||Writing Good Box Specifications (Part 1)
Each month during our
Packaging Workshop, users of corrugated packaging will invariably raise
issues of boxes collapsing in the warehouse, jamming up in automated
case erectors, or exhibiting visible defects such as warp and skew.
Sometimes a box from one supplier works well, while another supplier's
box with the same certification stamp might perform marginally or fail
miserably. More often than not, the discussion migrates its way
into a complaint session about corrugated industry quality in general.
While corrugated quality is
an issue that can demand considerable time at these seminars, attempts
are made to steer the conversation toward more productive avenues ... in
particular, packaging specifications. Well-crafted specifications
are, in fact, a user's front line of defense against corrugated
packaging that doesnథrform, and against recurring quality problems
that elevate the cost of using corrugated boxes.
Proper use of good specifications can also improve the purchasing
process by eliminating me-too salesmanship and focusing the process on
actual performance needs. The
worst mistake many purchasing agents make when entertaining new
suppliers is giving the corrugated salesperson a box sample from which
to quote. A single box
sample given to five different corrugated sales people will likely yield
five different box quotes, most of which will fall short of actual
performance needs in one respect or another.
Having bantered about
quality issues and box specifications with several hundred users over
the last few years has provided a pretty good starting point, a sort of template
for corrugated specifications. This template is built on a few
rules, enumerated below, which should not be ignored ....