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What does it mean to have good quality? 

The answer to this question will be different depending on who you ask, but whose opinion really matters anyways?  And why is it important to define quality for each individual part or product you manufacture?

Before I go further, I want to make it clear that the customer defines the word, “Quality.”

Know the Expectations:
The quality specifications should be clear in the initial quote phase and should carry through to production.  Knowing what the customer’s expectations are for their packaging is important.  Using a higher grade material when not needed can cost the customer significantly more money than expected.  Don’t assume!

Know Your Materials and Process:
Knowing the capabilities of your materials and process is key to understanding what specifications need to be defined with the customer.  Since there is a clarity difference between utility grade RPET and virgin PET, which one do they need?  What type of quality is being requested?  Is a spot color being expected for their company logo and you are running 4 color process in your printing operation?  Know what your materials and processes are capable of and define the variables that exist.

Agree on the Criteria:
Once the variables are identified, agreed upon standards need to be set.  For printing, it is important to get light/dark standards.  For thermoforming, it is important to agree upon how many imperfections are allowed in the plastic.  For contract packaging, you need to agree on the appearance of the finished product.

Unfortunately, many companies have scrapped acceptable parts and have also sent inferior product to the customer only to find out that their views of “Quality”, didn’t match.

For further information on creating quality packaging, contact Brian Pankratz at Mercury Plastics, Inc. (bpankratz@mercuryplasticsinc.com)

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