Packaged Product Methods of Evaluation

packaged product methods of evaluation
packaged product methods of evaluation

Preventing Product Damage Due to Shipping

Utilizing packaged products methods of evaluation can greatly reduce losses due to shipping damage and increase customer satisfaction.  According to Packing Digest, between 2 to 11 percent of packaged products arrive at a distribution with some damage.  In many cases this damage could be avoided by ensuring that packaging materials and methods are suitable for the product being shipped.

A wide varieties of standards exist for rating and evaluating product packaging.  Many of these standard include laboratory test methods to verify containers and unitized loads.  The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) and the  Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI) have test standards that allow evaluation of boxes, cartons, and unitized loads placed on pallets.

Numerous international standards are also available through the International Organization for Standardization or ISO.  These standards include test methods for impact, drops, compression due to stacking, and vibration. 

ASTM Standards for Packaging

ASTM has many test standards for testing containers’ abilities to withstand dynamic stressors expected during shipping.  These include vibration and drop shock.  ASTM D5276 Standard Test Method for Drop Test of Loaded Containers by Free Fall  is such a standard. 

This standard is applicable to loaded boxes, bags, sacks, and cylindrical containers weighing 110 lbs (50 kg) or less.  It replicates the stresses induced by containers that are handled manually and subjected to free fall drop.

Other standards such as ASTM D999 and ASTM D4728 have been developed to test packaging containers for the effects of vibration.  These test methods can use  PSD profiles derived from MIL-STD-810 for truck shipment.

ASTM D7386 Standard Practice for Performance Testing of Packages for Single Parcel Delivery Systems evaluates the ability of shipping units to endure drop impacts, vibration, bridged impact, hazard impact, high altitude, concentrated impacts, tip over impacts, and rotational edge drops.

ASTI Standards for Packaged Packaging

ASTI standards include a wide variety of packaged product methods of evaluation.  These methods address the requirements for individual packaged products and palletized loads.  For some standards in the series, severities are varied depending on if the shipment is limited within the United States or is international.  

Test methodologies include vibration, inclined or horizontal impact, rotational flat and edge drop, compression, flat push testing for palletized loads, bridged impact, corner drop, face drop, and edge drop.

The key to using this set of standard is to understand the distribution environment of the packaged product so that distribution hazards can be identified.  It is also important to monitor products currently being shipped for types and frequency.  When improvements are required then appropriate test methods can be selected to evaluate those changes.

The Limitations of Cardboard

Cardboard while an excellent choice for many packaging needs has vulnerabilities. These issues include crushing, piercing, water resistance, compression during stacking, and failure when overloaded.  These vulnerabilities are aggravated by warm humid conditions.  

When evaluating the environmental stressors likely to be encountered by a shipped product it is important to remember that storage or transport may occur in uncontrolled environments where humidity and high temperatures are present.  For this reason, all the standards mentioned here include atmospheric conditioning at varied temperature and humidity levels.

Growing Demand for Containers

With a marketplace more reliant on online sales, cardboard is becoming increasingly in demand. Worldwide production of cardboard is increasing to meet this demand and prices for cardboard packaging is increasing. As consumers and OEMs strive towards more environmentally sustainable behaviors, it is predicted that the overall use of plastics in packaging will decrease, placing further demands on the cardboard industry.

New packaging development solutions are being sought to address environmental sustainability in transport packaging.  As these packaging designs are brought to market it is essential that they provide adequate protection to products .  

The Importance of Testing

Testing of shipping materials and methods is a cost effect way to avoid problems, given the expense and loss of customer satisfaction generated by damaged product in shipment.  While laboratory methods are not exact replications of the hazards associated with shipping, they have been developed through observations and field studies and are widely accepted.

Most of these tests provide simple pass/fail criteria but when a test plan has been tailored to defined to specify acceptable damage it can meet the product manufacturers requirements.  Furthermore, where testing may be unfeasible, analysis can often be used to determine the ability of packaging to protect the shipped product.

