packaging that is set up with a smaller press. This is going to be focused towards formats that are in the 15″-24″ range. (across). This is when a smaller ratio of 1:3 is going to be fine and will be able to get out the 5,000-10,000 impressions out.
You are also going to encounter other costs along the way such as the art costs, plate costs, the film substrate, and other related expenses.
In the end, a customer is going to want to go with a reliable press that is built for its demands. Always look at the flexible packaging with an eye towards your ratio. This is going to let you know what you are able to handle and how long it is going to take you to scale.