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PCA’s One-Stop Package Design and Testing Accelerates Your Speed to Market

It’s no secret that consumer trends are always evolving and having an impact on retail shopping. As front door, direct-to-consumer drop-off has replaced in-store shopping experiences, suppliers and retailers are adjusting to new online shopping and shipping demands. Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) is prepared and ready to help retailers excel in this new environment. For the past two decades, PCA has integrated package testing equipment into its creative design centers across the country. This forward-thinking investment has created a speed to market advantage that provides value to customers now more than ever.

“There are many reasons to test packaging, but customers ultimately want us to be faster and smarter,” says Carmine Bucalo, Director of Creative Services at PCA. “That’s why we incorporate testing as part of the ideation process.”

A Local Approach to Better Serve Customers

Mooresville is one of the PCA design centers with expanded package testing capabilities. With more than 120 package designers and many degreed structural and packaging engineers, PCA’s design testing has accelerated production timelines for e-commerce packaging, retail packaging and point-of-purchase (POP) displays.

“A lot of the baseline testing is done right at the design centers,” Bucalo says. “We’re unique within the industry, because we have more engineers, more testing equipment and a decentralized process. This results in a higher level of service that’s designed to help customers get to market faster.”

In addition to testing at the design centers, PCA’s Technical and Development Center (TDC) is the largest package testing facility in the industry. Engineers at TDC focus on research and development and on advanced package testing.

Meeting SIOC and ISTA 6 Requirements at Design

“The goal of package testing is to minimize the risk of products being damaged when they arrive on your doorstep,” says Judson Gibbs, Mooresville Design Center Manager.

He explains that PCA has invested in integrated package testing capabilities to meet rising customer expectations for data analysis and package performance documentation. These expectations have been driven largely by Amazon’s “Ships in Own Container” (SIOC) requirements. These packaging standards have transformed package design from an art to a science.

“One of the biggest things we do for customers is reduce excess packaging materials while maintaining performance,” says Gibbs. “The goal of testing is to see the damage in the lab before you see it in shipping. If you don’t see any damage, it is likely you’re overpacking and overspending.”

All PCA testing facilities are ISTA-certified and are growing our capabilities to meet Amazon SIOC standards, partnering with customers to meet Amazon standards to minimize packaging material and number of touches needed to get products to consumers.

“That is one of the reasons why customers choose PCA,” Bucalo says. “Very early on, customers were excited when we promised them risk management and documentation to back it up. Our customers love that we add value through analysis. And they love to see risk management, because many have had disasters when they raced to get their products out to market.”

Overall, PCA’s fully integrated design and testing capabilities meet these customer goals:

  • Speed to market—Tests are conducted locally, providing more flexibility. Customers are often present during testing.
  • Better communication—Customers work directly with the design team, streamlining communication and completion time.
  • A full spectrum of testing capabilities—Typical tests include edge crush, compression, burst strength and puncture under specified temperature and humidity conditions, providing required retailer/e-tailer documentation.
  • Collaboration and cost savings—Regardless of size, PCA provides full testing and design services to all customers, resulting in production and manufacturing improvements or savings.

“If you’re going to invent packaging for the purposes of accomplishing certain performance criteria, you need to verify that before you go to manufacturing,” Bucalo adds. “In the same afternoon, PCA’s design teams can ideate, design, make samples, test and deliver data back to our customers. We can quickly and effectively help customers drive products into the supply chain faster.”

Get e-commerce products to consumers faster with PCA’s accelerated package design and testing.

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