Packaging Digest is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

The case of the unglued case

Ever see someone come unglued? It’s not pretty. Bill’s plant was shut down and he was riled up.

“KC,” he said, “you probably won’t believe this, but we have the entire plant shut down because we ran out of hot-melt glue pellets.”

“Whoa, Bill–cool your jets,” I calmly advised. “What happened?”

“Well, KC, we use hot-melt glue to seal our shipper cases.”

“OK…” I said. “Sounds pretty normal so far.”

“Thursday, we ran out–no more glue on the floor or in the warehouse,” he said. “We had to overnight a shipment from Los Angeles, and it didn’t arrive until about 11 o’clock Friday morning.”

“How could you run out of glue?” I asked.

“We treat glue as a supply and don’t track it in our manufacturing resources planning [MRP] inventory system. We use a ‘two-bin’ (in this case, two-pallet) system so that we have a pallet of glue in use and a pallet in reserve. When the in-use pallet is empty, we start on the reserve pallet and order more. Somebody forgot to order and didn’t notice we were on the reserve pallet until we ran out.”

“Fiddlesticks on ‘two-bin’ inventory systems,” I exclaimed. “That’s an excellent way for controlling supply inventories-but glue is not a supply! It is a component and must be included in the bill of materials (BOM). The BOM must include everything that is needed for the product with no exceptions. Make a resolution to revise your BOM–and stick to it.”

KC Boxbottom, packaging detective, is on the case to solve tough packaging puzzles. He is the alter-ego of John Henry, CPP. Known as the Changeover Wizard, Henry is the owner of, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He produces a free monthly newsletter called Lean Changeover, which contains articles and tips on changeover and related issues. Reach him at [email protected].

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Multigenerational Workforce

In today’s workplace, five generations are actively employed. In this free ebook, learn how to leverage the strengths of each generation in your packaging department.