• 11th December 2017

Quality Control processes in luxury packaging

MW Luxury Packaging Operations Director Robin Argyrou explains the Quality Control Processes involved in high-end Luxury Packaging.

At MW, our packs are uniquely fabricated and frequently involve skilled hand assembly of complex materials. Because of the intricate nature of our work, we have tailored our quality assurance program to our specific requirements. It’s typical for our packs to house primary items worth thousands of pounds. As a result, the packaging must be tied up in the consumer’s experience and the journey they go on with these luxury items – quality expectations for these packs, in other words, are extremely

Managing these projects, especially for MW’s larger clients, involves many decision-makers: marketing teams, design agencies, procurement teams, quality engineers, technicians and project managers. As you can imagine, it is very challenging to deliver to the expectations of everyone involved!

MW’s product development teams are responsible for managing our projects, ensuring completion on time, to budget, and to quality expectations. The process starts with risk assessment during the product development stage; this helps to ensure the design and construction will meet the necessary requirements. We evaluate the design and manufacturing processes using the industry standard FMEA (Failure Modes and effects analysis) method. This helps us evaluate risk before we begin; over the course of the project’s evolution we continually review and update using FMEA. Once a design has been chosen, a sample is created; we then move to the testing stage.

All products are tested in the MW laboratory, where dedicated technicians use state of the art equipment to evaluate our packs for performance, functionality, and durability. We test products at every key stage, focusing on vibration, compression, drop and climatic testing, and ensuring the product remains safe during transit. Additional testing is carried out to review the product for functionality, performance, and adherence to global chemical compliance.

On the manufacturing side, developing these complex packs involves multiple suppliers within our network. The knowledge and skillset needed to develop and manage these projects sits with MW’s experienced developers and engineers, who are proficient in different manufacturing processes and can assess – and mitigate – potential risk. Their hard work ensures supplier collaboration, allowing the project to come together seamlessly. Our suppliers are regularly audited in line with our SLAs and Quality Manual. We look at ethical, environmental and sustainability credentials, and set KPIs as part of our continuous push for improvement. MW’s engineers and QC inspectors monitor the evolution of every project, overseeing subcontractors, print and finishing, subcomponent assembly and final full assembly, and even container loading. The repeatability accuracy of assembly is paramount; balancing the assembly lines to optimise our efficiency is fundamental. Preventing errors from occurring during this phase ensures our output schedules and budgets are maintained without compromising quality.

With visual inspection, our quality control procedure is tailored depending upon the complexity of the product and the risk assessment. We can carry out 100% inspections; alternatively, we can inspect a random sample that will accurately represent the entire batch. Overall, MW’s quality control is stricter than the industry standard.

MW’s QC inspectors monitor the final assembly lines, and visually check products using a document that has been agreed with all stakeholders. During this period, they compare the product to golden samples and colour decal standards; this inspection also includes functional testing. All inspection results are recorded and analysed to ensure quality expectations are being achieved. Any areas of concern are addressed in non-conformance reports; these help us to understand the root cause of a problem and develop a corrective action plan.

To ensure maximum safety, security and quality, MW also employs the services of expert third party inspection agencies such as intertek, UL and SGS. These agencies carry out a final pre-shipment inspection and a round of functional testing, giving an independent review of their results before the shipment is signed off.

Source: News Packaging, No 34.