Consumers today pay close attention to the state of the packaging used to protect their products in transit. UPS and FedEx deliver over 14 million packages per day, a number that only continues to increase.
Where primary packaging was previously the focus for consumers, today the first physical interaction a consumer has with your business is often a cardboard box that arrived in the mail. When these boxes arrive damaged, unsealed, tampered with, or otherwise impaired, consumers are unhappy and businesses lose money.
On the other end of the spectrum, when transporting from manufacturing to distribution more issues arise. When large pallets or other shipping unit loads are not correctly configured for the demands of the products they arrive with damage and are rejected by the distribution center, creating loss in goods and transit costs. What are the most important considerations for ensuring product protection during transit?
Primary packaging and secondary packaging both have a combined influence on a product’s resistance to damages that occur during transit. Selecting the right products is the number one way to reduce damage in transit. Factors that you should consider include:
- Stretch wrap: Improper use of stretch wrap can cause damage in transit when the film is not compatible with the machinery or when the film is not strong enough for the product weight demand. Deciding between side sealers, L-sealers, shrink tunnels, and seal machines create an added layer of consideration. Shipping damage can be cut by at least 50% when products are safely and accurately secured by stretch wrap during the shipment process.
- Flute patterns: The flute patterns and the thickness of the packaging walls impact durability; some boxes are made for heavy products in transit and others are appropriate for design and display.
- Tape: Not all tape is created equally. When choosing tape the options are limitless; at Hughes we handle hand-held dispensers, machine sealing, acrylic tape, hot melt, water activated, and filament tape. Knowing what type of tape you should select requires evaluation of the product lifecycle, from warehouse to end-user destination, and all of the possible interferences.
- Protective packaging: Protective packaging is perhaps the most important consideration when preparing products for transit. Selecting the wrong fill solutions can cause increased costs as well as damage. We specialize in providing air bags (for a versatile, easy to use solution), bubble wrap (for lightweight cushioning), and Instapak (for a high quality foam solution).
If your business is experiencing loss from product or packaging damage in transit, click here to contact one of our packaging experts who can evaluate your products and make recommendations for optimizing your packaging product selection.
Stacking and Loading
Grouping products together is a necessity in distribution centers to eliminate extra bulk and create a stable load. These practices save space, maintain SKU order, and optimize the ability to find packages when it’s time to move them into transit. Without an effective strategy, though, many problems can arise. The factors to consider include:
- Loading pattern: When loading a trailer, it’s important to consider how to maximize space while also ensuring safety and product protection. A Hughes packaging expert can provide insight on load patterns that are optimal for damage reduction.
- Palletizing: Compression concerns arise when products are stacked on top of one another. Create a palletizing plan that considers how many levels can be stacked as well as the materials that should be used in manufacturing the pallets. The strapping used is also critical for ensuring safe transport.
- Stacking: Boxes are often stacked in trucks, especially once they enter a parcel truck. When products are shipped using less-than-truckload additional concerns arise as the boxes are more susceptible to falling. Understand the weight that can be stacked on a box wall before it collapses will help you ensure that you are stacking boxes that can handle the stacking pressures.
Do you find that your products are damaged because of stacking and loading malfunctions? At Hughes, we have helped countless businesses with creating the best outcomes when it comes to loading, palletizing, and unitizing. Contact us and learn about our solutions.
Once your products leave the distribution center to travel to their end destination the conditions are out of your control, which makes it necessary to ensure the products are prepared for the worst and all conditions. These conditions include:
- Vibration: The unpredictable motion from a vehicle in transit can easily create hazards for products in transit. While vibration may seem inconsequential, many packages endure consistent vibration for long exposure times which can cause abrasion, loosening of fasteners, and other types of damage.
- Handling: Arrows and fragile warnings on boxes can be helpful, but are unfortunately often ignored. Whether machinery or human error, shock hazards are unavoidable when a package is dropped or improperly handled. Ensure that the corners, edges, and protective packaging used are defensive against drops and falls.
- Atmospheric: Temperature, altitude, humidity, and static electricity can all effect the packaging materials as well as the products inside the box. Different considerations are important depending on the time of year and the origin vs. destination.
What should you do next?
All in all, the best way to prevent or mitigate packaging damage in transit is to work with a trust packaging partner to engineer a packaging system that will protect your products at all times. Contact Hughes today for a customized evaluation of your packaging products to ensure you are minimizing the potential for damage.