Why should you test your packaging quality?

Packaging is an essential consideration for any shipping business. While you likely already compare various types of packaging materials and styles to provide the greatest protection and value, some companies may not test it – but they should. Packaging quality tests offer the confidence you need to assure customers of their order’s quality and safety.

As e-commerce and shipping grow, packaging quality assurance becomes all the more crucial. Logistics providers can’t afford to overlook packaging tests. Here’s a closer look at why and how to perform these inspections.

Why Is Packaging Quality Testing Important?

Businesses and consumers shipped 20 billion parcels in 2020, a figure that has only risen in the past five years. With such high demand, it can be tempting to focus on fast service instead of taking the time to stop and test packaging. However, so many packages changing hands every day also raises the likelihood of damage.

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to test your packaging quality.

Customer Satisfaction

The most prominent reason for quality testing is maintaining high customer satisfaction. Without testing, you can’t know for sure whether your packaging is strong enough to prevent damage in transit. If you promise secure deliveries and goods arrive broken, it could severely compromise your reputation and affect your bottom line.

The returns process is expensive. Roughly $1 million in returns can counteract $500,000 in profit, and that doesn’t even include losses from reputational damage. Disappointed customers will be less likely to use your services again and may tell others not to use them, either.

These satisfaction considerations apply to both B2C and B2B markets. Even if you don’t sell the goods themselves, you carry at least partial responsibility for shipping damage. Consequently, clients may choose to use a different logistics provider if they receive customer complaints about damaged goods.

Safety

In some situations, the types of packaging materials you use and their strength can be a matter of safety. While any broken product will disappoint customers, those made of metal, glass, ceramic, or hard plastic could injure them.

Some products could break into pieces with sharp edges if their packaging doesn’t keep them safe. This damage may not be evident from outside the package, so customers may reach in unknowingly and accidentally cut themselves. While these incidents are unlikely to cause significant injury, you still don’t want to hurt customers in any way.

Alternatively, some packages may carry products that pose hazards if they leak out of their containers. Pressurized aerosols, cleaning supplies, and flammable liquids must all stay safely in their containers to prevent illness or injury. Punctures or spills that occur during shipping could jeopardize that.

Shipping Damage Frequency

If nothing else, it’s important to test the quality of different types of packaging materials because shipping damage is common. These other factors wouldn’t be as pressing if shipping-related breakages were rare. Unfortunately, they happen fairly frequently.

Buyers return at least 30% of all e-commerce orders and 20% of these returns are because of damaged goods. Poor packaging quality could also cause an item to deteriorate in transit, so even if it arrives without damage, it may not be in top condition. Consequently, packaging concerns may account for more than that 20% of returns.

As e-commerce becomes increasingly popular, damaged orders will become more common if everything else remains the same. The rising demand for fast, affordable shipping may also cause breakages to be even more common. It’s easier to break something when you’re focusing on going as fast as possible.

How to Test Packaging Quality

Thankfully, businesses have several options for improving their packaging quality. Different types of packaging materials offer various levels of protection that companies can choose to meet their needs. Fiber interior packaging, in particular, is highly resistant to damage and made of recycled materials, so it’s eco-friendly.

After selecting the right material, businesses should consider the design to find the right balance between protection and ease of handling. Even after choosing a design, it’s important to test it to ensure it provides enough protection. Here’s what that entails.

Strength Tests

Packaging quality assurance should involve several strength tests. The most well-known of these is the edge crush test, which measures compression strength to see how packages hold up in stacks. The burst strength test is similar but applies pressure to the package’s side to provide a more general picture of the package’s strength.

Puncture tests are also important in measuring how easily an edge, finger, or sharp object can break through a package. Vibration tests evaluate how the package will hold up over rough patches of road, which can also be helpful. Businesses should also perform drop testing, where they drop a package to see how well it protects its contents.

Companies can perform these tests themselves with minimal tools. Alternatively, you can send your package to a quality-assurance lab for more precise, instrument-measured testing. Some packaging providers may also test their own products.

Environmental Tests

While strength tests are the most straightforward way to gauge packaging quality, businesses should go further. Environmental hazards like extreme weather conditions can cause unwanted damage to packages and their contents, so it’s important to test these factors, too.

Temperature and humidity are the two most important environmental factors to test packages against. These tests are more advanced, often involving placing packages in environmental conditioning chambers, so they require sending products to a testing lab.

Environmental tests should place packages in the temperature and relative humidity of their destination and any conditions they may face while in transit. That includes cold, low-humidity environments for refrigerated shipments or those traveling through cold areas in the winter.

Ensure the Highest Packaging Quality for Customers

Choosing the right types of packaging materials and designs helps ensure goods arrive safely. As fast deliveries become more common, this assurance will become increasingly crucial for success in the logistics industry. Businesses must ensure packaging quality throughout transport, and the only way to do that reliably is with testing.

Package quality testing should be a standard part of operations for logistics businesses. When you perform these tests before using a package, you can assure customers their orders will arrive without damage.

About the Author:

Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized Magazine. She has over four years of covering stories about warehousing, logistics, and distribution.

 

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