Advocate Research & Value Delivery Program

The ISTA Advocate Research & Value Delivery Program has been active conducting research and adding new members. With the recent addition of L.A.B. Equipment, Inc. as Leader member the Program's 23 Advocates have pledged $1,750,000 in support of the Program's goal: To conduct research and data collection that improves testing and design methodologies to keep pace with the rapidly evolving global supply chain and enhance the knowledge of existing channels.

On the Research front projects have been completed and reports have been distributed to Council members of the transport modes, storage, and handling methods involved in the distribution of CPGs, including last segments, in China and India. Phase 1 of our eCommerce project, whose goal was to Map packaged-product handling within e-retailer's distribution systems to determine similarities and where hazards exist, has been completed and we are looking forward to Phase 2, data collection to determine if adjustments to current, or a new test protocol needs to be developed. We have awarded the Discovery phase of our Eliminate Over-Packaging project to ITENE and it has been completed. Additionally, Phase 1 of our Unit Load Stability project, Data Collection was awarded to both Clemson and Michigan State University and it has been completed.

Request for Proposals (RFPs)


Eliminate Over-Packaging, Ideation

(This RFP is closed)

The Eliminate Over-Packaging project seeks to develop and validate a new technique that quantifies how far beyond a chosen performance and confidence level a package is able to protect the product it contains.

Status: ITENE was awarded and has completed the discovery portion of Phase 1. The next step in the project is Ideation accomplished through the identification of Subject Matter Experts (SME's) who will process the discovery materials and make recommendations of the best methods to further explore in Phase 2- Experimental Design.

View full RFP


Research Transit Damage Scenarios

(This RFP is closed)

This Research Transit Damage Scenarios project entails researching product damage as a result of hazards experienced during distribution in order to quantify their monetary impact and to understand typical damage levels for various commodities shipped via various modes. This project is very large in scale, and as such, will involve multiple phases. The specific work sought for this RFP is directly related to the following:

Research potential cargo claims data sources that could be analyzed to (at some future time) publish a white paper addressing the impact of cargo claims on a specific region and/or mode and/or commodity/industry.

Status: We have Limited initial scope to LTL mode in order to take a manageable step. The process has been progressing slowly as we need a broad enough base to assure the information is able to be de-identified and reflective of actual experience. A task team has been formed to accomplish this and/or make recommendations back to the Council.

View full RFP


Measurement and Multi-Axis Simulation of Unit Load Stability Transportation Hazards – Phase 1

(This RFP is closed)

This project aims to collect statistically significant data on the motion and forces in real-time history format in various orientations to which unit loads are subjected during transport, and translate this data into tools and test methods that allow users to design and optimize their unit load packaging.

Status: RFP with a North American scope was released and both Clemson University and Michigan State University have been completed.

View full RFP


Develop Test Protocol for eCommerce Retailer Shipping Systems

RFP-0004 Phase 1: Mapping Packaged-Product Handling Within eCommerce Retailer Shipping Systems

(Phase 1 is closed)

Study of the various eCommerce supply chain environments, including consolidators, to understand the hazard levels and handling methods. This data will translate into testing that optimizes packaging in the rapidly expanding eCommerce channel. Phase 1 STATUS: Chainalytics has completed the Mapping of the relevant systems and have grouped them for further observation and data collection in Phase 2.

RFP-0004 Phase 2: Identifying and Measuring Hazards within eCommerce Retailer Internal Shipping and Handling Systems

(Phase 2 is on hold)

Establish a data driven packaged-product pre-shipment performance test protocol that can be used to evaluate the suitability of the transport packaging to protect its contents from the hazards encountered in the eCommerce retailer shipping environment.

On hold status update: Upon review of the questions and comments received in response to this project‘s RFP we feel that we need to add clarity to the scope of steps 1 and 2. We are currently in contact with a variety of ecommerce retailers to determine the number and location of facilities we would expect those making proposals to visit and make observations with the goal to identify any perceived gaps in current testing and provide recommendations on data collection steps. However, this is taking longer than we expected and therefore will require an adjustment in our schedule as we seek to clarify this information so all proposals are based on the same assumptions. In light of this, we ask all proposals be held at this time.

