A leading medical equipment manufacturer dealing with high damage rates engaged NTT DATA’s packaging optimization team to design a best-in-class packaging solution that would allow safe handling, transport and damage reduction.

The manufacturer's leadership and distribution center (DC) staff worked with packaging engineers to determine the best course of action and implement a new packaging solution. That solution reduced damage rates by as much as 60% — a number that’s expected to increase.

Business Needs

The manufacturer saw a high rate of product damage when shipping a specific patient care product and knew a change was needed to continue to meet customer needs.

Having recently shifted production within North America, the company was experiencing significant cost increases related to a product line with unique challenges due to its large size and irregular shape. The company, seeking to maximize trailer densities, was shipping the product in a precarious position, but the challenges presented by the product shape, packaging inconsistency and substandard shipping method created a high risk for a tip-over hazard, product damage and unsafe handling, loading and unloading. The damage rates were becoming excessive, so the manufacturer enlisted NTT DATA’s packaging engineers to find a cure for its chronic damage issues.


60% reduction in damage rates
  • Meets trailer load density requirements
  • Develops a shipping and packaging methodology to ensure items arrive safely and damage free
  • Performs distribution evaluations using testing concepts and product models


It starts with assessment

The NTT DATA team performed on-site assessments of the co-manufacturer locations and distribution center (DC) to map the current-state flow, processes and supply chain hazards. This would generate a distribution map that identified the root causes of the damage signal so the team could implement a solution. The team conducted a detailed assessment at the organization’s southeast DC where the bulk of damage instances were occurring. Throughout the visits, the packaging optimization experts identified multiple hazards and confirmed the damage rates were amplified because the organization was using an inefficient metal bracketing system to fasten the large product to shipping pallets.

A customized package design

With the key damage component identified, the team began developing a new shipping and packaging methodology to ensure all items arrived safely and damage free. To better determine an effective design, the team needed to evaluate the current state of test protocols as well as develop new protocols for the potential packaging concept. After numerous evaluation and design discussions, NTT DATA’s packaging engineers determined a custom cradle pallet design would meet trailer load density requirements and be the best solution for the manufacturer.

With the new design in mind, the team developed a pallet breakdown and kitting strategy to be implemented at the DC. The new system used a cleated panel to attach a single product model to a 48 x 40 pallet, far more effective than the current basic stretch wrap methodology. To make sure the new design could handle the supply chain hazards identified in the initial assessments, the team performed internal testing at the NTT DATA test lab to expedite the validation stage process.

Furthermore, the team developed form and fit design protocols on multiple product models to ensure all items received the proper protection and preventative measurements. To verify all design aspects could withstand real-world applications, the team performed distribution testing with the selected concepts and product models.

The manufacturer’s successful engagement with NTT DATA’s Packaging Optimization team has ensured that long-term care facilities can continue to focus on patient health while providing the comfortable environment patients need and deserve.

About this case study

A best-in-class packaging solution ensures safe handling, transport and damage reduction for a leading medical equipment manufacturer.




United States

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