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3 ista views • December 2016 • Dynamic Performance Based Specifications > CONTINUED FROM FRONT COVER performance based specifications. While it is still important to capture the construction of a packaging material, it is something that should be solidified once that packaging system has shown capability to meet the performance requirement. Translating these performance levels into criteria within a packaging bill of materials (BOM) helps to ensure that your packaging design is prepared to function as intended. This dynamic interaction extends beyond elements of the primary packaging design and into the complete supply chain journey a packaged- product takes on its way to the end consumer. How all of these packaging components work together and interact with the product, especially during distribution, needs to be considered as their interaction with the hazards of the supply creates a dynamic situation that cannot be evaluated through the use of individual material tests. For this reason, the case can be made that distribution testing should be considered as part of your performance based material specifications. It can also take on a broader context to help companies understand the risks they face with a particular packaging system and particular distribution mode. Unfortunately, there is often a perception that distribution testing is a requirement set forth by a retailer or carrier and only needs to be done "just to do business." These tests should be viewed, not as a mandate that has a sole intention of benefiting someone else, but rather seen as an opportunity to afford you the same benefits as gained through the use of performance based specifications for primary packaging development. Prior experience in designing and developing packaging for the consumer goods marketplace has demonstrated to me that measuring against a performance threshold gives greater insight, and ultimately confidence, in a materials ability to survive in the marketplace. Simply documenting a material construction in hopes that this singular element will translate to performance in the dynamic real world can cause your package design to fall short of expectations. As an example, this consumer packaged goods (CPG) company placed a high value on brand image. To ensure that brand image wasn't tarnished due to color loss from sun exposure, a method was developed to hold suppliers accountable to a universal specification. There are numerous ways to manufacture the utilized materials and every supplier claimed their inks, printing methods, etc. were the best. Rather than solely including the suppliers manufacturing process for printing (i.e. surface print with electron beam cured overcoat) and limiting ourselves on the ability to compare on an apples to apples basis, a performance threshold was instituted for each tier of brands. A good, better, best model if you will. Premium branded flexible packages, for instance, were required to have a minimum 1.5 year shelf life at which point the original color should still be maintained within a 3 sigma variation from original color. This real world threshold was then translated to a laboratory evaluation of 1,000 hours in a QUV accelerated weather test chamber. Due to the array of variables that influence overall performance this isn't a one for one translation of laboratory test hours for fade resistance, but it is an excellent tool that can help understand risk associated with that environmental hazard. This method allowed for quick de-cluttering of sales pitches and reduced internal resources need to vet out potential suppliers. Performance thresholds were shared with potential vendors prior to any consideration i.e. go have it tested and show me that it can survive before we talk any further. This approach was appreciated by the vendor. They knew what was needed and could focus on more important sale elements instead spending time justifying and educating different departments on how their manufacturing process was unique but yet that their product was "equivalent" to what was currently being sourced. Another instance of a misleading specification would be specifying a poly bag solely on material thickness with the objective of resisting bag punctures. This is especially concerning if the packages ultimate intent is for the customer to carry it to their car without the bag tearing. There are numerous dynamics involved in carrying a bag and puncture resistance is only one element. This highlights a need for establishing performance thresholds and not specifications which solely document a materials construction. "Simply documenting a material construction in hopes that this singular element will translate to performance in the dynamic real world can cause your package design to fall short of expectations." > MORE ON PAGE 4

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