View full RFP Phase 1View full RFP Phase 2


Distribution Environment Data Collection - Phase 1

(This RFP is closed)

The Distribution Environment Data Collection project aims to enhance ISTA‘s value proposition by ensuring we continue to offer the industry‘s most current testing procedures. This data will be leveraged by packaging professionals to design optimized packaging solutions for both domestic and global distribution. The ARVD has determined this to be a four (4) phase research program. The specific work sought for this RFP is directly related to the following phase:

Documentation of the transport modes, storage, and handling methods involved in the distribution of CPGs, including last segments, in predetermined regions around the world.

Status: The final reports for Phase 1, Observational Studies of hazards, for both RIT for China and Cal Poly for India have been delivered and distributed to all Advocate Council members.

View full RFP


Single Parcel Shipping Environment

(This RFP is closed)

This is a 4-part project involving Data Collection and Methodology Development applicable in the Single Parcel Shipping Environment. A significant amount of effort has been expended in the past to characterize the handling of the high-volume package types, weights and sizes that go through the single parcel shipping channels. However, these projects have been scoped to address potential gaps that exist in ISTA 3A, Packaged-Products for Parcel Delivery System Shipment.

  • Parts 1 and 2 involve the collection of field data in the single parcel shipping environment and offering recommendations on potential improvements to ISTA 3A with focus in the following areas.
  • Part 1 - Measuring the effect of packaged-product size and weight on the drop heights experienced.
  • Part 2 - Measuring the dynamic compression forces experienced due to the combination of stacking and vibration.
  • Parts 3 and 4 relate to testing methodology development as is felt that the technique and tools required to conduct these studies are not currently defined or validated.
  • Part 3 - Develop a methodology to measure the effect of packaged-product dimensions on the flexing forces experienced.
  • Part 4 - Develop a methodology to measure the effect of packaged-product dimensions on the concentrated loading / impacts.

Note: There are four different RFPs (0006 A-D) associated with this project. If you will be submitting multiple proposals, they must be separate documents and your cover letter should indicate any pricing reduction based on increased efficiencies, lower overhead, etc. of being awarded multiple Parts and the impact on timing, if any.


Advocate Council Members

Current members of the Advocate Council represent all areas of ISTA membership and include:


ABF Freight Dow Fibre Box Association General Mills International Paper L.A.B. Equipment, Inc. Lansmont Corporation Eli Lilly and Company Packaging Corporation of America Pepsico Pratt Industries SC Johnson Sealed Air Westpak WestRock


Bay Cities Smithers Pira


gh Testing Harley Davidson Pro-Pack Testing Laboratory, Inc. Ring Container Technologies TEN-E Packaging Services

Become an Advocate Member

The benefits of being an Advocate member company are numerous:

  1. Allows direct input into the type and scope of research that will drive the future of distribution packaging.
  2. Demonstrates to your customers you are vested in their goals of design and testing aimed at lowest cost and environmental footprint to get your, or their, products to market safely.
  3. Leverages the research dollars and technical expertise of other Advocate Council members and ISTA‘s international network of packaging experts to deliver meaningful project results.
  4. Provides strategic direction to your company by knowing where package design and testing is headed.
  5. Assists in achieving your sustainability goals while supporting your sustainability leadership image in the market.
  6. Enhances your ability to provide optimal packaging solutions to strengthen existing customer relationships and aid in securing new business.
  7. Gives you access to the information generated as much as 18 months ahead of release to the broader ISTA membership.

Research findings will begin coming in continually, but, it‘s not too late to get involved. We are currently accepting at the leader level.

Leader: $100,000 (voting rights)

For more information, copies of the Program prospectus, or to set up an appointment for a presentation, please contact Dwight Schmidt, ISTA Advocate Program Manager at 317-753-1437, or A.J. Gruber, ISTA President at 517-333-3437