Using effective insulated packaging is an essential part of cold chain logistics when shipping temperature-sensitive goods such as perishable foods and medical products.
There is an abundance of insulated packaging solutions available tailored to specific product temperature requirements and shipping durations, but it is equally important to consider the qualities of the supplier providing the insulated packaging to ensure the best results for your business.
Here are the most important qualities to look out for in an insulated packaging supplier.
1. Your insulated packaging provider should test the packaging with your shipment to prove it provides sufficient temperature control
You need to be confident your temperature-sensitive goods will be protected throughout the entire shipping duration before committing to an insulated packaging product or supplier.
To be certain, it is essential that your insulated packaging provider tests their proposed solution with your product under the conditions it will be exposed to in-transit.
We use our in-house testing chamber for exactly this purpose. After placing your packaged product in the chamber, we define specific temperature and humidity conditions and, with the use of sensors, monitor the temperature of your product throughout the entire shipping duration. This information is then available to you in the form of a report with graphs demonstrating whether your product was kept at a consistent temperature for the required duration.
2. Find an insulated packaging supplier that can provide custom-sized packaging
Most insulated packaging suppliers outsource the manufacture of their products. This means they cannot provide custom-sized packaging adapted to the exact dimensions of your temperature-sensitive products.
The one-size-fits-all approach results in more empty space surrounding your product, which drastically reduces thermal efficiency. To compensate, such suppliers turn to using greater amounts of dry ice or gel packs, but this isn’t cost-effective.
The best approach is to have insulated packaging custom-sized to your product’s dimensions. IPC is able to do exactly this as we design and manufacture all of our insulated packaging in-house at our headquarters in California.
3. The insulated packaging provider should offer you environmentally friendly materials
Traditionally, insulated packaging has been made using styrofoam and other plastic-based materials.
While still widely used, consumers and businesses alike are increasingly wary of them owing to their negative environmental impact. They are extremely difficult to recycle, which means they invariably end up in landfills. Then, as they degrade, microplastics find their way into the soil and waterways causing serious threats to human and environmental health.
By contrast, IPC offers insulated packaging made with sustainable materials that have a high recycling value. For example, EcoLiner is made of denim so it is biodegradable. Another of our insulated packaging solutions, CelluLiner, is composed entirely of recycled paper layered on top of each other, using technology also used with the James Webb Space Telescope.
Sustainability is a value that consumers and businesses are increasingly interested in, so if your insulated packaging supplier doesn’t offer environmentally friendly materials this could reflect badly on your company.
4. Your cold chain packaging supplier should have substantial industry experience
Cold chain logistics is a complex system where many issues can arise. Companies that have substantial experience in the industry will have come across many of these and found solutions to them.
With more than 20 years experience in designing, testing and manufacturing insulated packaging, IPC knows inside-out the issues faced by companies shipping temperature-sensitive goods and we have tried-and-tested solutions to help overcome them.
5. Choose an insulated packaging supplier that provides space-efficient packaging
Another drawback of standard plastic-based insulated packaging is that it is often bulky. Molded EPS coolers, for example, take up a great deal of space which reduces operational efficiency while adding to storage and transportation costs.
As such, opting to work with an insulated packaging supplier that offers space-efficient packaging can drastically reduce your costs.
IPC’s PopupLiner is an innovative insulated box liner that’s delivered to your company in a compressed, flat-packed format. When called upon, PopupLiner instantly pops up to full size ready to be used. As such, when compared to EPS coolers, it is 75 percent more space efficient.
6. Choose an insulated packaging supplier that adapts to current regulations
With increasing awareness of the environmental harms caused by plastic-based insulating materials, more and more authorities at local, national, and international levels are instituting bans or restrictions on the use of these materials.
This is only likely to expand in scope in the future, especially with sustainable, effective insulated packaging solutions available.
Changing your insulated packaging supplier due to a change in regulations incurs inevitable costs. Stay ahead of such changes by choosing to work with an insulated packaging supplier that meets and goes beyond environmental regulations.
Get in touch with us to discuss your insulated packaging needs and we’ll outline how we can provide environmentally products custom-designed for your needs.