A couple weeks ago we wrote about the importance of product testing, but have you ever thought about why you should invest in package testing?
If you've never given it a second thought, don't fret. You're not alone. But when you stop to think about package testing, it makes sense. Now more than ever.
Consider this: it's not unusual for products to be made halfway around the world from the end user. Packaged products often take multiple modes of transportation - rail, ship, air, truck - in various conditions before they ever reach the customer. The best way to ensure the product makes it to the customer, intact and in working order, is to test the package before it ever leaves the manufacturing facility.
Package testing measures the strength and integrity of a packaging system throughout the distribution, handling and storage process. You might wonder if it's REALLY necessary to go to the trouble of testing your product's packaging, but according to NTS, a test, inspection and certification company, here are four compelling reasons:
- You're going to find out whether your package is sturdy enough or not, wouldn't you rather find out in a controlled environment?
- Regular testing helps you understand your distribution environment. You can make changes reducing your product's exposure to hazards.
- Responsiveness. You're in control. You determine the testing methods and protocols, and you can revise them at any time as needed.
- Continous improvement. The more information you have about your packaging, the better decisions you'll make about package design and shipping.
Testing is typically done at third-party testing facilities, like NTS, using standards proscribed by a number of diffrerent entities.
The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) is a global alliance of shippers, carriers, suppliers, testing labs and educational and research institutions focused issues related to transport packaging. The ISTA has created pre-shipment testing procedures, certified packaging laboratories and professionals and provides education and support for the organization’s members.
There are four categories of hazards to test packaging against, according to ISTA:
Information from GUIDELINES FOR SELECTING AND USING ISTA® TEST PROCEDURES & PROJECTS
In addition to ISTA, manufacturers may choose to validate their product packaging against standards laid out by the American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
To give you an idea of what package testing looks like, check out this video of forms of drop testing from Dutch company Topa Verpakking:
There is little doubt that performance testing — of both products and the packaging — add value for the consumer, and of course it comes at a price. But are the tests viewed with grudging obligation or as an important validation of your professional services? That choice is up to you.