Reducing costs through better packaging and product design, smarter testing, and distribution system hazard assessment
A holistic approach to transport packaging and testing
Thinking outside of the box (unlike this poor fellow...)
Packnomics = The Economics of Packaging Design and Size
Packnomics = A packaging consulting firm dedicated to minimizing the overall landed costs of products. An integrated and systematic approach to more intelligent product and packaging design, smarter testing, procurement engineering, damage reduction, better consumer usability, environmentally responsible material selection, and material handling guidance all leads to lower costs and increased customer satisfaction.
Kevin Howard is the principal consultant for Packnomics, LLC. Kevin has been a practicing packaging engineer since 1984, after receiving BS and MS degrees in Packaging from Michigan State University and holding internships at IBM, MTS Systems, a research assistantship at the School of Packaging, and teaching Packaging Dynamics for two years during graduate school. When appropriate, Kevin enlists other packaging consultants, test labs, and packaging suppliers to attain the best results in the least amount of time possible. His well documented successes and creative problem solving during 17 years as the senior packaging engineer for Hewlett-Packard's largest product line, inkjet printers, now can be utilized by others interested in exploring opportunities to reduce costs in dramatic ways, oftentimes while simultaneously improving quality.
Kevin Howard also works with lawyers as an expert witness. His background in transport packaging has allowed him to develop a deep understanding of how items should be packaged for different distribution systems, how packaging and products should be tested to help assure damage-free shipping and injury-free use by consumers, and a long history of direct field observations have educated him in how products can be mis-handled.
Kevin is also available for teaching Design for Distribution short courses. Kevin has taught courses at two universities on distribution packaging and testing. A customizable course will be focused on how companies can dramatically reduce costs through better packaging design, smarter product design, more effective testing methods, and developing a more refined process to achieve the lowest possible landed costs for products.
Presentsations and Articles
January 2017, PrintWeek Magazine in India published my article on packaging challenges for products shipped through India. This article was a result of 2 trips through India to discern why certain products made by Hewlett Packard had far more damage in India than any other place on the planet. Once I saw how products and packaging were failing, and the root causes for these failures, I then helped define new laboratory tests that could replicate the consistent failures found in the field, failures that the standard tests did not cause. Once failures could be repeatedly replicated, we designed new packaging that passed the tests. Damage rates fell by about 99%, saving dollars per product while spending only a few pennies extra for more robust tape, outer liner, better varnish, and better pallets. http://www.printweek.in/features/packaging-distribution-india-robust-22860
April 2015: Kevin presented at the ISTA (International Safe Transit Assoc) Transpack Conference, the largest and he best conference in the world for distribution packaging and testing. Kevin spoke about Replicating Field Damages in the Laboratory.
January 7, 2015, Industry Week Magazine, "2015 Manufacturing Predictions: 7 Thought Leaders Share Their Predictions," by Patricia Moody, Kevin provides his thoughts on how packaging and design are evolving. < http://www.industryweek.com/leadership/manufacturing-2015-7-thought-leaders-share-their-predictions?page=1 >
November 20, 2014, Association for Manufacturing Excellence, on line magazine, "Designing from the Outside In," written by Patricia Moody about Kevin 's design philosophy for distribution packaging, < http://www.ame.org/target/articles/2014/designing-outside >.
August 2014: Best Practices for Protecting Electro-Mechanical Products, by Kevin Howard, < http://qualityinspection.org/electro-mechanical-products-china/ >. QualityInspection.org operates out of Hong Kong and publishes a very informative newsletter about manufacturing in Asia. This is the 4th article they have published of Kevin's work.
2014: Packaging Science and Technology magazine will be running an article entitled "The Power of Cube," written by Professor Diana Twede of Michigan State University. Dr. Twede profiles, amongst other examples, Kevin's work of dramatically reducing logistics costs through packaging postponement, which he pioneered at Hewlett-Packard.
2013: Kevin was honored to be requested to write the Professional Perspective column in the February issue of Packaging World magazine: The Value of Being an Un-packaging Engineer can be read on-line at http://www.packworld.com/value-being-un-packaging-engineer Kevin has helped many companies improve their product fragility and geometry as a way to reduce packaging, shipping costs, and damages. You can search www.packworld.com for Kevin Howard to read several other articles relating to Kevin's initiatives on testing, foam tooling, packaging design, and distribution system assessments.
2012 Presentations by Kevin Howard:
EPS Foam Expo, Indianapolis, March 2012. Kevin was asked to present his unique approach to cushion design and testing and show several examples of savings reaching into the millions of dollars by his clients.
ISTA Transport Packaging Forum, April, Orlando, FL: Many companies are finding their largest sales are now in the BRIC countries, and especially China. Agilent Technologies wanted to know if their internal package tests were sufficient for products shipped to China. Kevin spent two weeks, traveling through 4 Provinces while following expensive products, from the time they reached the Shanghai airport, through freight terminals, and right to their point of use. It turns out that ASTM and ISTA standards are NOT sufficient for this environment.
IoPP webinar, September 11, 2012: Kevin will speak on the connection between packaging sustainability and design choices. Kevin's thoughts on this topic were first published by Packaging World Magazine in their February 2012 article "10 Tips for Sustainable Package Design," www.packworld.com (search for Kevin Howard's name to find this and other articles in Packaging World).
* Following are the magazine articles written on Kevin's focus for reducing logistics costs and damages through better product and packaging design.
The following article was published by ISTA after Kevin left Hewlett-Packard. It provides a synopsis of Kevin's work during his 17 year career there. < http://www.ista.org/forms/PST2005Issue4.pdf> Please see pages 12-13.
Presentations in 2011:
ISTA Packaging Forum. A case history of changing from expensive resilient foam cushioning to molded EPS and then to molded pulp for HP DeskJet printers.
Presentations made in 2010:
Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP), Seattle: How to Save Money through smarter design and better testing
International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) Packaging Forum, Orlando: Boxes: How to improve quality and minimize costs
Council of Supply Chain Management
Professionals (CSCMP), Portland: Space, the final frontier for saving the most money **************************************************
Other presentations made by Kevin Howard include:
2005, ISTA Packaging Forum: The Distribution System in India and how to design products and packaging for this market.
2007, ISTA Packaging Forum: How laboratory tests can lead to excessive packaging and high field damages.
2008, ISTA Packaging Forum: The importance of direct field observation, and why measurements only tell half the story.
2008: International Molded Fiber Association: How Hewlett-Packard was able to change from EPS Foam to molded pulp for inkjet printers.
2009: Presentations at ISTA, Michigan State, and Green Packaging Forum in Toronto, all focused on ways to design products and packages more cost effectively.
Recent consulting work has included mjor home appliances shipped in Korea, products built in the US and shipped to Asia, expert witness work in worker injury cases, large, expensive machinery ($250,000 - $1 million a piece); high volume electronics shipped globally; large flat products shipped LTL; food packaging distribution in Europe; assessment of Sam's Club distribution system; high tech water filter systems; high and low volume electro-mechanical devices; assessing the distribution system of one of the largest air freight forwarders in the world to discern why certain packages had high failure rates.