Antalis Packaging provides automation for The Book People

Antalis Packaging has installed an I-Pack® corrugated packaging system for The Book People, automating the packaging of 45 per cent of the bookseller’s orders and delivering savings on labour, materials, storage and transport.

The Book People sells books online, through its popular mail catalogue and also through local booksellers. It has an expanding customer base and growing inventory. However, manually processing around 64 per cent of orders had become increasingly time consuming and was costing the company money. Moreover, keeping track of the different packaging materials used for orders ranging from single A5 paperback books up to large collector’s sets was adding to the company’s inventory management workload, while storing them was space-intensive.

Antalis Packaging recognised an opportunity to streamline the bookseller’s processes and optimise efficiency with an automated solution. Scott Byrom, Key Account Manager at Antalis Packaging comments, “We have worked with The Book People for 15 years, so we were familiar with their processes and aware of their challenges. They were using as many as 11 different types of packaging, which complicated their manual packing operation and also created problems with managing packaging inventory. From looking at the processes, it was clear that automation would help to solve multiple problems at once and so we recommended the I-Pack.”

Installed in late December 2015 at The Book People’s 100,000 sq ft warehouse in Bangor, North Wales, the I-Pack corrugated automated packing system measures the height of each box’s contents and then reduces the box size to match by folding down and then gluing the flaps. Folding away empty space in this way also drastically reduces the need for void-fill material.

Although installed for less than three months, the system is already yielding benefits. According to Wayne Spencer, head of eCommerce logistics at The Book People, “The I-Pack now handles 70 per cent of orders that were previously processed manually and the only manual intervention needed is when operatives pick items and place them in the box.”

“The machine has also eliminated 50 per cent of the packaging materials we were using before,” continues Wayne. “As a result, we’ve reduced packaging storage by as much as 100 pallets because the material we use for the I-Pack machine is all flat-packed. In addition, because the machine folds any void away, we’re not paying to transport fresh air anymore and we can now fit 17 per cent more packages in a container. That amounts to a saving of around one container every week.”

Commenting on the support that The Book People has received from Antalis Packaging throughout the installation, Wayne adds, “From working with us to determine which order types and sizes would be most suitable for the machine through to helping us find a cost-effective solution when the print on our standard boxes was making it difficult for the machine to seal them, Antalis Packaging’s support has been instrumental in getting the solution up and running.”

Scott Byrom concludes, “The savings and improvements being delivered by the I-Pack for The Book People are what we strive for in our approach to working with all customers. We work in close partnership with them so that we can understand their challenges and help them to identify solutions that will deliver savings and ultimately improve their profitability.”

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