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DHL automates Mars packaging process in China

Anuradha Shukla | July 9, 2015
Secondary packaging significantly improves labour productivity.

DHL Supply Chain has automated Mars packaging process in China. The global contract logistics solutions company has provided Mars with semi-automated machinery for secondary packaging that has significantly improved its labour productivity.

DHL has deployed its system in a DHL-operated warehouse in JiaXing, located in Zhejiang province. DHL has also improved operational scalability during Mars' four-month high season when labour requirements hit about five times the ordinary levels.

The efficient system packs Mars' confectionary items into retail containers more than 12 percent faster than previous manual processes.

"With more than 500,000 sets being processed every year, Mars' China operations were a prime candidate for supply chain automation," said Yin Zou, managing director, DHL Supply Chain China Cluster. "These high production volumes meant that automating the Mars packaging process could deliver particularly significant productivity dividends, while also guaranteeing extremely consistent product quality and availability for consumers – even as Mars continues to scale up the range and market reach of its iconic confectionaries."

Quality-control issues
Secondary packaging automation has minimised many of the quality-control issues and reduced the number of staff required per machine for Mars.

Problems such as incorrect set quantities, product mishandling and package defects associated with fully-manual packaging during peak demand have reduced significantly since deployment.

The DHL automated system deals with secondary packaging involving distribution of already-wrapped items into larger packs or "sets".

"For the past 23 years, we've worked with Mars to provide agile end-to-end supply chains that support how they meet unrelenting consumer pressure for new products and packages," said Zou. "Introducing automation to the secondary packaging process represents a particularly noteworthy step to helping Mars quickly and consistently meet rapid changes in demand volumes and consumption patterns amongst Asia's consumers."


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