Category: News

5 Reasons Packaging Integrity Matters

Packaging is considered to be both the presentation of products to consumers, as well as the configuration in which products will be expedited through various channels.

The master carton or “pack” design includes the configuration in which product will be shipped through channels for end-user consumption, making it especially important where packaging integrity is concerned.

Here’s why:

1) Carefully planned packaging includes both cost savings obtained through the minimal use of materials, weight and labor, as well as reductions in potential rework costs.

2) Packaging has a direct impact on the perception of quality by the consumer.  

3) Orientation is an important consideration because the carton itself only has stacking strength in one direction, which is why it is imperative that the pack be designed the way it will be stacked in transit.  Labeling is important in communicating packaging requirements.

4) Packaging experiences a number of potentially damaging forces, which might include shock from handling, drops, vibration from transportation or compression from stacking in warehouses and vehicles.

5) Above all else, the objective of packaging is to insure products arrive safely in the hands of consumers without sustaining damage or other potential cosmetic or aesthetic issues.

Pro QC uses the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) 1A standard for special testing during on-site inspections. This evaluation focuses on the drop-test of individual cartons at a corner, edges and sides. The ISTA Series 1 is considered non-simulation integrity performance testing and is designed to challenge the strength and robustness of the product and package combination, not to simulate environmental occurrences. Pro QC considers defects resulting from this test as critical, so any issues noted with the product result in a reject status.

Additional test procedures are available through ISTA that also incorporate vibration, compression and atmospheric conditions. “Use of ISTA test procedures reduces risks in the transport environment and increases confidence in the safe delivery of a tested packaged-product.”

There are two types of tests that ISTA offers, which includes performance tests and development tests. According to ISTA, performance tests “result in a pass/fail assessment and are used to determine the viability of a packaged product to survive normal shipment. Development tests compare relative performance to two or more designs or the same design from different suppliers.”

We posted an article related to the Importance of Packaging in our quarterly newsletter.  Contact us for additional information.

Quality testing adventure… Evaluating strollers

They say you should walk 10,000 steps per day, and our engineers in China are hitting the mark as they road test these strollers through various road conditions.

Sebastian Oarcea, Pro QC’s Chief Engineer, explains the evaluation in more detail below.

Purpose:  To determine the functionality and performance of the strollers in a real-life operating condition.

Process:  One sample is subject of functional evaluation in reference with instructions manual provided and applicable standard prior to road test to identify potential failure modes.

The road test is performed with strollers loaded at maximum stated by manufacturer (both for occupant and luggage compartments, basket etc.) over terrain that mirrors the expected usage environment (including stairs, inclined road, grass and sand roads etc.).

The strollers are tested in ways that would parallel the way it would operate in normal home use.  Normally 5 samples of each model are included in this test.

Report: The final Summary Report evaluates and records the performance and physical aspects of the stroller during the test. It includes initial observations from the receiving of the product, packaging, compulsory markings and warnings, instructional literature, Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) with reliability data in hours of use and distance, comments (both positive and negative) and suggestions from testers, satisfaction score and daily reports. The test distance is about 50 km (for current road track 53km).

Product_Testing_Strollers

What is an American National Standard anyway?

ansiWe recently tuned into a webinar offered by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and thought they did a great job discussing standards and the relationship of ANSI to ANS and the international marketplace.

The follow-up resources they sent out should be shared:

Recognizing the benefits of standardization

World Standardization Day has been recognized throughout the month in countries around the world, although the official day is October 14th.

ISO generally sets a theme, which this year includes “international standards ensure positive change.”

Why does standardization even matter?

  • Ensures positive change. This year’s theme.
  • Harmonizes global best practices.
  • Companies have increased confidence in the quality and reliability of suppliers who use standards.
  • Eliminates technical barriers to trade.
  • Companies actively involved in standards more frequently reap short- and long-term cost-savings than those that do not participate.
  • Having influence in the content of a standard is an important factor in gaining competitive advantage.
  • Standardization can lead to lower transaction costs in the economy as a whole, as well as to savings for individual businesses.
  • Standards can help businesses avoid dependence on a single supplier because the availability of standards opens up the market. The result is a broader choice for businesses and increased competition among suppliers.
  • More choices for the consumer.
  • Standardization encourages cooperation between businesses atthe same stage in the value chain.
  • Businesses not only reduce the economic risk of their R&D activities by participating in standardization, but can also lower their R&D costs.

The work of IEC, ISO and ITU remains central to the development of standards that share knowledge among all the world’s countries and so provide building blocks for global prosperity.

Resources:

ISO – World Standards Day 2013

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

ASTM – Economic Benefits of Standardization

World Standards Cooperation

The Economic Benefits of Standardization Report – DIN, the German Institute for Standardization

iso_standardization

Quality 101 – Four gurus you want to know

We’ve recently completed a series of workshop outlines that can be used to introduce anyone interested in quality to the industry basics and know where to find the resources they need to take additional action when required.

The workshops are designed as eight hour hands-on discussions of various topics covering statistics for quality, quality tools and quality basics.  We find the material related to the quality basics course will effectively reach a broad base and lead to a better understanding of the industry in general.

The primary focus of Quality 101 includes the foundations and principles of the gurus and the tools they have contributed to the industry and how they are applied today.  The top four primary contributors to quality we identified include:

W. Edwards Deming (Bio)

Deming changed our lives in many ways.

“Dr. W. Edwards Deming taught that by adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations can increase quality and simultaneously reduce costs (by reducing waste, rework, staff attrition and litigation while increasing customer loyalty). The key is to practice continual improvement and think of manufacturing as a system, not as bits and pieces.”

Must Know: Plan-Do-Check-Act

**This is a model for everyone, whether it’s used for business or personal planning and decision making .

“Quality is everyone’s responsibility.” ~Deming

Joseph M. Juran (Bio)

Juran wrote the Quality Control Handbook.  He focused on top-down training and is thought to have brought the Pareto Principle over to quality.

Must Know: Juran Trilogy

“Juran was one of the first to think about the cost of poor quality. This was illustrated by his “Juran trilogy”, an approach to cross-functional management, which is composed of three managerial processes: quality planning, quality control and quality improvement. Without change, there will be a constant waste, during change there will be increased costs, but after the improvement, margins will be higher and the increased costs get recouped.”

Philip B. Crosby

Crosby believed and also published a book titled Quality is Free.  He spoke often of “doing it right the first time” (DIRFT).

Must Know: Four Principles

  1. The definition of quality is conformance to requirements (requirements meaning both the product and the customer’s requirements).
  2. The system of quality is prevention.
  3. The performance standard is zero defects (relative to requirements).
  4. The measurement of quality is the price of nonconformance. 

“If anything is certain, it is that change is certain. The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow.” ~Crosby

Kaoru Ishikawa (Bio)

“Kaoru Ishikawa wanted to change the way people think about work. He urged managers to resist becoming content with merely improving a product’s quality, insisting that quality improvement can always go one step further. His notion of company-wide quality control called for continued customer service.  According to Ishikawa, quality improvement is a continuous process, and it can always be taken one step further.”

Must Know: Quality Circles & Ishikawa (Cause & Effect) Diagrams

The big question within the industry is who has made the most significant contribution and why.  Thoughts?