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Custom-Built Boxes Among Innovations at New Amway DC

Packaging devices custom-build boxes so that Amway ships all box and no air. An invoice-printing system speeds throughput. And the two-mile-long conveyor system minimizes handling.

(Boonton, NJ, May 15, 2012) — Some of the latest and greatest material handling technology is on display at Amway's new distribution center in Ada, MI.

To end the problem of shipping small items in big boxes, for instance, Amway bought three packaging machines.

The devices include a sensor to measure the tallest item in an order. Then they custom build a box that's designed to fit the item being shipped — which in the case of Amway often includes an order that is nothing more than a few tubes of lipstick or eyeliner.

The machines have improved the company's transportation efficiency, says Deb Parme, in the May issue of Distribution Center Management newsletter. Parme is Amway's vice president of North American logistics. "We used to cube out the trucks before they weighed out," Parme says. "Now they weigh out before they cube out."

While the transportation savings are a plus, the main goal of the packaging machines is appearance. In these times of green-minded consumers, no one wants to get an oversized box that's mostly filled with air.

Information on Amway's packaging machines, invoice-printing system, and two-mile long conveyor system appear in the May issue of Distribution Center Management.

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