Since 1974, when the company was launched out of the founder’s garage, Crutchfield has been providing its customers with technology and sound equipment for their cars, homes, and even boats. But after 40 years of growth, the Charlottesville, Virginia-based company realized it didn’t have enough capacity in its manual packing process to keep up with demand. That led it to reach out to automated packaging expert Packsize for help streamlining its operations. And a collaboration was born.
“Prior to partnering with Packsize [in 2013], we had manual pack stations [with] five to eight packers handling roughly 2,500 to 3,000 orders a day,” said Chris Groseclose, chief fulfillment officer at Crutchfield, in a case study posted on Packsize’s website. “We were kind of at the end of our rope of being able to physically fulfill the orders.”
After consultation with its new partner, Crutchfield decided the solution lay in right-size packing equipment—systems that can swiftly produce tailor-made boxes for every order. In August 2014, Crutchfield installed five semi-manual Packsize EM7 machines to streamline the front-end order-release process, Groseclose said in a recent webinar. “We needed a machine that would give us the box the order would ship in up front.”
In the years that followed, Crutchfield upgraded its right-size packaging machines to include the semi-automated Packsize X4, which could cut, crease, glue, and label right-sized boxes at speeds of up to 300 boxes an hour.
Fast forward to June 2022 and Crutchfield was ready to expand again—this time to a more automated solution that would take its warehouse operations to the next level, helping it achieve faster fulfillment with less waste. After weighing its options, the company selected the X5 fully automated erected box system, which produces ready-to-pack, right-sized boxes for each shipment.
What made this solution a good fit for Crutchfield was the X5’s ability to cut, crease, glue, erect, and label boxes for automated output onto a conveyor, cart, or pack station, according to company leaders. Another part of its appeal was its environmental friendliness. Like all Packsize solutions, this system was designed to reduce packaging waste caused by oversized boxes, minimize the need for void fill, and take up less space on trucks.
The results were apparent immediately. Following the X5’s installation, Crutchfield’s warehouse was able to process more than 450 boxes an hour, greatly improving throughput and enabling it to reallocate labor to different parts of the facility. And the benefits promise to extend beyond the present. According to Packsize, the X5 has the capacity to accommodate Crutchfield's future growth, with an ability to produce up to 600 boxes an hour.“[The] X5 has been a great platform for us. It makes the box, seals the bottom, and … injects it onto the conveyor,” Groseclose said in the case study. “It’s a quality-of-life improvement for the operators. It’s an efficiency gain for us—and part of that package is we have on-site tech [assistance]—that’s been huge. [The X5] hits the volume, it’s fast, and the machine is reliable. We’re significantly impressed.”
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