Best Practices: Stretching the Imagination
When shipping multiple pallets per week, manually stretch-wrapping each one is time consuming and can cause fatigue and discomfort to the person doing the wrapping.
This was the case at the Washington, D.C.-based Amtrak Headquarters Reprographics Facility until about four years ago. In his daily meetings, in which he and his staff discuss the state of the in-plant, Manager Michael Smedberg had been hearing numerous complaints about the stretch-wrapping procedure.
In a previous job, Smedberg had used a fully automatic stretch wrap machine that spun a pallet on a turntable while stretch wrap was administered by a moving pole. Unfortunately, machines like that cost between $5,000 and $10,000 and take up about 100 square feet. Smedberg knew he couldn’t justify that cost to management, since the in-plant was shipping just three or four pallets each week.
Then he was approached by long-time employee Tamiru Negussie, who had been browsing through a supply catalog and came across the Uline Portable Stretch Wrap dispenser. The price tag ran approximately $700 and the device would only require four square feet of floor space.
“He’s one of the people who has not liked to wrap pallets because it’s been such a pain to do,” Smedberg states. “He was motivated to try to find an alternative. He saw it and recommended it.”
The dispenser is on wheels and features a pole, which can be affixed with stretch wrap 40˝ to 60˝ high. While it does still require the user to walk around the pallet, it takes significantly less time and it is a far easier procedure.
“We bought it, and have been very happy with it ever since,” Smedberg says, adding that the dispenser has made the in-plant about twice as efficient at wrapping pallets.
Smedberg is very appreciative of Negussie for presenting the idea. Through the in-plant’s morning meetings, Smedberg says his in-plant has developed a culture that fosters constructive communication.