What best practices for ecommerce packaging are emerging?

Is there a standard transit test packaging departments are using for their ecommerce shipments? Are most companies integrating their growing ecommerce enterprise with their brick-and-mortar business? Finally, some answers.

Packaging Digest asked attendees to our July 18, 2017, webinar “Ecommerce Packaging: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Right from the Start” these two questions to get a sense of where the industry is at this point.

Regarding transit packaging tests, no clear winner emerged. By a narrow margin (less than a full percentage point), 30.5% of poll takers say they are not currently testing their transit packaging—makes me wonder what their damage rates are. Nearly 30% of respondents chose the ISTA 3a test from the Intl. Safe Transit Assn., with almost 23% saying they use the ISTA 6 standard, which is the protocol used by Amazon. A bit more than 17% are using some other test, perhaps a proprietary one. This question had 128 people responding.

Regarding business integration, the majority of respondents (65.2%) either partially or fully integrate ecommerce into their core business. Does it surprise you that it’s that high?

Less than half (46.1%) integrate some functions their ecommerce and traditional retail distribution operations. Nearly one-fifth (19.1%) are fully integrated. Just less than 15% of respondents tell us ecommerce business is totally separate. Another one-fifth don’t know. A total of 115 people answered this poll question.


4 steps to efficient ecommerce packaging

Webinar presenter Laura Flanigan, director of client engagement for More from Less USA, shared a lot of data and advice. She summarizes:

“It is clear change is coming—retail as we know it will never be the same. This change will affect your packaging because ecommerce distribution simply requires different approaches to packaging in terms of the number of touch points, brand engagement and the function of the package.

“The time is now to start building a strategy for the future. If you plan the journey and take it one step at a time, you can get there in a way that is not only achievable but efficient and strategic as well.”

Her steps to doing it efficiently: 

1. Take stock of your current reality in terms of how product moves through your supply chain inbound, outbound, in the warehouse and for returns.

2. Make sure you know how to measure your performance, and understand where your business is growing in terms of ecommerce. 

3. Then, develop a plan with time-bound milestones, category by category, for what you’ll try to achieve this year and in the future.

4. Next, plan with measurable clarity—and execute, execute, execute. The goal here is to minimize ad hoc or reactive design changes—being proactive will save you money, even if you decide to wait to address certain issues.

Flanigan concludes with, “There is no silver bullet for how and when to move to an ecommerce or omni-channel package. You may decide there are some issues you cannot, or choose not to, tackle with respect to optimal ecommerce packaging. The goal with this effort is to outline and understand those issues so you are making informed decisions about how they impact your business.”

You can view the nearly 1-hour webinar, including the then-live Q&A, on-demand by clicking here.


Learn about the latest developments in ecommerce packaging at MinnPack 2017 (Nov. 8-9; Minneapolis). Register today!

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/optimization/what-best-practices-for-ecommerce-packaging-are-emerging-2017-07-20

Productive engineers are (mostly) happy in their work

Would you keep working if money was not an issue? Chances are, if you’re an engineer, you would. A high percentage of engineers say they are satisfied or very satisfied in their jobs, and believe hard work is a key to success. They have a few challenges, though, like trying to keep up with rapidly-changing technologies.

The Advanced Manufacturing sector of UBM, parent of Packaging Digest, sponsored a study this spring to learn more about our engineering community. You can download results of the full study below to find out whether engineers identity more with inventors Tesla or Edison, and which superhero reflects their personalities most. You can also find out what they think about outsourcing, supplier competency, favorite social media platforms, most influential inventions and other current issues.

The following insights come from this research and are just some highlights I thought would appeal to our packaging engineers.


Happy workers

Most engineers (82%) are satisfied or very satisfied with the work they do. Only 5% are dissatisfied or not at all satisfied.


NEXT: Not in it for the money


Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/optimization/productive-engineers-are-mostly-happy-in-their-work-2017-07-20

Medical thermoform-fill-sealer is versatile

The Medical 8000S thermoform-full-seal machine produces a wide range of packaging including flexible packaging, semi-rigid packaging, rigid packaging, modified atmosphere packaging and more. 


The Medical 8000S thermoform-fill-seal (TFS) machine from Ossid (Battleboro, NC), a Pro Mach company, provides medical and dental product suppliers and co-packers with customizable packaging that improves throughput while lowering material costs.

The Medical 8000S is rated at up to 20 cycles per minute for moderate to high production rate operations. It produces a variety of package types, including flexible packaging, foil-foil packaging, semi-rigid packaging, rigid packaging, ambient packaging, vacuum packaging, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), recloseable packaging and more.

