Packaging distributors are a key resource in purchasing stretch wrappersDarryl Gee, Lantech’s vice president of sales, was visiting a customer plant recently when he noticed workers hand wrapping pallets in the shadow of a shiny, new, but idle, pallet wrapping machine. “It turns out about 30 percent of their loads are over sized pallets and they didn’t fit on the machine,” Gee said.
The customer, who Gee praised as a skilled and intelligent operations manager, had purchased the machine online, buying a standard machine at an attractive price only to discover the sizing wasn’t quite right. “They’re now taking up twice the space because they’ve got the machine sitting there, and they have to have a different area to hand wrap the pallets,” Gee said. “He’s not getting what he originally bargained for.”
We often field questions from customers about the need for a hand-off from manufacturer to packaging distributor when purchasing stretch wrap machines, and this story illustrates one of the reasons why.
Habit…for a reasonSales of pallet wrapping machines through a packaging distributor is a longstanding system, based on the difference in packaging materials and equipment from material handling equipment like fork trucks, pallet handling and racking, according to Gee.
“These packaging distributors are actually trained in packaging machinery and materials. They work with these customers every day on packaging solutions,” he said.
Here are some of the main advantages Darryl suggests customers receive by purchasing stretch wrappers through packaging distribution:
Knowledge of equipment and customers
A trained packaging distributor provides local know-how and strong relationships with customers. This means they are well versed in both the needs of a business and the makeup of the pallet wrapping product, which helps avoid small oversights that can lead to major costs.
In the case of the business with the stretch wrap machine that didn’t accommodate the over sized pallets, Gee said a packaging distributor would have immediately noted the sizing needs of the new machine. “They kind of intuitively know those key points they need to be surveying to make sure they’re picking out the right options in the machine,” he said.
Although machines and materials have shown great improvement in consistency and quality over the last two decades, Gee said there are still enough discrepancies throughout the market to make the local expertise of packaging distributors pivotal for businesses.
Install and training
Unlike a purchase straight from someone like an online source, a packaging distributor can offer installation assistance and ongoing local training. This takes away the need for a business to have outgoing workers training new employees on the equipment. “The unfortunate fact is ‘machine operator’ is generally a high turnover position in many factories,” Gee said. “If you’re really going to provide the right solutions and service for your customers and keep them, the good packaging distributors have ongoing training programs.”
The best packaging distributors consistently increase their knowledge base and keep up with the trends and new technology in the packaging realm. “They’re most effective for their customers when they truly understand things like the principles of load containment and they can apply the right machinery to the customer’s specific needs,” Gee said. “Because not all customers need the same thing.”
Buying through a packaging distributor usually means a lower total cost, according to Gee. The cost is particularly advantageous with the added value that a distributor brings to the purchase, like installation and ongoing training. “The distribution model has allowed customers to pay less for more value for years and years,” Gee said. “If all of a sudden we started a direct channel model, this would result in high cost of sales, high cost of service and thus actually higher prices to an end customer.”
Do your homework – be a better buyer
If you’re like most folks who are faced with how to buy a stretch wrapper, though, before you invest time in meetings you probably want to do some of your own research. The internet is an incredibly powerful tool of course, and there are lots of options to consider.
To help buyers and companies considering their first wrapper purchase, or a later one, in addition to a comprehensive view of Lantech machine options, we also offer a variety of resources which are brand agnostic. These include:
- budgetary planning guidelines
- cost justification suggestions
- stretch film savings calculators
- tips for buyers focused on business results and for those who sweat the details
- industry specific insights
- options that you might not know to request but would love to have
And our Guide to Buying a Semi-Automatic Stretch Wrapper provides a great overview of considerations.
Once you’ve done your homework you’ll be in a perfect position to bring your distributor in to review your requirements and get you the details you need.
Don’t have time for that? No worries. Fill out the quick RFQ here and one of our inside application specialists will be in touch. We’ll get the process rolling, get you pricing and connect you with a distributor. Talk about easy!
This post was published on June 30, 2016 and updated on April 3, 2018.
June 30, 2016