For those of you who lived through the experience of Walmart’s Packaging Scorecard in 2006, this might invoke those warm, fuzzy feelings all over again. This time around the market is being driven towards packaging innovation and sustainability by a company called Amazon (ever heard of them?). In 2018 Amazon’s share of the eCommerce market in the U.S. hit 49% and their online platform is currently visited by over 197 million people per month globally. Amazon has most recently made announcements detailing their hard deadline later this year requiring vendors to adhere by their Frustration Free Packaging (FFP) Program. What does this mean for your business and how can Nichols help?
Since Amazon’s Jeff Bezos started FFP in 2007, Amazon has eliminated more than 500 million boxes and more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials. In 2017 alone, Amazon reduced its packaging waste by 16%, the equivalent of 305 million shipping boxes. Frustration Free Packaging is made with recyclable materials, designed to be more easily opened, reduce packaging materials and in some instances even ship products in original packaging without the Amazon branded box (Amazon calls this “ship in own container”- SIOC)
By the August 1, 2019, certification deadline, vendors will need to enroll their products/packages into Amazon’s FFP certification program (Tier 1-FFP or Tier 2-SIOC) and submit results of the specific ISTA testing associated with the programs.
Sustainability and packaging efficiency are at the heart of this program. The world’s leading online eCommerce distributor has certainly pushed the pace, but where does this leave you? As a Nichols valued customer, product brand owner or operations manager, how can you comply?
In the last couple of years, Amazon has certified more than 20 third-party testing labs. Called APASS, the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier network is a suite of certified partners ready to help Amazon scale up for this program.
Companies can have their packages tested by any ISTA certified lab. Or, if companies have their own packaging test labs, they can be trained to do their own tests using Amazon test methods.
Nichols provides crucial value by representing and working directly with key packaging manufacturers that not only offer ISTA testing but are participants in the APASS Network. As an example, our strategic partnership with Sealed Air allows us to help customers with certification.
Sealed Air is a participant in Amazon’s APASS network. As a participant of the APASS Network, Sealed Air is approved to test, design and supply packaging materials that meet the requirements for Frustration Free Packaging, Ships-in-Own-Container and Prep-Free Packaging initiatives.
Sealed Air conducts Amazon tests at four of its 20 Packaging Design Application Centers. With capabilities in the U.S., Asia and Europe, Sealed Air is one of the few global, end-to-end APASS providers. Each of Sealed Air’s Packaging Design Centers is equipped to perform a range of industry-standard tests using simulated and real-world conditions such as shock, vibration and compression.