There are plenty of packaging companies that claim to be military experts. But how many of them are really qualified to meet your needs and help you maximize your military opportunity?
If you’re struggling with that question, you’re not alone. That’s the question many companies face after they become a military contractor. You probably have a packaging process in place, either through an in-house solution or via an outside contractor.
However, the military is an entirely unique customer. The military often places orders with tight deadlines and they have their own specific, rigid packaging guidelines. What works for other customers may not work for the military.
That’s why it’s so important to have a packaging partner who understands military-related challenges and who can help you implement a process that achieves all objectives. It’s not easy, though, to know in advance whether a packaging company will really be able to fulfill their promises with your military contract.
Do your research and interview multiple packaging companies. Below are a few services that every reliable military packager should offer. If a potential packaging partner doesn’t offer one of these services, you may want to consider other options.
Military Quality Assurance Inspection Experience
The quality assurance review may be the most important part of your military packaging process. It’s the last major step before the military approves your shipment and pays your invoice, so the review is often the major hurdle to clear before you see you cash flow.
The military will send a Quality Assurance Representative (QAR) to your facility or your packager’s facility within seven business days of your product being packaged. The QAR will inspect the products and the shipment to make sure it complies with MIL-STD-2073. That’s the military document that lays out specific packaging guidelines.
If the QAR approves the shipment, you can send it to its final destination and submit your invoice. If the QAR finds issues with the products or packaging, you’ll have to address those concerns before you can move forward.
Your packager can provide valuable service in helping you pass the inspection the first time. They can make sure your products are packaged in compliance with MIL-STD-2073. This is no small feat. The military’s packaging guidelines can be complex and ultra-specific. It’s helpful to work with a packaging company who understands MIL-STD-2073.
The packager can also use their existing relationships with the local QAR to get the inspection scheduled quickly. Just because the QAR has seven business days to complete the inspection doesn’t mean it has to take seven business days. A savvy packager may be able to get the inspection scheduled within a few days so you can get your shipment out the door sooner rather than later.
Warehousing and Logistics
If you’ve worked with the military in the past, you know they often place orders with challenging deadlines. They may need product within only a few days. If you’re not accustomed to that type of deadline, you may find the demands difficult.
Again, an experienced military packager can be a valuable partner in helping you meet these tight deadlines. They may design and implement a process that reduces packaging time, perhaps by using automated solutions or preassembled crates.
The packager could also warehouse product in their facility and manage your logistics. Then, when the military places an order, the packager simply pulls the product, packages it, and schedules the inspection so you can meet your deadline.
Your packaging company can offer much more than crating and warehousing. Instead, you may want a packaging company that can act as a full-service partner for your military contract. Many packaging companies also offer administrative solutions to help you optimize your military relationship.
For example, you may want your packager to be the point-of-contact between your and the military’s quality assurance team. Then, if there are issues with any of your shipments, the packager can handle the resolution of those problems while you focus on other priorities.
Your packager could also handle your invoice management with the military. The military’s invoice system, known as iRAPT, can be complicated. An experienced military packager will know how to submit your invoices for fast approval. They can also work on your behalf to address any invoice questions or concerns.
Your packaging partner is a big component in your military supply process. Look for a packager who can act as a full-service partner to help you maximize your military ROI. If the packager doesn’t offer these three services, they’re probably not the right partner for you.