The dreaded quality assurance inspection. Any company that has worked as a military contractor knows the importance of the QA inspection. It’s the final hurdle you have to clear before your product is accepted by the military and your invoice is processed. In other words, it’s the last thing standing between you and cash flow.
The military conducts the quality assurance inspection within seven business days after you package your shipments. A military quality assurance representative (QAR) visits your facility to make sure your packaging is compliant with MIL-STD-2073, the military’s packaging guidelines. If you pass the inspection, your shipment is cleared for transport to its destination. If the QAR finds issues, you’ll have to resolve those problems before you can move forward.
As you might guess, the inspection is a critical point in your military packaging and distribution process. If you can consistently meet the military’s quality standards, you’ll position yourself to win more business and maximize the military supply opportunity. Below are three tips to help you meet expectations in all your military packaging:
1. Make sure you fully understand MIL-STD-2073
The military details their packaging standards and guidelines in a document known as MIL-STD-2073. This document provides specific, comprehensive instructions for all types of products, parts, and supplies. It specifies what types of materials are approved, how to use protective components, how much dunnage should be in the container, and much more.
The QAR will use MIL-STD-2073 to determine whether your packaging is in compliance. This is why it’s so important for you to read MIL-STD-2073 and fully understand the sections that apply to your packaging. Any deviation from the military’s standards could be enough to cause issues in the inspection and delay acceptance and payment for your shipment.
2. Take advantage of the military’s packaging education resources
The military wants you to pass inspection. As you probably know, the military manages a massive, sprawling global supply chain. When a contractor fails to meet standards, it can cause other problems down the line. It’s in the military’s best interests for all contractors to meet guidelines and pass every inspection.
That’s why the military offers a broad menu of services to help you understand and meet standards. On the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) website, you can find guides, handbooks, trainings, and much more to help you meet packaging expectations.
If you have questions about packaging requirements, don’t hesitate to reach out to the military for assistance. You likely have a point-of-contact named in your contract. You also may be able to reach out to your specific QAR. They can help you avoid some of the most common packaging mistakes.
3. Work with an experienced military packager
Perhaps the best way to ensure that you consistently meet military packaging standards is to work with an experienced and knowledgeable military packaging company. Look for a packager who not only has military experience, but also has experience with your specific product. They’ll understand how MIL-STD-2073 applies to you and how to best meet expectations.
Your packager may be able to provide other forms of support too. For example, they could warehouse product in their facility to help you meet tight deadlines. They could coordinate directly with the QAR on your behalf. They may even process your invoices and help you get paid faster. Look for a packager who can support you as a full partner with your military contract.