Some of the most rewarding work companies do is in collaboration with customers and partners, helping to solve real-world challenges and improving businesses. Working together not only benefits customers and partners, but it also continuously improves products and services.
That’s the case with the recent work CommScope did with Amadys, a leading distributor of passive infrastructure solutions in Belgium, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany and beyond. Our two companies set out to reinvent the packaging of our modular front patching system (MFPS), which is the critical junction point between the core network and last mile connections.
Peter van den Heuvel, product technology manager at Amadys, described the collaboration’s challenge this way: “As FTTx rollouts and fiber network transformations have gained momentum throughout Europe, we quickly realized that there’s an acute need for efficiency. This is particularly the case with the fiber patching shelves that allow network operators to scale, adapt, and service their networks in the last mile. That’s where streamlining deployment can make a world of difference.”
And that’s where the collaboration began, with three goals in mind:
1. Rolling out the MFPS faster—The fiber race is causing network providers to seek new ways to accelerate deployment. CommScope wanted to make it as fast as possible for Amadys’ technicians to get the MFPS out of the box, assembled for the Amadys Microfocus pre-installed high-end POP solution.
2. Reducing operational costs— We both wanted to reduce the transportation and storage costs as much as possible. CommScope and Amadys looked closely at how the MFPS was being shipped and warehoused with savings in mind.
3. Improving sustainability—CommScope and Amadys are united in their goal of being leaders in sustainability. When we assessed our MFPS packaging, we noted it was designed with a combination of cardboard and supporting foam blocks, and each package contained a single MFPS unit. Brackets and hinges for the MFPS came in plastic bags and needed to be unpacked and installed by technicians. The team then repeatedly walked through the entire process of delivering, storing, unpacking, and assembling the MFPS, focusing on any factors that created unnecessary time, cost, or waste.
Accelerating deployment with pre-assembly
The first challenge the team tackled was the unpackaging process itself. Since each unit was contained in its own box and most deployments required multiple units, it took substantial time simply to remove the MFPS products from their packaging. Additionally, the hinges and brackets for each unit had to be taken out of separate plastic pre-packs and installed, adding significant time to the deployment process.
To help technicians get the MFPS up and running faster, the CommScope and Amadys team agreed that by shipping the product with its brackets and hinges pre-installed, technicians could more quickly attach the front cover and trumpet bracket and sliding the MFPS into the chassis. This not only helps Amadys expedite deployment, but it also reduces the chances of assembly errors in the field.
The team also noted that substantial unpacking time could be saved by adopting to a bulk approach in place of single-unit packaging, which not only allowed technicians to speed up the process of unpacking the MFPS but created significant opportunities for cost savings and sustainability, which we’ll outline below.
Reducing operational costs with bulk packaging
As Amadys and CommScope investigated the challenges created by the MFPS’ single-unit packaging, they also discovered that transporting and storing the units individually added substantial costs to network providers’ operations, primarily due to the floor space required to house the units in their trucks and warehouses.
67% warehouse space savings and a 40% reduction in truck rolls
CommScope and Amadys collaborated to design a bulk packaging solution for the MFPS that maximized space utilization in both trucks and the warehouses. Together, we designed a bulk packaging solution that holds 20 MFPS units. The team also optimized the bulk packaging to take advantage of the height in most storage facilities and trucks by making up to four boxes stackable in a single-palette footprint.
Improving sustainability with lower waste and emissions
As champions of sustainability, CommScope and Amadys rallied around the challenge of reducing the MFPS’ impact on the environment, targeting both waste and carbon emissions as it is packaged, transported, unpacked, and deployed. The most obvious opportunity was through the reduction of the non-recyclable materials used in the MFPS’ packaging. The team also quickly discovered that a smarter bulk packaging approach could vastly reduce its CO2 footprint as well.
Total elimination of foam and plastics, Reduced CO2 emissions by 80,733 kg/year (equal to 4.036 trees)
The team opted for an all-cardboard design for the new bulk packaging, completely eliminating the foam and plastics that could not be recycled (and often prevented the attached cardboard from being recycled as well). With the new bulk packaging allowing more MFPS units to be transported per truck, carbon emissions have been reduced substantially.
A partnership for success
Working together, Amadys and CommScope achieved their goals of expediting deployment, lowering operational costs, and improving sustainability for the MFPS—with the added benefit of reducing deployment errors in the field. But the rewards of this partnership go far beyond the business impacts of packaging improvements for a single product line.
“What happened was an extremely efficient, highly collaborative process of stripping away all that was unnecessary and redesigning our MFPS packaging around the principle of simplicity. The results have far exceeded our expectations,” stated CommScope’s Gijs van den Bersselaar, sales manager.
The spirit of collaboration we witnessed throughout the MFPS project is just one example of what can be achieved when two companies unite and rally around a common set of goals. It’s a spirit we value in the relationships we share with our partners, our customers and every member of the CommScope business ecosystem.