5 Crucial Packaging Quality Control Elements
After importing products from abroad, it can be quite annoying for your customers to find out that they are damaged. Most of the importer only give attention to the quality of products forgetting that checking the packaging quality is equally crucial. Whenever products get damaged along the way during supply, the blame is often on poor packaging. To ensure that your products survive the fulfillment network, conducting a thorough packaging inspection is essential.
With lots of things to perform during the quality inspection , you might be wondering where should you start. Well, here are 5 crucial packaging quality control elements that determine if your products will withstand the harsh conditions during shipment.
1. Confirm Quantities and Packaging Assortment
Small consumer goods are usually packed together in large cartoons for easy transportation and handling in the warehouse. The challenge is that the staff at the retailer’s warehouse won’t necessarily be able to confirm that all the products entering the warehouse meet customer’s requirements. They might just sample one unit and record the figures listed on the carton.
For this reason, having an inspection agency to visit the supplier’s premises and conform to the assortment and order quantities is essential. The inspector will ensure that all similar items in the packaging come in the required proportions. A good example where this is applicable is when importing clothing like shirts of the same design but different colors packed in one carton.
If the inspector finds out that the packaging has an incorrect assortment, he will ask the supplier to recheck and repackage the products again. This way, you avoid delivering the wrong products to your customers, thus protecting your brand image.
2. Test the Packaging Method and Materials
Packaging goes through harsh conditions before they arrive at your customer’s door. The challenges range from extreme temperatures and humidity to rough handling. The packaging material used and the method of sealing will determine the package’s performance during transportation. Paying attention to these two factors and verifying that the supplier has properly packed your products is essential before shipping.
An effective quality control checklist should verify the packaging method used depending on product features. Depending on your experience importing products, you may prefer either binding, strapping or sealing methods. It is important to detail such packaging preferences to the supplier so that they know your expectations.
Make sure also to provide details on the type of packaging materials that the supplier should use for inner and outer packaging. Specify finer details that the cartons used should bear such as the ply of cardboards and color.
3. Verify Barcodes and Shipping Labels
Incorrect barcodes and lack of shipping labels can cause delays at customs clearance. Furthermore, these are among the common defects that inspectors encounter during packaging inspection.Fortunately, an inspector can help you to verify the levels and barcodes and avoid the delays that can cause inconveniences to your customers.
3.1 Check Labels on Packages
Labels are important because they indicate the product’s country of origin, which allows proper taxation. You may need to pay fines and put up with delays if the supplier fails to mark the products accordingly. If the labels can’t be placed on the products, i.e. flowers, fruits etc. then the labels should be placed on the packaging.
Here are some of the important markings to include:
- · Purchaser’s name
- · Item description and number
- · Purchase order (PO) number
- · Quantity of cartons within set
- · Carton weight and dimensions
- · Country of origin and country of destination
- · Important warning icons and labels, i.e. flammable, fragile, etc.
3.2 Verify Barcodes on Retail Packaging and Shipping Carton
Just like the labels on the packaging, barcodes are equally important. They facilitate tracking and fasten processing since managing inventory is simplified. Some of the issues that you should check to ensure that the barcodes are correct and functional include:
- Print quality of barcode; The bars and white lines should be clear.
- Proper spacing of text or symbols; Ensure that no part of the barcode is missing and texts or symbols are not too close to each other.
- Damage of barcode; Ensure that the barcode doesn’t peel off or gets damaged easily.
- Orientation of barcode: Barcodes should be properly oriented in a way that they are readable to allow scanning.
Inspecting barcodes is a simple process. The inspector needs to have a barcode scanner or use a smartphone scanner app when checking the barcodes.
4. Carton Drop Test
Carton drop test is a simulation of the shipping and handling stress that products go through during delivery. The tests involving a series of drops are performed by the inspector in your supplier’s premises on products ready for shipment. The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) has come up with carton drop test guidelines that should be followed during the process to ensure that the results are reliable.
Steps of carton drop test
- Randomly pick a carton from the testing sample. Make sure the carton is in good condition before starting the test.
- Select a suitable testing area where the carton can freefall to a flat surface without distraction
- Changing the positioning of the carton drop it from a height that corresponds to its weight up to 10 times.
- Inspect the condition of the packaging and goods inside for any damages.
- Introduce suitable adjustments to the test.
5. Ensure Products Comply with Brand Packaging and Retailer’s Standards
Retailers handle lots of good from different suppliers which often cause overcrowding in their warehouses. In a bid to solve this issue, they are now shifting some of the responsibilities, such as meeting packaging standards to the suppliers. Failure to meet the requirements can result in fines.
For instance, Amazon.com doesn’t allow the use of some packaging materials as outlined in their packaging and shipping guide. To adhere to these requirements, make sure to include them in your quality control checklist.
The 5 Packaging Quality Control elements provided in this guide are just some of the most vital packaging and QC checks that all importers shouldn’t miss in their checklist. However, make sure you are familiar with the laws in your country on the packaging. Always remember that performing a packaging inspection will help you to avoid disappointing your customers. The good thing is that you can use the services of an inspection company (AQI Service) for guaranteed results.
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