New Produce Packing Process and Netting Machine Pays Off

June 13, 2013 By: Sara Blair Category: WordPress Import

As a food bank leader, we’re continually seeking ways to improve the work we do daily—from production in the warehouse, to the delivery of food to our partner agencies.

Recently, our production team put their heads together to develop a quicker, more efficient way to package produce. In the past, when we would receive large quantities of a particular produce item—such as potatoes, apples or onions—we would rely on our volunteers to help us sort, measure and repackage the food into more manageable, family-friendly portions. The process was all done by hand, and it usually required three to four days to repack a whole truckload.

Our team knew there had to be a better way to turn the product quicker to ensure the freshest, highest-quality produce was being distributed to our neighbors in need. Thanks to a hard-working production team and a new packing process, measuring system and netting machine, we’ve been able to reduce production time to just a few hours and volunteer shifts! In fact, just last week, volunteers from Target and UnitedHealthcare repacked a 38,000-pound truckload of onions in just under five hours!

We started off with a new netting machine—a device that allows produce to funnel through and get cut and stapled—all in one shot. This method allows seven people to be as productive as a group of a group of more than 20 people bagging and hand-tying each individual bag. With the purchase of several spools of netting for this machine, we are able to save 7 cents per bag. That is a total cost savings of $31,495 per year! Not only does this new machine expedite the repacking process, it also cuts the cost of our operations exponentially.

We are excited about developing better ways to handle and distribute more food, and expand opportunities for future growth!

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