3 Tips to Avoid Common Medtech Packaging Blunders

April 18, 2023

By Nancy Crotti

Mike Hafner contributed his expertise to this article and is a medical device packaging expert at Viant.

This article originally appeared in Medical Design and Outsourcing

Packaging engineers likely get more than their share of flak during the holidays when family members unwrap hard-to-open packages. They have also seen their share of packaging challenges at work. Here are three common packaging mishaps as well as three tips for avoiding them:

Packaging missteps like these can cost your team in terms of both money and time. Here are three suggestions for avoiding them.

Allow enough time for design and development

Leaving packaging and labeling to the end of the project often results in suboptimal packaging at best, and cost overruns, delayed product launches and lost revenue at worst. A new package system may take more than six months to develop. Be sure to include time for working through design phases, component lead times, build durations and test durations.

Work closely with the core team

A packaging engineer should have a seat at the table at the earliest stages of product design, as a core team member or at least working closely with the core team. As the device changes throughout its lifecycle, so should the packaging design change to accommodate the product. This will ensure that you’re taking packaging needs into account at each step up until launch, and in some cases, beyond launch.

Understand the design inputs

While protecting the device and maintaining sterility will always be key, package design inputs and criteria shouldn’t stop there. Make sure you thoroughly capture all the requirements throughout the entire lifecycle. For example:

If all this talk of what can go wrong with packaging makes you break out in a cold sweat, don’t worry. An experienced partner can take the entire process off your shoulders. Look for a manufacturing partner with true end-to-end solutions, including packaging engineering. This partner can develop packaging for manufacturing customers, allowing them to streamline their supply chains and avoid costly packaging mistakes.

While your device packaging may not be featured in an “unboxing video” on YouTube, it’s important to keep in mind that the packaging will always be the first thing your customer sees.

Mike Hafner manages a team of degreed packaging engineers supporting a wide range of devices throughout the product lifecycle. With 15 years of medical device industry experience, he has led packaging efforts for numerous product launches and has implemented dozens of new package systems.