Compared to horizontal flow-wrap systems, the Ossid Medical 8000S provides a faster, more efficient method of production. Customers who switch from flow wrapping to an Ossid TFS line will see a cost savings from thermoforming rather than purchasing pre-molded packaging.

“When customers are replacing premade containers, they have savings in space and inventory costs,” says Jason Angel, vp sales and marketing, Ossid.

Users have the option of specifying the PLC and HMI hardware best suited to their unique environment and application. For customers interested in the utmost in hands free operation, an innovative pick and place system is available.

Angel tells Packaging Digest there are several machines are already in the field, though the names of customers are confidential.

“This is an Allen-Bradley [Rockwell Automation] controls-based machine with non-proprietary components,” Angel points out. “It has capability with upstream and downstream processes utilizing Pro Mach complete systems and can utilize ZPI software, providing complete line efficiency reporting.”

ZPI software (shown above) is an option that provides automated information, KPI dashboards, custom reporting and more related to operational efficiency. ZPI also offers on-the-go mobile access.

The 8000S is built using a rugged stainless-steel platform for low vibration and precision movement for long years of service. A servo-motion controlled web conveying drive is another contributor to overall machine optimization and quality operation.

Change parts are readily available as is expert technical support. Category 3 safety systems, ergonomically designed access to the forming and sealing stations, intuitive operator interface, automatic splice detection, and more, round out the machine’s standard features.

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/thermoforming/medical-tfs-versatile1707

Packaging vision and execution define top award winners

The top winners in this year’s Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) AmeriStar Package Awards Competition showed the rest of us how it’s done, combining innovation with practicality and design creativity with real-life usability.

The Best of Show Award went to Locked4Kids, for its child-resistant, senior-friendly drug package; Eaton’s Neo-Ray light fixture package was awarded the Design Excellence Award; and Sealed Air took home the Sustainable Packaging Award for its curbside-recyclable TempGuard Insulated Liners.

The AmeriStar judges considered more than 80 packages in the 2017 competition. Their judging criteria included packaging innovation, product protection, performance, environmental impact, economics and marketing. See all the winners here.


Best of Show: Locked4Kids certified child-resistant and senior-friendly reclosable package

Locked4Kids, an entrant in the drug and pharmaceutical category, won Best of Show this year. The Best of Show Award “honors a package that surpasses all judging criteria and that [the AmeriStar] judges unanimously rated ‘outstanding’” on all criteria, according to IoPP. Locked4Kids’s award-winning package is child resistant (CR), senior friendly (SF) and reclosable.

The package’s primary CR feature has a squeeze-and-pull design: The consumer must press two tabs simultaneously to access the medication inside the carton. Watch a demonstration here. Locked4Kids’ unique twist on the design is to place the tabs diagonally on either side of the carton, far enough apart that a child’s hand cannot span both tabs.

Consumers press the tabs with one hand, and use their other hand to slide a plastic tray out of the carton. The tray holds medicine in a blister pack or other pack format. The package structure locks the filled tray into the carton and also locks the blister packs into the tray. To provide an extra layer of child resistance, the carton material incorporates a high-strength, tear-resistant film lamination that withstands tearing and biting. The package has an F=1 certification for child resistance.

And yet the package is easy for adults, including seniors, to use. Very little grip strength is required to press the squeeze-and-pull tabs, and an adult’s hand can easily reach both tabs. In tests, 100% of seniors opened the package on the first try and with no instructions.

“The most challenging element of the design process was the fine-tuning to achieve a very high score on Child Resistant whilst maintaining a 100% score on Senior Friendliness,” says Iwan Heynen, technical director at Locked4Kids. “We continued this process even after the package was certified, which is the AmeriStar-winning Locked4Kids version 2.0 package.”

Notably, the package is compatible with high-speed production. “The most innovative element is the fact that the CR/SF packaging platform is based with a ‘standard’ folding carton,” Heynen says. “This allows the drug manufacturer and packager to efficiently fill the cartons with their existing cartoning equipment, which minimizes the time, space and investment involved with adopting a new package format.”

He adds, “On the materials side, most folding carton converters have the capability to make the Locked4Kids cartons, which allows supply-chain efficiency.” Both the carton and tray are recyclable.

The package concept can also be used for many types of products.

Locked4Kids is based in The Netherlands and operates a Delaware-based U.S. subsidiary.


Next: Eaton’s Design Excellence Award



Create your own award-worthy package with help from leading suppliers. Find them at PackagingDigest.com/Directory or meet them in person at MinnPack 2017 (Nov. 8-9; Minneapolis), which is celebrating its 15th year. Register today!


Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/packaging-vision-and-execution-define-top-award-winners-2017-07-20