"Packaging Compliance: Weak Packaging" Defect
What is "Packaging Compliance" at Walmart?
Packaging compliance is one part of SQEP's Phase 3 program, the others being Load and Pallet compliance.
In the updated Secondary Packaging Supply Chain Standards (SPSCS '23), Walmart defines packaging compliance as "Weak packaging/glue/tape, poor perforations, missing tray/lid, loose wrap, undersized/ oversized case, selling units not secured, or other packaging defects." Almost the entirety of the SPSCS '23 is relevant for remaining compliant with Walmart's packaging standards. Pages 192-216, 234-261 will contain a lot of helpful packaging related information, especially if you are receiving packaging fines.
Note: these page numbers are the ones at the top of each page in the SPSCS '23, not necessarily the PDFs page numbers.
What is the "Packaging Compliance: Weak Packaging" Defect?
Within SQEP's packaging compliance standards exist a few common defects, one of the most common of which is "Weak Packaging." The SPSCS '23 defines this defect as: "Corrugate is easily crushed and does not withstand normal handling."
For more in the SPSCS '23 on...
Automation Eligible and Ineligible Cases, see p. 193.
Case Quality, see p. 194-195.
The product being shipped also plays a factor based on what's inside each box or case. Heavier items like canned foods improve strength for stacking but are more likely to tear while moving. Things like chips will need stronger boxes if stacking but won't tear as easily during handling.
Packaging materials eligible for automation are subjected to heavy compression on rollers and belts, vibrations, abrasions, and temperature and humidity changes during standard DC processing.
How to Prevent Valid "Packaging Compliance: Weak Packaging" Defects
Walmart strongly recommends material testing and compliance with gross weight limits, corrugated box specifications, and caliper specifications. All corrugated cases are required to have a Box Maker's Certificate (BMC) printed on them. BMCs involve Edge Crush Tests (ECTs) and Mullen (Burst) Tests, which contribute to the weight rating per square inch.
More corrugated board specifications can be found on p. 192-193 of the SPSCS '23. Pages 194-202 contain more of Walmart's required package tests.
Can the "Packaging Compliance: Weak Packaging" Defect be Disputed?
Yes, in HighRadius, just like all other compliance fine disputes at Walmart.
How to Dispute "Packaging Compliance: Weak Packaging" Defects
If the fine is invalid, assign the FIXit ticket back to Walmart with the dispute reason. Sometimes FIXit tickets will disappear after this, if the dispute reason is valid and Walmart accepts it. Even still, it's a good idea to follow up in HighRadius with the ticket number to make sure that the charge disappears as well.
As always, attach any proof documentation to further validate the dispute reason. When filing a dispute, fill in the information for "Dispute Reason," "Amount to be Disputed," "Comments" (if applicable), and "Attachment" (for relevant documents).
You will also need:
Detailed Dispute Reason
In the case of this subtype, the Detailed Dispute REason would have to be something along the lines of "we did test our packaging based on the methods above" and see what they say. We haven't seen very much success with suppliers disputing this subtype.
In the case of packaging compliance generally, the photos attached to tickets in FIXit will likely be essential to (1) knowing if the fine is valid in the first place (2) and for making a convincing case when the fine actually is invalid. Ideally, photos will be of exactly where the packaging went wrong, so taking corrective action
Disputes can also be monitored and updated in HighRadius under the "Disputes" tab.
More SQEP: Continued Learning and Our Solution
For an exhaustive resource on all things related to SQEP compliance, download our SQEP Handbook.
If you would like more insight into your SQEP performance and a way to quickly and painlessly dispute invalid SQEP fines, schedule a meeting with a member of the SupplyPike team today!
Written by The SupplyPike Team
About The SupplyPike Team
SupplyPike builds software to help retail suppliers fight deductions, meet compliance standards, and dig down to root cause issues in their supply chain.Read More