Mhlnews 305 Transport

Transport Packaging is the New Customer Service

Sept. 1, 2007
Even when you’re the only game in town, customer service should still be a priority.

When your name is on the product, a scratch on the machine also tarnishes your reputation. That was the dilemma for Stern Pinball Inc. (Melrose Park, Ill.) and Joe Blackwell, its director of customer service. The corrugated boxes Stern company was using to ship its pinball machines was creating scuff marks during shipment. Sterns is the only coinoperated pinball machine manufacturer in the world. It produces nearly 10,000 games per year.

In seeking an answer to its problem, Blackwell was motivated to visit the Sealed Air (Danbury, Conn.) Packaging Design and Development Center in Hodgkins, Ill., and Kevin Dabrowski, its regional manager. Since the carton size had to remain the same, the two men were forced into thinking inside the box.

The initial solution to Blackwell’s problem was Instapak GGlex QS foam packaging. This special formulation, used with Sealed Air’s Speedy Packer foam-in-bag packaging was the right combination for Stern’s machines’ considerable size and weight. Small cushions were created to fit each corner, offering the best protection with the least amount of material used.

Analysis of damage to the machines indicated that the detached legs, protected in paperboard tubes, were rubbing against the machine. Dabrowski decided to notch two of the cushions so the legs could be held securely away from the body of the machine.

Along with designing five cushions for each side of the machine, Dabrowki created a fixture to help Stern employees slide each machine into the carton. The new solution requires less storage space than all the corrugated materials. Only three SKU’s are needed with the Instapak design, while 16 were required with the previous packaging system.

Global Network of Package Design, Development Centers

Sealed Air introduced its first package design and development center in 1967. Forty years later, this has grown into a network of 35 facilities worldwide; said to be the only global network of its kind. The centers provide comprehensive offerings in packaging design, testing, prototyping and tooling. The network of package design and development centers offers practical solutions for the most demanding packaging challenges with 77 fulltime packaging design professionals who complete more than 10,000 designs each year.

“Sealed Air spends twice the industry average on research and development,” says Bill Armstrong, technical development manager for Sealed Air Corporation. “This shows the commitment we have to constantly developing and improving packaging products and designs to better protect our customers’ products.”

Certified packaging professionals work directly with packaging and shipping personnel from current and prospective customers to create customized solutions that endure the rigors of shipping and ensure products arrive safely. Nearly every center has in-house tooling capabilities, allowing engineers to create custom solutions to fit a customer’s packaging needs.

The extensive network of package design and development centers includes 11 locations throughout North America. Three of these labs specialize in specific types of package design, while the remaining eight facilities can provide package design assistance for all interior protective packaging products and systems. Nine of the North American centers are certified by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). This certification provides added assurance that packages are developed and tested using widely accepted testing and evaluation standards.

Precise measurements are required to design new internal dunnage for the Sterns Pinball machine packaging.

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