So you paid a lot of money to nail your packaging design, and then you receive customer service complaints about the same package arriving in pieces, instead of the piece of art it originally was.
Welcome to the world of quality control procedures for packaging and processing.
If the mere idea of a quality control checklist for your packages before you send them on their merry way to your customers sounds foreign to you, no worries. You’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading to learning everything there is to know about the critical quality control procedures you need to establish, as well as why even bother in the first place.
Quality Control Procedures for Packaging and Labeling 101: Why Bother?
Let’s start with the basics of why even put in the time and effort to put quality control procedures in place for your packages.
Well, in fear of stating the obvious, having proper packaging and labeling is rather useful. How else would your customers even know that it’s the right package unless they can tell the moment they see it?
Moreover, the quality control for print packaging is more important than its mere functionality. From a marketing perspective, packaging can truly make or break your brand image as well as whether your product (or service) would succeed and your customers would be so satisfied that they would gush about your product to their family and friends, bring in more customers.
And that brings us to the three main types of packaging.
The Primary Packaging
This type of packaging is also known as retail packaging, and it’s the material that comes in immediate contact with your product. Of course, the packaging can vary widely depending on your type of product.
Some liquid products like makeup and skincare would require some form of rigid primary packagings like jars and bottles. Or even food products like soda, the primary package would be the can itself.
The Secondary Packaging
This packaging is the layer used to ship, carry, or even sell the items that already have primary packaging in place.
For example, think about the fun-sized candy put on sale during Halloween. They come in a big bag to carry the individually wrapped candy.
The Tertiary Packaging
Tertiary packaging is the ugliest of the bunch. After all, this is the packaging that’s used to send items in bulk, and -usually- wouldn’t be seen by customers.
The whole purpose of tertiary packaging is to protect the goods during the shipping process or group multiple items together. Basically, it makes it much easier to handle the ones responsible for handling and transporting the products, like wooden pallets that are used to transport cans of soda and beer.
The Quality Control Checks for Premium Packaging
Now that you have a deeper understanding of what the different types of packages are, as well as why you should care, it’s time to take a look at the main quality control checks you’ll want to integrate into your packaging process.
Consider it an inspection checklist, so your inspector can have a form of document as a guide.
Clear and Legible Shipping Marks on the Outer Packaging
You’ll want to check (and double-check) that all the country of origin markings, consignee marks, the carton number, the handling marks, and the size and weight markings all match the information you have in your purchase order.
If you don’t give this step the attention it deserves, you’ll be facing a big host of problems, like your carton would be mishandled, be left abandoned because it’s unrecognizable, and been not delivered to the right location.
Getting the Right Assortment and Number of Units
Depending on your specifications, you’ll want the number of retail cartons in every master carton and the number of units within the retail cartons to match your order.
Moreover, you’ll want to check that the assortment of products is also correct to avoid running into problems once your shipment actually makes it to your retailer.
The Package Material, Printing, Contents, Color, and Size Match the Sample
Your inspector should have a signed sample of your wanted packaging and have all of the details and specifications for the package on hand.
Whether it’s the printing or the material, it should be verified. Then, the colors should match your selected Pantone color specifications and your assigned measurements.
Appropriate Sealing Methods Have Been Taken
You’ll want to prevent the nightmare-ish scenario of having your packages unraveling mid shipment.
For this reason, you’ll want to check the structural integrity of your cartons, the sealing methods (like tape), the strapping methods (like a nylon band), and the binding methods (like glue).
Perform the Carton Drop Test
Usually, to conduct a carton drop test, the carton would be held at a pre-specified height depending on the carton’s weight. Then, the carton is dropped from different angles multiple times.
This is done to ensure that the carton will survive to its final destination, without any of your retail packaging or products getting damaged in the process.
Accurate and Clear Barcodes and Labeling
Regardless of the type of labeling or barcodes that you have on your packages, they should scan easily, and also match your purchase order information.
Furthermore, the barcodes shouldn’t be too close to the edge of the sticker, so that it doesn’t get damaged, scratched, or creased. As always, you’ll want to take all of the precautions so that you don’t run into difficulties during transportation.
Understanding the Quality Control System
We know that if you’re a small business owner, or you’re entering the field of physical products, it can be a bit overwhelming getting to understand the packaging quality control procedures for the first time.
Hopefully, our guide has illuminated the best ways for you to refine your quality control procedures, and streamline the shipping process as much as possible.
Remember that you’ll want to conduct reviews and evaluations of your process frequently, so you can tweak and change up the process for the better. It’s the only way for your business to achieve continuous improvement.