February 06, 2020

Stretch Film Basics

It matters not what you pay for your film coming in the front door, the only cost is the per pallet price going out.  Don’t get caught in the revolving door of price per roll stretch film sales, it is bought by the pound and sold by the pound, period.  “Low cost” rolls are that way because they generally contain less film, or they are lower quality film.  Let’s discuss a few of these points;

Stretch Film Basics

Less footage per roll carries one main advantage, it weighs less to carry or lift.  Everything else about less footage screams lower productivity and more waste (MUDA).  Less film means more roll changes, more ordering, more pallets, more trucks, more cores, more worker involvement and more machine downtime.  Be careful when analyzing your film costs, this little trick has been used for years by some manufacturers and distributors and it is not necessarily the best for you, the end user.

Film quality also plays a big role in overall costs.  Some films on the market have the ability to stretch over 400% and some fail at 180%.  Just because the roll price may be enticing it doesn’t necessarily mean your costs will go down, in a lot of cases it will increase.  Likewise, it your machine only has the ability to stretch film 200% then why buy a film that is meant to stretch 300%?  There is a point of diminishing returns with all films, insure you are working with the correct people that can show you where the right cost per pallet is hiding. 

Lower film gauge was another way to get roll weights down and less film on the pallet through new advanced films that are multi layered and include various characteristics to make the film stronger than its high gauge brother and sister films.  Low gauge films are often considered, high performance films.  The problem with high performance films is they often need high performance machines in order to capitalize on what they are and can do.  You don’t put high test gas in a low-end car, you are just paying more money for the same results.  Same should apply to stretch film and getting the right packaging professional to support you is critical.

Machinery plays a huge part on stretch film cost but is not often looked at as part of the problem or solution.  Nowadays we see all kinds of people moving to more and more fuel-efficient cars so that their ongoing costs continue to fall.  For some reason industry is still stuck on an upfront cost that has very little to do with an operational cost.  If industry wants to reduce stretch film costs by 5%, they can explore different gauges, get tricked into buying a lower roll length or they can look at the opportunity as a whole.  Just because your stretch wrapper is “working” (as in going up & down, around & around), it does not mean that it is helping your business.  If a car travels down the road but uses 75% more gas to do so, is unsafe and spews CO₂ into the air at 5X the rate of a new one, of course it works but it costs everyone.  A stretch wrapper is the same animal, it can work “fine” and cost you and the world at large a huge amount.  We wrap loads for one reason and one reason only, to contain the load.  New machines will secure your load better using less film with higher containment resulting in less product damage and lower monthly costs for your business.  Machine payback can be accomplished in as little as 3 months but almost never as long as 18 months for a machine that will last you 8-14 years. 

Seems like simple math to us...

If you would like to learn more or have Korpack provide a no charge cost analysis on your film usage, please contact us at info@korpack.com or call 855-KORPACK.