Amazon Testing FAQ



The following is a list of answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding Amazon testing:
 
 
What is ISTA’s role?
ISTA is a not-for-profit trade association with a mission to empower organizations and their people to minimize product damage throughout distribution and optimize resource usage through effective package design.  In efforts to achieve this mission ISTA develops testing protocols and design standards that define how packages should perform to ensure protection of their contents during the ever-changing risks of the global distribution environment.  ISTA serves as a global certifying body for testing facilities that can perform these tests.  There are hundreds of certified testing labs globally that provide commercial testing services and can perform ISTA 6-Amazon.com testing. ISTA staff does not have any testing facilities and does not perform testing as a service.
 
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I need to have my packages tested.  What do I do?
You need to contact an ISTA certified testing lab capable of performing the testing you require.  To find an ISTA certified testing lab that can conduct Amazon testing requirements, see the following steps.
  • The process begins with the Find A Lab tool on ISTA.org. You will want to select a “Commercial” lab from the Commercial or In-House Test Lab drop down.  This will restrict the list to 3rd party labs who test for other people/companies compared to an In-House lab which could be Pepsi who only uses their lab for internal testing.
  • Next, filter the Find A Lab search tool with a “Y” for yes on the package type (6-Amazon.com-SIOC Type A or 6-Amazon.com-SIOC Type B, etc) that matches your packaged-products dimensions and weight.  An overview of ISTA 6-Amazon.com-SIOC can be found at the following link: click here.  Page 2 of the overview describes the different package types.
  • Please note the search criteria works as a filter and will restrict your results to labs that have all capabilities requested. As an example, if you select “Y” for 3A and “Y” for 3E, the search results will only show labs that are certified to perform BOTH 3A & 3E. A lab that is only certified for 3A, but not 3E, will not show in the search results.
  • The ISTA certified lab will conduct the testing and issue a report for each product (ASIN).
  • You submit the report to Amazon via Vendor Central.
     
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Under which test type does my packaged-product fall?
ISTA 6-Amazon.com-SIOC Packaged-Product Test Types:
Type A:  
  • Shipment Method: Parcel Delivery of Individual Packaged-Products
  • Handling Method: Standard Handling Method
  • Weight & Dimensions: Less than 50 lb (23 kg) & Girth equal to or less than 165” (4.19 m)
Type B:  
  • Shipment Method: Parcel Delivery of Individual Packaged-Products
  • Handling Method: Standard Handling Method
  • Weight & Dimensions: 50 lb (23 kg) to Less than 100 lb (45 kg) & Girth equal to or less than 165” (4.19 m)
Type C:  
  • Shipment Method: Parcel Delivery of Individual Packaged-Products  
  • Handling Method: Standard Handling Method
  • Weight & Dimensions: 100 lb (45 kg) or Greater & Girth equal to or less than 165” (4.19 m)
Type D:  
  • Shipment Method: Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Delivery of Individual Packaged-Products
  • Handling Method: Standard Handling Method
  • Weight & Dimensions: Less than 100 lb (45 kg) or Girth greater than 165’’ (4.19 m)
Type E:  
  • Shipment Method: Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Delivery of Individual Packaged-Products
  • Handling Method: Standard Handling Method
  • Weight & Dimensions: 100 lb (45 kg) or Greater or Girth greater than 165’’ (4.19 m)
Type F:  
  • Shipment Method: Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Delivery of Individual Packaged-Products
  • Handling Method: Pallet Handling Method
  • Weight & Dimensions: N/A & N/A
Type G:  TV/Monitor
  • Product Category: TV/Monitor
  • Shipment Method: Parcel Delivery of Individual Packaged-Products
  • Handling Method: Standard Handling Method
  • Weight & Dimensions: Less than 150 lb (68 kg) & Girth equal to or less than 165’’ (4.19 m)
Type H:  TV/Monitor
  • Product Category: TV/Monitor
  • Shipment Method: Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Delivery of Individual Packaged-Products
  • Handling Method: Standard Handling Method
  • Weight & Dimensions: 150 lb (68 kg) or Greater or Girth greater than 165’’ (4.19 m)
     
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Why is Amazon leveraging laboratory testing as part of their Frustration-Free Packaging program?
As stated in Amazon’s letter to its vendors “Packaging is a critical component of providing a great customer experience and an important part of our sustainability mission at Amazon.”  You can read the full letter as well as FAQ’s at AboutAmazon.com under “Frustration-Free Packaging Vendor Incentive Program FAQ’s” at the following link: click here
 
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How do I become an ISTA certified testing lab?
The process for ISTA lab certification is pretty straightforward. In short it is as follows:
  1. Establish ISTA Lab Membership - link to membership application: click here
  2. Let us know about your equipment and it’s capabilities by filling out the required equipment forms.  
  3. Capture short videos (~ less than 1 min each) showing the equipment in use & functioning properly.  The full lab certification procedure, and required forms, can be found at the following link:  click here
  4. Submit all information to ISTA for review (~10-15 days for response).  Based upon the equipment you have, ISTA will certify your lab for the test protocols that your equipment can run.  Specific equipment needed for ISTA 6-Amazon.com SIOC & OB.
  • Random vibration table with capability of a 2.312 inch peak to peak displacement (stroke) & an operational frequency range of 1-200 Hz
  • Drop Tester
  • Incline Impact Tester – if you are looking to do heavier, larger packages (greater than ~70 lbs)
  • Compression Machine – this can accomplish Vertical Compression (warehouse stacking) & Horizontal Compression (clamping).
     
