Parsable Blog

Paper and Packaging Manufacturers Look to Data and Analytics for Competitive Advantage

Parsable Team


As the packaging and paper industry emerges from the workforce and supply chain challenges of the Covid pandemic, global industry leaders are strategically investing in their digital transformation.  

Investing in platforms that collect operational data and analytics tools to generate insight from that data is a priority for paper and packaging manufacturers. These tools provide the insight to help solve some of the industry’s most pressing concerns – from productivity, an aging workforce and environmental compliance.

The result is often an entirely new level and scale of operational efficiency, safety, sustainability and productivity.

To show just how impactful this digital revolution is on the paper and packaging industry, let’s take a closer look at how data and insight have been leveraged across several global paper and packaging businesses.

Connection Improves Productivity  

At the manufacturing facilities of one of the world’s largest makers and distributors of tissue, paper and packaging products, operational fluctuations and unplanned downtimes were hurting profitability. These problems were being made worse by the lack of standardized maintenance procedures. 

The team decided they needed an infrastructure upgrade and chose to incorporate data capture and analysis functionality into its solution.  

Parsable’s Connected Worker® gave the company unprecedented insight into its frontline and distributed teams. It allows faster reaction times, visibility into compliance and actionable data in real-time from the frontlines of the floor.

Real-time data and analytics from the front lines, alongside automated maintenance and root cause analyses, also enable safety issues or disruptions to be rapidly addressed.  

This meant the company could provide standard and clear digital work instructions, and teams could easily document and share best practices — and this knowledge transfer and the ability to easily access it, in turn, eliminated procedure mistakes. With this new level of connection and data insights across functions, teams could quickly analyze processes and implement improvements.

The result was improved operational efficiency, reduced unplanned stoppages, less waste, and less paper.  It included a 25% reduction in downline during the centerline audit processes and across functions and a $45 million gross margin contribution due to a 6% improvement in Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

One of the world’s leading suppliers of high barrier plastic containers and shelf-stable food packaging solutions was facing the challenge of unplanned downtimes due to inadequate preventative maintenance tasks being inconsistently completed.

Operators were not correctly doing the required daily cleanings or weekly inspections, and management could not track and follow up on these critical activities.  As a result,  the facility consistently failed to achieve its daily required run rate.  This failure, in turn,  impacted company revenue.

Investing in a data and analytics platform enabled the company to capture real-time performance data, which provided insight into which machines were in need of preventative maintenance into the efficiency of completed jobs, based on data logged by workers on the factory floor.

Parsable’s Connected Worker data and analytics platform lets the company easily digitize its SOPs and checklists and then update them across teams and in real-time. The result was more effective quality audits and the ability to track all waste easily. Management also could remotely track and monitor the progress that operators made in real-time. 

Now, in addition to measuring every step and action, workers’ data can surface issues and provide feedback in real-time so that every process is quickly analyzed and improved.

The result was that the company achieved 100% completion of daily and weekly preventative maintenance tasks. Throughput increased by an average of 12% in just 30 days,  which in turn helped the company grow its revenue. 

A FTSE 100 company that is one of the leading providers of paper-based packaging was concerned about inefficiency, waste and how, with operations in more than 30 countries, it would be able to cost-effectively and engagingly transfer the industry knowledge of a retiring workforce to a new generation.  

Parsable’s Connected Worker captures data on frontline operations and provides dashboards that serve insights based on that data. In addition to measuring every step and action, the data can alert managers and supervisors of issues with production, such as misaligned machinery.  

This level of real-time offers direct insight into what is efficiently done, what isn’t, and where the focus needs to be right now. Quality audits are now all digital, and the company quickly tracked all waste. 

The result was a quantifiable 10% reduction in waste. In less than one year, the first site transformed from being the highest waste producer in the organization to its best-performing facility.  The digital training resources helped them reach a 50% reduction in onboarding costs for new operators.

The Ultimate Guide: Connected Worker Software

How Data and Analytics Improve Sustainability 

Sustainability is the megatrend shaping the packaging industry. Consumers are becoming increasingly worried about the environment, the impact of package leakage, and the long-term lifecycle of materials. In response, governments are enacting stricter sustainability regulations on multiple fronts and increasing frequency.

The call for greater sustainability is further amplified by growing stakeholder awareness of the business case for ESG in manufacturing

The real-time data captured through data analytics platforms makes it significantly easier and faster to discern positive or negative patterns and implement changes across the business that further improve long-term sustainability. By identifying and analyzing practices that increase efficiency, manufacturers generate less waste and, over time, reduce energy consumption. Those changes are often deceptively simple, such as repairing leaks or enforcing the correct settings on machines

Technology is what’s making these sustainability initiatives possible. Going digital enables the organization to capture data across the entire production cycle, enabling it to adjust operations to improve its sustainability and climate footprint.

For instance, by leveraging the analytics capabilities in the Parsable Connected Worker data and analytics platform helped a leading paper manufacturer sector significantly improve sustainability, energy usage and savings across manufacturing functions. In some cases, it has helped reduce waste by 10%, resulting in substantial financial savings on top of the sustainability benefits.

The world’s leading paper and packaging manufacturers are increasingly using data and analytics  to optimize their operational efficiency and improve worker safety and sustainability – because it’s an end-to-end production solution that offers multiple ongoing benefits. 

Want to learn more about operational excellence? Read more about the approach that encompasses all of the solutions you’ll need to maximize efficiency, improve worker safety and create a higher standard of production quality.