A package without integrity is not a package,
it’s just a folder.
The one thing about being in the packing business is that, once you’ve been exposed to the industry, you’ll never walk into any store again, without taking a closer look the packaging. After 30 years in this business, I hardly even see the products anymore; all I see are shelves full of packaging! I’ll be the first to admit, that this can cause some level of distress when hitting the Club Stores with the wife, as I have a tendency to make far too many stops along the aisles.
On one recent mission through a Club Store, I could not help but notice a nice new pallet of Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Sunscreen Packs packed in the usual oversized multipack trapped blister card. These cards are popular because they allow you to instantly see the products, and their eye-catching graphics catch your attention like a billboard along the freeway! As an added bonus, these large packs also deter theft!
Still wearing my official packaging designer hat, I could not help but notice that there was a problem with the Ultra Sheer package. There was a gaping hole on one side of the card where the two cards should have been welded together. After closer inspection, I found that with minimal effort, I could easily open the package and let the products slip free straight out of the pack!! From what I could see, it appeared that at least 70% of the pallet was defective. And with no sensor tags or sensors at Club Stores check out, what better opportunity could a sun-loving thief possibly seek?
There are several methods to make club cards. This one happened to be constructed using “Cold Seal” technology. Cold seal uses a dry gum type adhesive that is applied to two cards when you press them together; they stick to themselves. Cold Seal is convenient for many companies as it requires little to no sealing tools. However, cold seal adhesive has a limited shelf life and delivering a good coating on corrugated board can occasionally be inconsistent. In this particular case, there was a complete lack of adhesive where the opening was.
We’ve have seen consistency issues with cold seal in years past, and this is why we never integrated it into our packing operations at Eden. After much research, we found that using blister coating and a heat sealing process was far more trustworthy and reliable. We often package expensive products that ship to almost every major retail and Club Store in the US. With our name and reputation on the line, there is no possible way that we can ever allow any compromised package to ever leave our shop. This leads me to my next point, Quality Control!
When blister packs or any form of packaging travel through a packaging facility, regardless of the amount of automation, there are always several points of human contact within the production process. From the crew at the front of the line who extract the cards from sealing machines to the people at the end of the line who load finished products into the master packs, there is an opportunity for at least 2, if not 4 opportunities per pack, to perform a brief QC inspection. After all, a package without integrity is not a package; it’s just a folder.
In this situation, potentially hundreds of cards slipped through production handlers hands without any inspection. How can this possibly happen you ask, it’s simple. It’s due to a basic lack of training and production supervision. Over the past 5 years, Eden has packed and shipped well over 5 million club packs and blister cards and not once, have we experienced one reject, one return, one claim, or even a chargeback. Knock-on-wood, but words cannot even begin to describe how proud I am of our team at Eden as they are the ones, who to make our shop one of the best in the west!