A Case Study in Surgical Precision (Literally)

Warehouse with cardboard boxes inside on pallets racks, logistic center. Huge, large modern warehouse. Warehouse filled with cardboard boxes on shelves, boxes stand on pallets. 3D Illustration

We work with a large, multinational manufacturer of procedure-specific surgical kits. The kits are sealed trays that contain medical equipment like syringes, tubing, solutions, wraps, catheters, sponges, and other items that are needed for specific surgical procedures. They’re made and assembled in strictly regulated, intensive clean rooms, and require multiple layers of protective packaging to maintain sterility and product security.

Regulatory changes and approvals had recently created a high demand for our client’s surgical kits, which save hospitals considerable costs and labor. Just imagine the amount of time it takes a hospital staffer to hand-assemble all of the necessary supplies for a surgery, versus simply ordering a pre-packed surgical kit.

Although the kits save time and money, they are still labor intensive in their assembly, finishing, and packaging. Our client had developed an internal task force to find suppliers who could address their highly specialized packaging requirements. What they needed was an automated, turnkey solution.

Standards of the Highest Order

They didn’t just need efficiency, though. It was absolutely critical that they maintain the highest standards of cleanliness, elevated outputs, and specific package integrity. For example, the kits had to be sealed appropriately to maintain sterility. To further complicate matters, they needed to reduce labor costs to stay within budget, and the process had to fit inside their limited physical space. They also required a partner capable of full project management who could integrate systems from nearly a dozen different manufacturers.

With all that in mind, it should be no surprise who they called: First Packaging Systems.

Now it was our time to shine. The FPS team did what they do best, identifying OEM equipment manufacturing partners that were capable of delivering on individual project requirements, including:

  • Material handling
  • Serialized product labeling
  • Scan and verification of serialized product (sequential numbering, ID, barcodes)
  • Double product wrapping with different packaging materials (red biohazard wrap plus an outer wrap)
  • Case packing
  • Robotic palletizing
  • Stretch wrapping.

Deep breath. The solutions dream-team had been assembled.

Well Oiled Machine(s)

Then: showtime. Individual components were manufactured while First Packaging Systems technical staff attended factory acceptance tests to ensure proper machine execution and application capabilities. Equipment was shipped and staged at First Packaging’s facility in Chino, California. Next, conveyors and robotics were completed, and the process of installation began. FPS technicians worked in concert with OEM techs and facility engineers to ensure the proper placement and preparation of machinery.

Once fully assembled and up and running, it was a thing of beauty. After leaving the clean room, the surgical kits performed an intricate, serpentine ballet choreographed by First Packaging Systems, winding and weaving from conveyor to labeler to scanner to wrapper to packer. It was tailored systems integration at its finest.

Goals: Exceeded

Over the next six weeks, production steadily increased as team members became better acclimated to new processes and line management. As part of the project contract, FPS technicians were on site 24/7, working with engineering, production, and packaging staff to ensure maximum uptime and output. The schedules were pared back as production and uptime increased.

The client was beyond satisfied. They were able to meet market demands and begin the process of building a reliable supply chain over the first two months of production. Labor and material costs were reduced by a whopping 56 percent.

Lasting, Long-Term Outcomes

With First Packaging’s help, the client was able to seize and build upon their leadership position in this market. In fact, a reproduction of this solution is planned for another facility with a tentative launch date of Q3 2021. Now more than ever, First Packaging Systems is viewed as a trusted advisor that helps our customers’ businesses grow and thrive.

According to Robert O’Neill, Engineering Project Manager for the company, “While FPS provided cohesive, well-planned solutions that included a high level of service and support, there was initial reluctance from senior management to work with a small regional company on this high profile of a project.

“The depth of understanding First Packaging System’s team developed through the initial stages of project development, commitment to outcomes, and willingness to accept accountability ultimately led to contract award. Their ability to manage many moving pieces while effectively communicating through the process only built confidence within our group. The skills and commitment of their technical team was more than we could have expected. We continue to rely on the FPS team to assist us with a variety of manufacturing and packaging related challenges. A job well done.”

At First Packaging we’re proud of the work we do to help clients solve their packaging process challenges. We have the capabilities businesses need to meet even the most stringent requirements. What packaging puzzle are you trying to solve? Give First Packaging a call today to get started on the path to a serious, cost-effective solution.