The Defence sector is supported by an enormous logistics support chain that operates on the principle of being able to bring specified items into virtually any location, in quantity, when they are needed. While the heavy-duty transport aircraft dropping onto a dusty or perhaps snowy airstrip has long been the poster boy of the military supply operation, the bulk of the activity comes in maintaining that capability to supply.
The variety of products, components and materiel involved includes many that are highly sensitive and potentially at significant risk in the presence of adverse environmental conditions.
Complex electronics, munitions, medical supplies, flammable and explosive substances are obvious examples.
Guaranteeing critical logistics support means that materiel will almost certainly be put through its paces when it comes to extremes of environment, whether that’s vibration and impact, humidity, temperature, water, electrostatic build up and of course dust, grit and sand.
As a product’s packaging and container can easily comprise its main bulk, they clearly affect how it can be handled by personnel, not only during transportation and storage, but crucially at the moment of deployment.
Whether it is a component part of an assembly process or the finished item ready for use straight out of the box, the size, shape and weight of the packaging directly affects its handling ergonomics.
Depending on its nature, removal and usage may need to be at speed, or perhaps done in a confined space.
When it comes to deployment, it simply has to work. For many products, deployment is just the next leg of the journey.
The manufacture, transportation and storage that precedes deployment often represents the greatest risk of exposure to and damage by environmental factors.
A vast quantity of items spend all their time in transportation, storage and routine maintenance loops, necessary to provide that capability to provide operational support.
The stakes being so high, the packaging, handling, storage and transportation (PHS&T) of materiel is a significant part of MoD procurement policy.
The Defence Logistics Framework (DLF) provides advice and guidance on the appropriate processes here.
The takeout for businesses supplying the Defence sector is that the standards governing how your products are packaged are very demanding, requiring solutions that cater for the entire life cycle of the product.
The guiding principle employed here is integrated logistics support. All aspects of PHS&T are held to be interrelated and shouldn’t be considered in isolation.
Furthermore, the PHS&T element of your product will need to be reviewed and developed at all stages of the CADMID cycle (concept, assessment, development, manufacturing, in-service, disposal).
This places a considerable emphasis on integrating the right protective packaging into your offering.
In the procurement process, the packaging will be judged on its ability to perform to the physical characteristics of the item, the transportation and storage circumstances of the whole logistics chain and ultimately to ensure the contents is ready for deployment when needed.
To maintain standards of packaging solution design, the Military Packager Approval Scheme (MPAS) certifies contractors, provides training and maintains a list of certified designers.
A key part of MoD policy is to use sustainable procurement “where this meets performance and operational requirements”. This may sound like a compromise or trade off is required but this needn’t be the case.
Disposal of packaging materials with the accompanying handling, processing and cost, can and should be reduced. It can be eliminated by using recyclable and reusable packaging solutions.
Providers to the Defence sector should incorporate reusable protective packaging designed to fit the specific product or component.
Through repeated re-use it becomes a key enabler of value in the entire logistics support chain. Your product offering will better meet the required standards and give you an advantage over alternatives.
Columbus provides protective packaging and containers that enable your product to meet all of these requirements. Bespoke designed to perform throughout the entire lifecycle of your item, using the latest technology, we create highly durable, lightweight, recyclable and reusable solutions to help you comply with military level standards.
‘’We work very closely with a wide range of customers in the defence supply chain providing reusable packaging solutions that protect a wide range of components and finished products. Our efficient research, design, development and manufacturing process ensures we can produce bespoke small-batch solutions cost effectively’’
Robert Smith – Columbus PM