Improved Packaging Strategy Greatly Reduced Product Damage for Leading Medical Equipment Manufacturer

In a recent project, a leading medical equipment manufacturer dealing with high damage rates engaged Chainalytics’ Packaging Optimization team to design a best-in-class packaging solution to allow for safe handling, transport, and damage reduction. 

Each year, millions of people across North America are admitted into temporary and long-term medical care facilities for a variety of reasons. For those staying overnight, it’s imperative they have the best available care and receive as much comfort as possible until they are able to return home. So when a leading medical equipment manufacturer was experiencing a high rate of product damage when shipping a specific patient care product, they knew a change was needed if they were going continue to meet customer needs.  

Having recently shifted production within North American countries, the company had failed to properly vet their packaging strategy and were experiencing significant cost increases related to a product line with some unique challenges due to its large size and irregular shape. The organization, seeking to maximize trailer densities, was shipping the product in a precarious position, but the challenges presented by the product shape, packaging inconsistency and substandard shipping method created a high risk for a tip-over hazard, product damage, and several unsafe conditions concerning handling, loading, and unloading. The damage rates were becoming excessive, so the manufacturer enlisted Chainalytics’ packaging engineers to find a cure for its chronic damage issues.

To begin the project, the Chainalytics team needed to perform on-site assessments of the co-manufacturer locations, as well as the client’s distribution center (DC), in order to map the current-state flow, processes, and supply chain hazards. This would allow the team to generate a distribution map that identified the root causes of the damage signal so they could begin putting a solution in place. From there, the team conducted a detailed assessment at the organization’s southeast DC where the bulk of damage instances were occurring. Throughout the visits, the packaging optimization experts identified multiple hazards and confirmed the damage rates were amplified due to the fact the organization was using an inefficient metal bracketing system to fasten the large product to shipping pallets.

With the key damage component identified, the team began developing a new shipping and packaging methodology to ensure all items arrived safely and damage-free. To better determine an effective design, the team would need to evaluate the current state of test protocols as well as develop new protocols for the packaging concept being considered. After numerous evaluation and design discussions, Chainalytics’ packaging engineers determined a custom “cradle pallet” design would be the best solution for the manufacturer, while still meeting trailer load density requirements.

With the new design in mind, the team developed a pallet breakdown and “kitting” strategy to be implemented at the DC. The new system involved using a “cleated” panel to attach a single product model to a 48 x 40 pallet, far more effective than the basic stretch wrap methodology the DC team was currently employing. To make sure the new design could handle the numerous supply chain hazards identified in the initial assessments, the team performed internal testing at the Chainalytics test lab to expedite the validation stage process. Furthermore, the team developed “form” and “fit” design protocols on multiple product models to ensure all items received the proper protection and preventative measurements. Finally, to verify all design aspects could withstand “real-world” applications, the team performed distribution testing with the selected concepts and product models.

Working hand-in-hand with manufacturer’s leadership and DC staff allowed Chainalytics’ packaging engineers to determine the best course of action and initial implementation of the new packaging solution has already reduced damage rates by as high as 60% with the expectation of increased percentages. Having recently discussed the design outcome with the manufacturer, the client remarked “the new packaging for our products has been good” as they have seen a significant decrease in damage rates.

The client further commented, adding “the new design is well liked by our tech service associates in terms of the ease of removing the item from the pallet. Thanks a lot for all the efforts the Chainalytics team has put in to develop the packaging for our products. We look forward to working with you all once again when the next opportunity arises.” The manufacturer’s successful engagement with Chainalytics’ Packaging Optimization team has ensured that long-term care facilities can continue to focus on patient health while providing them the comfortable environment they need and deserve. 

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