Quality today serves as the biggest differentiator in the packaging industry. Companies find they can quickly and cost-effectively produce packages, and these packages can be environmentally sound while still failing to meet the customer’s expectations for quality. If this happens, the client will probably reject the entire run, leaving the packaging provider with a product it cannot use. This cuts into the producer’s profits and nobody wants this.
When a package fails a quality test, the entire relationship with the customer could be damaged or destroyed. Although customers take into account sustainability, lead time, and cost efficiency, among others, quality takes the top spot. This holds true for all industries, but packaging faults in certain sectors could have serious consequences, such as in the pharmaceutical industry. This is where zero-fault packing comes into play, and many companies now look to this option when they feel changes need to be made in their packaging.
Why is Zero-Fault Packaging Becoming So Popular?
Quality control employees no longer exist in most companies. These businesses found they had to eliminate these positions because of increasing competition and tightening margins. As a result, fault-free packing became essential, and many consider it to be the Holy Grail for their company. Today, the packaging manufacturer accepts the responsibility of ensuring only quality products make it to their customers. As mentioned above, certain industries rely on zero-fault packing. A mistake on a pharmaceuticals package could mean death for the patient, so companies cannot discount the importance of zero-fault packaging today, and this packing needs to come in short runs with short lead times.
The packaging provider now bears the responsibility of delivering packaging to a customer with zero defects, as the name implies. Any company that accomplishes this goal will find customer loyalty increases. The industry started working toward this goal two decades ago, and today more clients demand a provider achieve this goal if they want to keep the client’s business.
When a client signs a contract with a provider, they put their quality requirements into the contract in extensive detail. Furthermore, they add information about any potential penalties the packaging provider will face if they cannot or do not comply with these requirements.
As companies now must adhere to specific key performance indicators, a mistake by the packaging provider could lead to a loss of customers for the client. They monitor the contracts and manufacturers find their clients mark the down for everything from a packaging fault to late delivery. In fact, packaging providers continue to see an increase in customers making claims of defects when the company delivers the order.
The Strict Climate
Many errors can occur during the production process. For instance, when a company hot foil stamps a package, the foil register or hologram position could bring about problems. Additionally, issues might arise with the quality and consistency of the stamping. When the company uses offset printing, color variations could appear or oil or water blotches might mar the package.
Solitary waste pieces and register problems plague some die-cutting jobs, and the folding-gluing stage remains packed with potential hazards. These include over-gluing, under-gluing, and overall consistency issues, among others.
Quality non-compliance remains a serious concern, and packaging manufacturers find they can no longer risk making errors in this area. Packaging buyers want reassurance that the provider can provide quality products consistently to help them stay ahead of the competition and ensure customer loyalty.
A Holistic Process
Packaging providers must meet these threats head on, and zero-fault packing helps them achieve this goal. However, the company must examine the whole holistic process when doing so. For instance, a packaging provider must review its entire organizational structure. Altering a single component won’t be enough to meet the needs of customers. They need to examine the materials and technology used to manufacture packages along with staff members responsible for handling various projects.
First and foremost, the company must value its quality ethos and ensure everyone working within the company adheres to this ethos. Consistency in products comes from consistency within the organization. Representation of these guiding beliefs starts at the top, which means the leadership of the organization must make quality control a top priority. For this reason, employees responsible for ensuring the quality of packages should work directly with senior management. This ensures nothing gets lost when the employees share information and communication lines remain open at all times.
Another way to oversee quality within an organization involves achieving accreditation to industry standards. For example, a packaging provider might choose to become accredited with regard to ISO 9000. Another option involves implementing processes like six sigma or total quality management. These processes provide tools and techniques designed to improve business operations across the board. With the use of these processes, companies find they can provide on-demand products that customers truly value.
Every employee must adhere to the company ethos. How can a business ensure this is the case? Training becomes of great importance when an organization is working toward this goal, as qualified individuals who undergo regular training feel valued by the organization. They understand the business remains committed to their individual success and the success of the organization as a whole.
With this training, every person working on a project understands what happens when they finish their work and send it down the line as well as how their job fits into the overall manufacturing process. However, the employees make up only one part of the equation. Materials used in the packaging process and the technology employed are of great importance as well.
When reviewing company processes, organizations cannot overlook the materials used to create the products, the tooling, the machinery, and the quality control measures put into place. When all aspects are examined, the consistency and precision required by today’s consumer increases and the business benefits.
Packaging providers need to use high-quality materials. This includes any raw materials, like the ink, varnish, and board. Furthermore, tooling required for processes such as embossing and die-cutting needs to undergo review at this time.
It might tempt manufacturers to cut corners when sourcing materials used for packaging, but doing so often turns out to be a mistake. While using superior suppliers costs more, they see the return on investment in terms of customer loyalty.
Packaging manufacturers must invest in quality machines when moving to zero-fault packaging. The new machines function to ensure consistency and precision with every piece produced, and this holds true for die-cutting, hot-foil stamping, and folding-gluing. However, owning the right machinery serves as only one piece of the puzzle, and packaging manufacturers must recognize this.
To get the most from this machinery, companies must put a maintenance and service program into place and ensure they maintain the established schedule. Although it might seem prudent to hold off on maintenance or repair until a certain project is complete, doing so could actually put operations behind schedule. Furthermore, it could lead to defects in the items produced. The maintenance and service program helps ensure the machine delivers mandatory precision when creating these items.
In addition, companies need to put quality control systems in place to monitor production throughout the manufacturing process. They must carry out random sampling during production, and companies need to invest in automated in-line systems designed to detect shoddy workmanship and other problems. These detection devices look for things such as incorrectly applied adhesive or improper folding of the packages.
Until recently, companies oversaw quality control measures manually. However, because of the increase in production outputs, manual checks are no longer workable. Companies could run finished packages through an off-line unit to ensure their quality, but this adds to the setting and running times. This increases the turnaround time, which customers don’t appreciate. They want their product in a timely manner, and any quality control measures and devices put into place cannot negatively impact the plant’s productivity.
Thanks to advances in technology, such as improvements in image processing and high-speed cameras, companies now benefit from built-in no-fault quality control devices in their folding and gluing equipment. These devices examine every package, in-line, prior to the carton being boxed and sent to the customer. Every package goes through this inspection process to ensure it meets all quality control guidelines. Thanks to this inspection, customers find they feel more confident purchasing packages from the manufacturer. They realize the provider has identified all potential defects in products and any defective items were removed from the supply chain before they reach the consumer.
Thanks to the internet, companies have more choices than ever before when it comes to selecting a packaging provider. Quality needs to be the top priority of every company, and packaging providers must provide quality products at competitive prices. Zero-fault packaging can be of help to companies looking to achieve this goal. Those organizations implementing this technology find customer loyalty increases in a climate that is increasingly turbulent. For this reason, zero-fault packaging becomes a necessary and valuable investment for every company providing packages for any purpose.