5 Packaging Quality Tests that are an Absolute Must for All Importers
What is the most important aspect of a product for an end consumer? The answer to that is pretty simple: quality. It is the quality of a product that determines its durability and longevity; whether the product is fit for purpose, and its overall basic functionality. If the quality of the product that reaches the final consumer is compromised, no matter what amount of time, effort, and money you put into researching the perfect design and idea of your product, it won’t add any value to the consumer’s life.
Notice that the key word here is the product that reaches the end consumer, for which the biggest role played, is by the packaging and delivery department of a business. Unfortunately, this department is in fact the most overlooked one by the managers; which is even more unfortunate considering the amount of effort that is put into quality inspection of the product for making sure it abides by all the specifications and requirements that have been ordered. But if the packaging service of the business is inadequate, then the whole product and the effort put into it goes to waste as it gets defected during transport and transit.
Therefore, carefully checking the packaging of the products is in fact just as important as quality inspection- and thankfully for all importers reading this, the following are some simple ways through which you can verify that the packaging being used is safe and will make sure that the products reach the importer and the customer in its original and intended shape and form.
Double check the quantities in the package
Many small sized consumer products are mass produced in factories, where often times many other products are also being produced. For this reason, there is a massive chance of a mess up when workers are packaging your products into huge cartons. Due to the overload of work, workers usually do not have the time or the energy required to count each of items before it is packaged; rather they just simply scan one unit and manually type in the number listed on the inventory for the carton.
However, this carelessness of the staff can cost you a lot as an importer, especially if the final number of products received is less the number that you require. It is essential for you to receive the right number of products so that you are able to adequately meet demand and keep your inventory up to date. This becomes especially more important in the days when you expect a rise in sales, such as during holidays. At a time like this, a shortage of inventory may cost the business sales worth up to thousands of dollars.
To avoid this problem, an independent or third-party inspector can pay a visit to the factory during the times of product finalization and packaging. They can assist to count the number of products being packed, as well as the correct type of product; often in factories that produce similar products, such as white and blue shirts of the same size, workers may also make the mistake of packing the wrong color of shirt in the order. A third-party inspector of ATIHongKong can physically be present at the site and count the number of products being packaged, as well as to see whether the right kind of products is included.
If the order is incorrect in any aspect then it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to repackage the shipment to meet with the given requirements.
Checking the material used to seal and package the products
There are several factors that can potentially impact the functionality of the packaging and sealing material that you use: excessive heat, drastic temperature changes and rough handling are a few of these examples. Therefore, it is extremely important to consider all these factors that the package will encounter before the material is finalized that the packaging will be made of.
Apart from the kind of material that is used in packaging, it is also important to look closely at the methods employed to seal, strap and bind the products. These methods can play a huge role in determining the durability of the packaging. Each kind of method and material has its own pros and cons attached to it, for example:
You might have to choose between metal and plastic bands to be used for strapping: where metallic bands are generally stronger than plastic, they have a downside such that they are at a risk to rust. In comparison to that, plastic is much more lightweight, easy to dispose off and generally work with. Therefore depending upon your preferences as well as the overall look of the product, you might choose plastic or metal, whichever you think best.
Checking for shipping markings and barcodes on the packaging
One of the foremost reasons importers face delay in their deliveries is that there are errors in the markings or barcodes of the packaging: they might be incorrect, missing or straight out illegible. It is for this reason that your inspector should carefully make sure that all of the markings and barcode on the packaging is correctly labeled so that it does not encounter any issue in the delivery process.
If the package is incorrectly labeled, not only does it cause massive amount of inconvenience for the importer, but may also lead to serious problems at customs. As an example of this, custom officials are required to pay particular attention as to which country is printed on the labels as the country for imports so that it can correctly levy the correct amount of duties and taxes on the product. Hence, if the customs find out that a detail such as the country is incorrectly labeled, it may lead to serious repercussions such as fines, which can amount to large values.
Just as important as carton making are barcodes, which have become an essential part of keeping track of inventory for small retail products. However, manufacturers can often mess up barcodes that can simply impair the basic functionality of the product. These flaws include:
Improper printing of the barcode: the contrast between the background and the lines drawn is low or even missing
The barcode being too close to the edge or any other symbol: scanners require there to be adequate blank space around the barcode for the scanner to work properly.
The barcode may be damaged through creasing or peeling
The barcode may be too small or too big
Incorrect orientation of the barcode
The carton drop test
It is inevitable that your products, when being shipped, will encounter rough handling during the process. However, it is essential for the products to reach the retailers and, thereby the customers, unharmed. Where slight damage of the packaging may sometimes be ignored by consumers, when the packaging is damaged visibly it often implies that the product inside is damaged as well. this is a serious cause of concern for the importer because not only does it mean a loss of sales when customer return products or retailers do not stock the product, but also significantly damages the reputation of the importer and his business. To avoid this embarrassment, importers must carry out the carton drop test:
From among the stock of cartons, choose any one carton randomly. Make note of the quality and condition of this carton before the test is carried out.
Transport that carton to a large, empty, flat area where the carton can fall without any interference.
Drop the carton a total of 10 times filled with weight corresponding to its weight.
Examine carefully the condition of the carton and the products inside.
If the products are undamaged then it means that the carton is of adequate quality and is fit to carry the products.
See if the packaging is in accordance with the requirements of the retailer and the brand
In today’s day and age, retailers and brands are becoming more and more aware of customer satisfaction as their number one priority. And since customer satisfaction springs primarily from the quality of the products, retailers and brands require that packaging abide to certain standards that makes sure that the products inside are delivered safely. For this reason, manufacturers must make sure that they are in compliance with all these requirements; but even more importantly, it is up to your inspector to finally see if everything is in accordance with the specifications asked for.
For example, large-scale brands like Wal-Mart ban the use of certain types of packaging, such as: Styrofoam, crinkle wrap or shredded paper. They have handed out a list of acceptable materials for packaging that all businesses must comply with.
This was only one of the examples among many regarding how packaging must comply with given requirements; otherwise the entire product might go to waste.
As we have seen from the above examples, it is undoubtedly very important to keep packaging according to set standards otherwise the quality of the entire product may be compromised. It is also important to make sure that packaging complies with legal requirements and durability tests so that it acts to protect the product rather than acting as a barrier in the sale and protection of the product.