Multi-year global root cause analysis project led by Smithers experts to become an industry standard

Multi-year global root cause analysis project led by Smithers experts to become an industry standard

In December of last year, a work group chaired by Technical Director Michael Kuebler submitted a new testing protocol to ISTA for publication. The new protocol seeks to address a perceived gap in the standardized procedure for load stability testing that has been discussed throughout the industry in recent years.
 
“Some of our clients have experienced issues in the field when it comes to load stability and non-restrained horizontal events,” said Kuebler. “A non-restrained event is any horizontal impact that occurs when the load isn’t braced against any sort of bulkhead or structure, so there’s nothing that can halt the movement of the pallet after it’s been hit.”
 
The need for this particular procedure comes from lightweighting trends in recent years. Sustainability and cost-saving initiatives have led to packaging material reductions and, as a result, compromised structural integrity. This has led to challenges when loads encounter horizontal events they cannot absorb, including damaged product and associated financial loss, time lost picking up toppled pallets, and safety concerns throughout the supply chain.
 
Distribution testing experts at Smithers laboratories in the United States and the United Kingdom have done several years of root cause analysis and test development around these non-restrained events and associated challenges. Last year, Kuebler’s team in Lansing, Michigan, partnered with other testing suppliers, brand owners, ISTA, and professors from Michigan State University to write a testing procedure that specifically addresses the need for more comprehensive load stability testing.
 
“We’ve used anecdotal evidence correlated with field issues and laboratory data to develop a successful procedure for our clients,” said Kuebler. “A standardized, public procedure would mean the industry as a whole could leverage this procedure and benefit from what we’ve learned and the work we’ve done over the past few years.”
 
To learn more about Smithers’ distribution testing and supply chain consulting services, get in touch with Tim Rice at 517-322-2400 or trice@smithers.com. You can also connect with Tim and Michael on LinkedIn.