Ultimately, performing packaged product methods of evaluation provides important data that can be used to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to reducing the risk of damaged product.  This data can also be used as a baseline for quality management assessments of shipping and packaging procedures.

CVG Strategy Product Test and Evaluation

CVG Strategy has experience in developmental test and evaluation for a wide variety of industries including military and automotive.  Because of this we understand looking beyond a test to pass perspective.  We can help develop a test program that will return meaningful data and verify a products ability to survive harsh environments.

We also have extensive experience in environmental, EMI/EMC, and electrical compatibility testing for both military and commercial products.  CVG Strategy specializes in Independent Developmental Testing and Evaluation including development of Test Plans, providing Test Witnessing, and Analysis.  We also provide MIL-STD-810 Training Seminars and Webinars to enable product developers to create tailored test programs.

CVG Strategy is a consultancy offering coaching, mentoring, training and program development focused on areas including Business Process Improvement, ITAR and Export Compliance, Cyber Security and Quality Management Systems


Cybersecurity Strategy and Business Management

cybersecurity strategy
cybersecurity strategy

Having a Cybersecurity Strategy is Essential

Having an effective cybersecurity strategy to protect information assets is a necessity in today’s business world.  News stories and alerts appear daily, informing us of yet another threat or data breach that has put at risk the valuable data and security of millions of people.  This endless pressure can lead to paralysis induced by fear, but fear is not a strategy. 

As Sun Tzu, author of the Art of War said, “He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them.”  Sadly, the modern business world is often too caught up in a tactical perspective at the expense of a strategic one.  Strategy involves vision, risk management, and a hankering for moving beyond the status quo. 

Learn From Those in the Lead of Cybersecurity Strategy

Having accepted the need for action, one need not re-invent the wheel.  A number of organizations who must respond effectively are setting excellent examples.  The Department of Homeland Defense (DHS) is such an example. 

In its publication, Cybersecurity Strategy the DHS lays out its plan of battle in a series of goals.  These goals include Five Pillars:

  1. Risk Identification
  2. Vulnerability Reduction
  3. Threat Reduction
  4. Consequence Mitigation
  5. Enabling Cybersecurity Outcomes

Risk Identification

Identifying the evolving nature of the threat landscape through a risk assessment can inform an organization of the scope of the problem and the nature of the cybersecurity strategy that must be employed.  As the nature of cyber attacks are constantly changing, effective strategies will require constant monitoring with goals of improvement of extent processes and controls.  

Vulnerability Reduction

For the DHS Vulnerability Reduction includes denial of access to malicious cyber activity and maximizing collaboration between stake holders.  This is an excellent practice for businesses as well.  Employing appropriate  policies and working together with all departments, employees, customers, and vendors is a major step is an important part of an effective cybersecurity strategy.

Threat Reduction

The DHS seeks to reduce cyber threats by countering transnational criminal organizations and sophisticated cyber criminals.  While as executed by the DHS, such activities lay well beyond the purview of most companies, employing effective technological and security systems to protect your organization’s information is essentially performing the same task.

Consequence Mitigation

Having an action for mitigating the effects of a cybersecurity incident is of extreme importance to a business, its vendors, and customers.  Such responses must be planned for and coordinated across the board to minimize the damage as quickly as possible.  Because the nature of future incidents is unknown, strategies developed to address them should be flexible in order to enable solutions that are adaptive.

Enabling Cybersecurity Outcomes

This pillar is composed of two goals: To support policies and activities that enable improved cybersecurity risk management, and to execute these policies in an integrated and prioritized way.  

Examples of enabling outcomes would include allocation of resources to ensure proper cloud system configurations and ensuring that software and hardware used don’t increase attack vectors.

ISO 27001 Information Security Management System (ISMS)

Fortunately for businesses who are serious about developing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, ISO 27001 employs all of these principals into action.  It incorporates people, processes, and IT systems to coordinate security efforts consistently and cost effectively.  CVG Strategy can help your business develop a cybersecurity strategy that is appropriate to your business goals, culture, and marketplace.