This article includes steps to aid in the preparation and the execution of a trial that will guarantee a successful and conclusive test. When preparing for a trial, it is important to identify the 7 Ps: Purpose, Packaging, Product, Plant, People, Papers, and the Plan.
Defining the problem and determining its scope provides the purpose and goals of the packaging trial.
• Is there a new product being commercialized?
• Are there consumer complaints?
• Is there a more sustainable option?
• Are there shelf-life failures?
• Are we seeing damage to the packaging prior to ship or during distribution?
When evaluating what to test in a packaging trial, consider the primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging. The trial should not be limited to only the materials touching the product. Considering all of the packaging components allows you to think outside of the box when an issue arises or
avoid those issues in the first place.
The Product is the item we are protecting and will be key in identifying problems on the line.
• Identify the product, its unique needs, and its life cycle.
• Identify the product, unique product needs, and its life cycle.
• Can the product be stored prior to the trial?
• Will the product be transported on a refrigerated truck or temperature-controlled transport?
It is important to thoroughly review the manufacturing site to evaluate any unique conditions that might impact the packaging.
• Is this a co-manufacturer or a plant owned by the company?
• Which plants are currently running the product?
• Are the warehouse and manufacturing site connected?
• Do all plants that will run the product have similar equipment?
The team involved with the trial is just as significant as the packaging being tested. Understanding who will need to approve the test plan and results makes the trial process more efficient. A distribution list typically includes the plant manager, quality control, and product development, as
well as any cross-functional team members that may need to approve samples or results.
Packaging needs a thorough and well-defined documentation process to provide cohesion and keep the trial process on track. Sample documentation includes:
• A Design Brief
• Trial Request Forms
• HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)
• Labels/Packaging for Samples
The trial plan encompasses all other essential items in the preparation list. The plan should outline the other essential considerations for the trial, including the purpose, plant location, and details about the product such as its weight and all sizes in scope for the trial. The purpose should be stated concisely, but thoroughly cover the goals and what packaging will be evaluated during the trial.
Planning Your Trial
Focusing on the 7 Ps allows you to adequately prepare for your trial and enables damage reduction and associated costs. This helps to eliminate packaging-related recalls, optimize the distribution cycle and ensure the consumer receives the product in good condition.
Working with a team like Adept to help you execute your trial has numerous benefits, such as a proven methodology, reduced interruptions or refocusing of attention for the internal team, and proven results. If you’d like more detailed information on this topic, check out our recently published white paper on the topic.
If you need help conducting a successful line trial, contact us.