Manual handling of heavy boxes belongs to the past at Qualiphar in Belgian

This is the story of how TAWI helped Qualiphar create a healthier and safer workplace for their employees. (As it turns out, we ended up improving productivity as well.) Continue reading to learn all about this exciting journey.

Qualiphar, what is that?

If you have ever taken a tablet for a sore throat or used a repellent against mosquitoes there is a good chance that these products came from Qualiphar. This Belgian family business is the market leader in many prescription-free medicines, cosmetics, food supplements and other health products. Together with their own brand and numerous private labels, Qualiphar strives to make people in more than 60 countries healthier and happier with their high-quality pharmaceutical products.

“Your health is our priority.”

This is the mission that Qualiphar stands behind with great pride. The independent health player focuses on research, development, production and commercialization of health products and pharmaceuticals. Some products that you might have heard of are:

  • Cough (Toularynx ®)
  • Sore Throat (Medica ®)
  • Disinfection/wound care (Cedium ®)
  • Dietary supplements (Biocure ®)
  • Insect repellent products (Mouskito ®)

Today, Qualiphar continues to specialize within the pharmaceutical industry and share its know-how with third parties to position itself as the best health partner. The family business is experiencing continuous growth and Qualiphar does not see this changing anytime soon.

A good engine is the best medicine

In addition to the worldwide success, Qualiphar also wants to contribute to society and nature. They are constantly looking for new ways to protect the environment and reduce their impact. For example, they have already taken countless actions such as setting up beehives, greening the vehicle fleet and, since 2019, even opening their own wind farm. In this way they want to contribute to the improvement of our planet.

Besides the environment, Qualiphar also realizes the importance of their employees. They are the driving force behind the health enterprise and believe in the principle: “Your company is only as strong as its weakest link”. With this they strive to maintain optimal well-being and a safer workplace.

“Satisfied and healthy employees prefer to come to work and are more productive. They are the source of our success, so it is very important that they feel good and want to participate with full enthusiasm for our future.”
Jan-Karl Verlinden, Supply Chain Manager at Qualiphar

Hurdles to well-being

Although a safer workplace and the well-being of their staff is paramount for Qualiphar, they faced a problem that they share with many companies. Within their production, they often have to handle heavy boxes. These boxes can weigh up to 44 lb and this therefore requires substantial physical effort from the employees.

Packing boxes on conveyor belt with handheld vacuum lifter for a safer workplace.

Qualiphar employee lifting boxes onto a conveyor with TAWI High frequency lifter.

Since the handling of boxes was carried out quite intensively, only the stronger employees could perform this task. But even when only using the most fit employees to perform this task it led to back and shoulder complaints after several years. Qualiphar recognized this problem and wanted to find a solution that would enable any operator, regardless of their physical strength, to move all the boxes, without overexerting themselves to complete the task.

Finding the TAWI solution

After a search on the internet, the pharmaceutical manufacturer came across TAWI supplier Logitrans. They paid a visit to their office in Drongen, Belgium to examine the TAWI products and quality. After an extensive demonstration, a project was initiated to tackle their problem together.

The Qualiphar challenge involved two situations. First of all, the arriving boxes have to be moved to the conveyor belt for detail picking, or placed in a larger box. The employees had to lift continuously, which in the long run meant heavy weight on their bodies.

The TAWI solution Logitrans chose to recommend Qualiphar a high-speed vacuum lifter with a pistol grip. In this way, only one worker is needed to move the boxes, without compromising their own health. As a result, the heavy weight has shifted from the employee to the vacuum system.

The TAWI High frequency lifter was mounted on a 33 x 10 foot rail system. This gives the employees a free working area of ​​just over 269 square feet. The rails were attached to an overhanging construction on 2 posts, which ensured that as little space as possible in the warehouse was lost.

The above-mentioned boxes then arrived at the terminal station, where the packages had to be placed on correct pallets. Not an easy task, knowing that boxes can quickly weigh several tens of pounds. Here too Logitrans suggested a TAWI vacuum lifting system. As a result, Qualiphar was able to significantly reduce the volume in boxes by being able to place more boxes in boxes. In the past this would be too burdensome for employees, but with the TAWI solution in place, this becomes a safer workplace for every employee.

How did employees react?

Initially, the employees were somewhat skeptical about the use of the vacuum lifting systems. They found it difficult to give control to a device which they felt they did not know exactly what it was doing or how it would respond. Although they were experimenting with the equipment, they still preferred to do things manually.

However, after they had mastered the technique, they saw its real added value. They were able to perform their tasks more quickly and without compromising their physical health. In addition, they appreciated that Qualiphar actively looked for a solution to the challenging task of handling heavy boxes. This has had a positive impact on their overall satisfaction and the Belgian family business has noticed that this has translated into higher productivity. Instead of having to take a brief break every half hour to give the body some rest, the operators can now work more consistently.

Consequences of the solution

In addition to productivity, the two vacuum systems have brought interesting benefits. Qualiphar is now able to fit smaller boxes into larger boxes that were better suited to the dimensions of a pallet.

In this way they are able to build each pallet one level higher and they have managed to make more use of the loading volume of the truck during transport. This means the health company has been able to optimize transport of their products and they are one step further towards the target of minimizing their environmental impact.

The beginning of a beautiful story

Today, Qualiphar has been working with the vacuum lifters for several months and the employees can no longer imagine working any other way.

 “This was the start-up with ergonomic devices, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. As we continue to grow, we want to rely more on these products to take away any strenuous physical task. Our employees are the foundation of our success and deserve the necessary attention and dedication to make their well-being our top priority.” Jan-Karl Verlinden, Supply Chain Manager at Qualiphar

Logitrans and TAWI look forward to continued collaboration with Qualiphar, helping them achieve optimal productivity and a healthy workplace.

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