Increasing Requirements for Packaging in Supply Chain Management

When we know better we do better and that is exactly what is happening in supply chain management. We now know that waste coming from supply chains around the world are bad for the environment on so many levels and we also know now that reusing is a more effective packaging option.

Sometimes it takes people a while to get on board with new ideas no matter how you present them. You would think keywords like “cost effectiveness” and “longer life” would perk up any manager’s ears but unfortunately that is not always the case. In the race to get the products to market many organizations are slow to adopt new packaging requirements.

For right now the packaging requirements are changing slowly but they are about to pick up speed. The way the world does business is changing because it has to.

collar dividersKeeping the environment healthy is dependent upon industry changing the way they do business. Packaging is taking a front seat in those changes. 

Tighter rules and regulations that govern shipping and even how products are displayed are starting to change around the globe.

At some point in the very near future it will not be an option to adopt new packaging it will become a necessity. For many organizations those changes are happening right now. Any organizations that work with dangerous products, supplies and goods are already feeling the pinch of the increasing requirements that govern packaging.

The requirements are set to start transforming to include many other products where the packaging is considered wasteful and excessive.

Every organization has the opportunity to start making the packaging changes that they need to make to stay in compliance on their own or they can hang around and wait for those changes to become mandatory and scuttle around at the last minute to make those changes.

What You Should Be Doing Right Now

To get ahead of the increasing requirements for packaging in supply chain management you will have to take a look at your packaging and determine:

  • What does the lifecycle look like?
  • Does it meet the ISPM 15 requirements?
  • Can your packaging meet the up coming changes in the requirements and grow with your firm?

Upcoming changes are coming very quickly that will require for some industries in certain countries to use only certain packaging that has a purposeful design and a long lifecycle. ISPM 15 certification is a requirement in the following countries with more jumping on board:

Argentina Israel Senegal
Packaging declaration required
Jamaica Seychelles
Bolivia Japan South Africa
Brazil Jordan South Korea
USA exemption
Kenya Sri Lanka
Chile Lebanon Switzerland
China Malaysia Syria (Syrian Arab Rep.)
Colombia Mexico Taiwan
Costa Rica New Caledonia Tanzania
Cuba New Zealand Thailand
Dominican Republic Nicaragua Trinidad/Tobago
Ecuador Nigeria Tunisia
Egypt North Korea Turkey
European Union (EU) Norway Ukraine
FIJI Oman United States of America
Export only at this time
Guatemala Panama Uruguay
Guyana Paraguay Venezuela
Honduras Peru Vietnam
Hong Kong Philippines Yemen
India Russian Federation Zimbabwe
Indonesia Samoa

ISPM 15 regulations are becoming more and more prevalent. Without the ISPM 15 stamp whether your country requires it or not you will not be able to ship to countries that do require the stamp. It will not be too long before every single developed country will require that pallets and other wooden crates have this stamp.

Getting ahead of the upcoming changes may mean having a trusted packaging consultant in your corner.  The changes are coming quickly and thy are affecting everything from the type of pallets you use (whether they are treated to ISPM requirements or not) and the types of packaging that you use.

The EU published new regulations in February 2015 “The CLP Regulation was published in the Official Journal 31 December 2008 and entered into force on 20 January 2009. According to the Regulation, the deadline for substance classification according to the new rules will be 1 December 2010. For mixtures, the deadline will be 1 June 2015. The CLP Regulation will ultimately replace the current rules on classification, labelling and packaging of substances”

For international transport purposes, classification and labelling systems mirror the international transport regulations for all modes of transport. The Commission Services responsible for implementation in transport have introduced GHS, in the framework of the Directives on Transport of Dangerous Goods, based on the “Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations”. For the maintenance of the legal instruments and codes governing the international transport of dangerous goods is within the remits of the Sub-Committee of Experts of the Transport of Dangerous Goods SCE TDG).”

Of course “dangerous or hazardous” goods have always required specialty packaging but the biggest difference now is that the definition of what is dangerous goods has been greatly expanded. So the new rules may not seem very different when it comes to packaging but the items that fall under these rules is where you find the changes.

The UN has been charged with creating a globalized system for the packaging, transporting and labeling of goods that have been determined to be “dangerous”.

According to recent releases on the CLP site -The UN Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (CETDG/GHS) is responsible for strategic issues, whereas the Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS (SCE GHS) is responsible for technical issues, such as:

  • acting as custodian of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), managing and giving direction to the harmonisation process;
  • keeping the system up to date;
  • promoting understanding and use of the system.

Both the Committee and the Sub-Committee report to the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

The SCE GHS might request the OECD, as one of its technical focal points, to examine the possibilities for developing criteria for health or environmental hazards.

Basically the harmonization process means that you will have to make changes to your packaging very soon. It may also mean that some of the liquids that you use in the production of your products may now become considered hazardous or dangerous.

pallet collar

When the new list is revised and it is often revised to include new liquids and other substances that are not currently delegated as hazardous or dangerous it can greatly affect your supply chain packaging processes.

Typically a few months before changes come into full effect there are good indications that are circulating about what the changes will be and how you can meet the requirements. It is always best to meet the new changes head on before they become rules so that your organization is not scurrying around trying to get packaging needs fulfilled with a short suspense deadline.

Is the packaging that you are using right now flexible enough to grow with the soon to be new requirements? Can your current packaging fit the bill into the future? If you answered no or that you are unsure the time to change that answer to yes or to get sure is now.

If you wait until the requirements become effective and the changes are imminent you will risk losing sales, work stoppage and a slow ineffective supply chain.

Effective packaging options are options that are flexible and that exceed the current requirements with an eye to the future coming changes.

Keeping Up With the News

Either designate someone in your organization or get a consultant on board that can keep you abreast of the newest packaging requirements/regulations it is far easier to designate one person or to get a consultant on board to keep up with the changes then it is to try to keep up with them yourself.

A consultant that specializes in packaging requirements can easily give you the right direction that you need to keep your business compliant. Of course a consultant will also be able to identify the best packaging solutions to suit the needs of your business.

Keeping abreast of the latest changes including what is considered “dangerous” is imperative to a smooth productive supply chain. If you choose to stay in house you can create a position that specifically has the duty of following the up coming changes and doing the research to find the best options for packaging.

Change is coming and it is coming in waves. Packaging requirements are changing for everything from palletizing goods to the type of flexible packaging and fillers that you can use. More and more changes will come to help reduce, reuse and reclaim to benefit the climate.  As more countries become more serious about reducing the effects on the climate more stringent rules will be passed regarding packaging.

Remember the increasing requirements in supply chain packaging rules does not mean that more packaging will be required, it means that very likely you will have to reduce the amount of packaging that is required and use a packaging material that has a longer lifecycle for use.


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