Packaging Quality Control Checklist: 3 Critical Elements

Does your packaging quality control checklist include critical elements? Find out which 3 key elements to include in your packaging checklist.

It would be devastating to produce the perfect product, only to have the packaging fail.

Your packaging is just as important as the quality of the products they contain.

That’s why it’s important to conduct a container loading check - to ensure that the correct packaging, quantities, and order details are securely loaded before releasing the final payment.

In this article, we’ll outline how to prepare for a Container Loading Check (CLC), and the 3 critical elements that are included in the packaging quality control checklist (used during the CLC).

What Steps are Needed Before a Container Loading Check?

Container Loading Checks can be carried out by an independent third-party quality control inspectors to ensure transparency.

While inspectors have knowledge and expertise concerning regulatory standards and shipping requirements, they need to know the specific packaging guidelines for your product.

This can be achieved by creating a detailed packaging quality control checklist to match your company's requirements.

3 Critical Elements of the Packaging Quality Control Checklist

When conducting a Container Loading Check, inspectors use a packaging quality control checklist that is comprised of standard internationally recognized criteria and your company’s packaging standards. Here are three critical elements of the checklist:

1. Product variety and quantity per carton.

During this step, inspectors verify that the contents of packaging cartons have two things: the correct product(s) in them, and the correct quantity of each product.

Inspectors randomly select cartons and review the stock-keeping-unit (SKU) included in that carton.

Then, they count the number of SKUs to determine if the product counts are correct or incorrect.

This ensures that your shipment contains the correct assortment of products.

2. Correct packing materials are used.

Packaging must be durable enough to survive unpredictable weather, storage conditions, and rough handling during shipping. As such, packaging and shipping cartons are usually comprised of three layers, each of which must be inspected.

Primary packaging.

This is the packaging that holds the product and is in direct contact with it.

For example, primary packaging for pharmaceuticals is the bottle or strip containing the medication. Other examples include blister packs, clamshell packaging, shrink-wrapping, paperboard, cardboard, and unit dose packs.

Secondary packaging.

Packaging that is outside of the primary packaging and is used to protect the primary packaging or group primary packages together is called the secondary packaging.

Examples include cardboard cartons, cardboard boxes, and cardboard or plastic crates.

Tertiary packaging.

Tertiary packaging is used to hold groups or stacks of cartons, such as pallets, for shipping.

Companies should take into consideration whether shipments will be in pallet loads or mixed shipments, such as those used with express carriers, and then determine the best packaging material to use.

Tertiary packaging materials might be one or more of the following: corrugated cardboard sheets and boxes, bubble-wrap, industrial shrink-wrap, polyethylene, and aluminum foil.

3. Barcodes and labeling

Missing or illegible markings on secondary packaging can cause a myriad of problems, including fines and delays.

Customs inspectors need to know where the products originate from, where they’re going, and whether the contents comply with regional regulations.

If that information isn’t visible on your packaging, customs could hold or reject your shipment.

In addition, they may fine your company based on the value of the merchandise, plus, charge money to recoup any costs incurred for transporting, storing, or disposing of the goods.

The following markings are required on the secondary packaging:

  • Purchaser’s name
  • Purchase order (PO) number
  • Number of items and descriptions
  • Carton dimensions and weight
  • Number of cartons within each set
  • Warning labels and storage instructions (e.g., “fragile,” “this side up”)
  • Barcodes

Of these, improper barcodes cause the most shipping delays.

Here are common problems which can be encountered when scanning barcodes:

  • Faded or low contrast between the lines and the background
  • Barcode is too close to the edge or of the sticker
  • Creased or damaged barcode sticker
  • Barcode is too large or too small to be scanned
  • Barcode sticker is the wrong orientation

The amount of detail required during a CLC, using the packaging quality control checklist, is extensive.

How QIMA Can Help

Mitigate the risk of your products being damaged during shipping or shipping errors going undetected by conducting a Container Loading Check.

As one of the world’s leading independent accredited quality control organizations, QIMA provides professional and transparent Container Loading Check inspections for all types of consumer products, including hardlines, softlines, and food.

Customers benefit from instant feedback with industry-standard reports delivered online so you can save time and money by making quick and informed decisions.

Our inspectors can be onsite within 48 hours and provide same-day inspection reports.

Ready to schedule your Container Loading Check inspection services?

Create your online account to get started today.