IoPP’s ISTA Event
Packaging Compliance Labs hosted the West Michigan Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) quarterly event. This event included package testing demonstrations and an exclusive presentation from Eric Hiser, the Technical Vice President of ISTA (International Safe Transit Association). It was truly a unique experience seeing Eric speak about packaging optimization standards while standing right next to a complete transit simulation set up!
Some of the key takeaways of Eric’s presentation included the details of packaging optimization, new standards, and ISTA organization initiatives. He taught us how ISTA goes about certifying labs and the processes that go into making sure everything is performed to a “T.”
How ISTA Standards “Happen”
Packaging Compliance Labs engineers and attendees learned a lot about the standard revision process and new standard creation method. It was interesting to hear how everyday labs can influence the creation and modification of existing standards. Some of the more recent notable changes included ISTA 6, ISTA 3H, and the addition of a test for reusability. All of these standards have undergone evaluation and been changed or created to fit the needs of the packaging community.
Eric explained how in the past the shipping chain was quite simple. The traditional supply chain would have suppliers, retail distribution centers, the storefronts, and customers. This simple path made for fewer transit testing methods and also more predictable “worst case scenarios” within ship testing. Nowadays, with the adoption of e-commerce, the supply chain is direct to consumer and much more difficult. Packages can go through an array of avenues, ranging from overseas suppliers to local fulfillment centers, to RideShare services, to eventual drone transportation. Additionally, the constantly changing mix of items that ship from companies like Amazon makes it incredibly difficult to predict the worst-case packaging configurations that an item can be shipped in. This complex system has called for a more rigorous set of standards that adapt to the market as shipping environments advance.
Packaging Optimization is the Golden Ticket
Overall, the presentation stressed how the optimization for packaging remains key for ISTA and the packaging industry. Packaging Compliance Labs supports ISTA’s goal to use the right test for each specialized situation to result in compliant packaging, in our case, for the medical device industry. It was evident that the best motivation forward is to leverage the community for the most effective means of keeping up with an evolving supply chain.