Case and carton damage before and during delivery to the final consumer is an ongoing problem for beverage distributors. In an industry where brand identification on the crowded store shelf is critical for success, there is no tolerance for any package damage.
In this article, we are going to discuss common product damage problems that beverage distributors face and ways to economically repack products for consumer use.
Repack Problems for Beverage Distributors
If there is any damage to beverage cases or cartons in the delivery of the product to the retail outlet, a delivery driver is often required to bring the damaged product back to the distribution center to be “repacked.”
The typical repacking process takes place in a dedicated space in the distribution facility. The contents of the damaged case or carton are removed, and hand-packed into a new case or carton. Depending on the amount of damage that a distributor has, this can be a time-consuming effort.
There are times when the delivery driver will attempt to do “field repairs” on damaged packaging. This is often done when the case or carton has minor damage or comes apart. The challenge to the distributor and retailer is to make sure the product looks new and unopened.
The Typical Process for Case and Carton Re-Packing
In most mid-size to large beverage plants, beverage cans or bottles are packaged on automated lines where the cartons and cases are sealed with hot melt adhesives is specific amounts and locations on the packaging materials.
Tape is seldom used because it generates adhesive waste and compromises the look and brand message of the product. The consumer will rarely buy a product that has been taped when it sits on a shelf next to an undamaged product.
When a product is damaged and repacking is required, the idea is to make sure the product looks brand new, just like the product coming off the line.
Products Used in the Repacking Process
The most common adhesives for a case and carton repacking are similar to hot melt adhesives used in the automated process. Since repacking involves a small volume of product typically, these adhesives come in the form of hot melt glue sticks, applied with professional grade glue guns.
Hot melt glue sticks come in a variety of formulations and are designed to bond to the wide variety of packaging materials used in today’s case and carton packaging.
The idea is to provide enough bond strength to keep the cases and cartons together but allow them to be opened with minimal effort and damage to the product. Industrial grade glue sticks are stronger than the typical art, and craft glue stick found in hobby stores.
Some distributors use cold, applied glue dots. This can be an effective method to seal cases and cartons, but most distributors find that hot melt glue sticks are the fastest and most cost effective method.
Field Repackaging by Delivery Drivers
In many situations, deliver drivers try to repair and re-seal minor damages right on the spot at the retail outlet, so they do not have to bring the product back to the distribution center at all.
This is only recommended if the final product shows no sign of product damage or tampering. Most beverage companies and retailers will not allow a product package to be taped if it is not the way the original product was packaged.
Many distributors are now supplying their drivers with handheld mobile glue dot applicators to do these necessary repairs. We have heard stories of drivers attempting to use melt glue sticks with lighters for repairs. We do not advise doing this in any case. The temperature required to melt a glue stick is over 250 degrees and may burn skin on contact.
Beverage packaging is critical for branding and sale success. Product damage and repacking is a situation all distributors face on an ongoing basis.
Prime Industries and Hotmeltsticks.com provide high-quality adhesives and applicators to ensure repacked products are sealed to match the performance and visual requirements of the beverage manufacturer. Please contact us for more information on any of our products.