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What is APASS and will Amazon accept reports from non-APASS labs?
Amazon’s Packaging Support and Supplier Network (APASS) is a program that was initiated by, and is led by, Amazon.  Questions regarding the APASS program need to be directed to Amazon at CPEX-lab-trainers@amazon.com  

While there are likely business reasons for joining Amazon’s APASS, it is important to know that Amazon will accept test reports from any ISTA certified lab that is 6-Amazon.com capable.  This is noted in Amazon’s APASS document with the following statement: “You are not obligated to use their services to have your product’s packaging certified.”  (link to document)  The APASS training focuses on personnel and is intended to establish a general understanding of how to conduct the testing protocols as well as how to interact with Amazon’s Vendor Portal.  

Additional information about Amazon, including APASS can be found on Amazon’s website at the following link: click here
 
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What packages qualify for the incentive program i.e. the “letter?”
Definitions for what packages qualify can be found on Amazon’s website under Frustration-Free Packaging Vendor Incentive Program FAQ’s.
 
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What is an ASIN?
ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number.  This is Amazon’s term for Stock-Keeping Unit (SKU).
 
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Do I need to test every ASIN?
Read Amazon’s “Form-Factor Certification Rules” at the following link for more information: click here
 
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Who do I contact with questions?
ISTA is only able to address matters that relate to the test protocols themselves.  Amazon is leveraging ISTA’s test protocols as part of an Amazon led initiative to help vendors enhance their packaging. Questions about who can participate in the Frustration Free Packaging Vendor Incentive Program or what products qualify for the program need to be handled by Amazon as this is an initiative led by Amazon.  Questions can be directed to cpex-lab-trainers@amazon.com or through Amazon’s Vendor Central portal at https://vendorcentral.amazon.com/  under “Contact Us.”    You may also find Amazon’s website helpful: click here 
 
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Are there test labs near me or near my manufacturing location?
You can locate a testing lab near your through the Find A Lab tool on ISTA.org.
 
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How long will testing take?
ISTA certified test labs are independent businesses so timing could vary.  It is recommended to reachout directly to an ISTA certified lab for more information on timing.  You can locate a testing lab near your through the Find A Lab tool on ISTA.org.
 
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How much does it cost to have testing done?
An ISTA certified lab will assist in providing a quote for testing services.  ISTA certified test labs are independent businesses so pricing could vary.  Additionally, ISTA has a strong anti-trust policy through our non-profit association status so we don’t get involved in pricing matters.  
 
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Do I need to send the test report to ISTA?
There is no requirement for the test reports to be sent to ISTA; however, ISTA members can submit their reports for ISTA verification and ISTA Package Certification.
 
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Who determines pass or fail of testing results?
These determinations are dependent upon the particular product, package, distribution system, market, customers, and other factors and can vary widely. Therefore product damage and allowable package degradation must be defined by the shipper, manufacturer, damage claim group, and/or other stakeholders and interested parties. In most cases, the shipper/manufacturer is in the best position to define product damage due to detailed familiarity with the product. Sometimes others may contribute to these determinations, including carriers and test lab personnel. But in any case, definition and agreement should be reached cooperatively among all entities concerned with safe arrival of the shipment, low damage rates, cost effective packaging, etc.
 
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What is involved in the testing?
An overview of ISTA 6-Amazon.com-SIOC can be found on ISTA.org at the following link: click here  Additionally, videos of test elements being conducted can been seen on AboutAmazon.com: click here
 
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Does testing address leaking products?
Yes, ISTA 6-Amazon.com-SIOC accounts for fragile and liquid products.
 
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What are the tiers of Amazon approval?
Details on “Amazon Packaging Certification Guidelines” can be found on AboutAmazon.com at the following link: click here
 
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Who determines FFP certification?
You can find lots of good information about Amazon's requirements on their website...https://www.aboutamazon.com/sustainability/packaging  Specifically for FFP, you will find the criteria in the Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging Program Certification Guideline at: click here

Below is summary for your reference.
i.    Must Pass ISTA 6-Amazon.com-SIOC test protocol
ii.    Product-to-Packaging Ratio (>30% for Fragile Products & >50% for Non-Fragile)
iii.    Recyclable Packaging (100% Curbside recyclable materials)
iv.    Easy-to-Open (Less the 120 seconds)

Additional questions can be directed to Amazon through their Vendor Central portal at http://vendorcentral.amazon.com/
 
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Can I use my own test report template?  
NO
 
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Where do I find test report templates that Amazon will approve?
You can find report templates on Amazon’s website at the following link: click here

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