How we securely package your items
Good customer service includes packing the cargo so it travels safely and securely to its destination. Improperly packed cargo wastes the company’s time and money in lost merchandise and packaging replacement product. It is important that the shipping department have the right tools and knowledge to ensure that the product reaches the customer in the condition they expect.
There are standard containers such as polybags and Jiffy bags that can be used to ship smaller objects with protection from weather conditions, but they are usually lightweight and easy to throw during sorting, risking damage to the item inside.
Corrugated cardboard boxes are still a good option for packaging items for shipping. Their durability is hard to match, and double-walled corrugated cardboard is ideal for shipping fragile items such as glass and ceramics.
Specially-designed items such as book wrap and card envelopes are a good option for single books, DVDs and CDs and other small, flat products to protect the corners that could be damaged if dropped in transit.
Heavier objects should be packaged in new containers or crates. Used containers may have been weakened in the last transport, lowering the integrity of the container and risking damage to the product in transit. For manageable heavy objects, a double-wall corrugated box may be suitable because the added wall provides more protection against deformities when lifted. For larger objects, there are companies that can design a container or crate to suit the needs of the item being shipped.
Every item has its own fragile state. Choosing cushioning materials depends on the shape, weight, and composite materials of the product. For example, glass needs cushioning material that will hold it in place or, at a minimum, cushion it within the container in the event of impact.
The cheapest and most easily recycled packing material is Kraft paper or brown paper. For short-transit shipping of non-fragile items, this material is sturdy and provides a nice cushion that will not allow the product to shift too much in the box. Many companies have started using brown paper in lieu of packing peanuts both to save money and to reduce their environmental impact.
Bubble wrap is excellent for wrapping individual items that are fragile. Unfortunately, it can be pricey, so it should be used sparingly. It is possible to get bubble wrap in rolls that are perforated to save time and to eliminate the need for scissors and difficult cutting.
Corrugated cardboard has become a standard in packaging over the past few years, being used to keep the impact between fragile items within a box low. It is also used by photographers and others who need to ensure their package does not get bent during delivery.
Of course there are other cushioning products that specifically mold to the product in the package similar to what’s used with Pelican cases. Preformed foam corners and air bags add an extra layer of protection by securing the product in place and not allowing the product to shift during transport. For large-scale equipment and automobile parts, there are companies that can custom-fit the foam to the product to ensure the safest possible delivery.
Cloth, towels and blankets should not be used as packaging materials. While they may look as if they provide adequate cushioning for items, they can compress during shipping, causing the product to shift within its box.
According to Newton’s Laws of Motion, “an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force,” which means that every bump the cargo truck hits causes the package to be jostled. If the object inside the package has too much empty space around it, then there is a risk of the object being damaged. Filling as much empty space as possible with loose materials and not packing the item against the sides of the container are the best ways to ensure the item will not shake severely within its wrappings. For large items, bracing the cargo by attaching it to a base and then encasing it in a container is an ideal method for transporting it.
Once the insides of the package are secure, the container should be sealed properly. For boxes and some larger envelopes, using strong tape designed for packaging is recommended. For pallets of product being shipped, clear plastic wrap is typically wrapped around all the items on the pallet and then shrunk with heat to provide a firm hold so the product being shipped does not shift during transport. Paper overwrap and string are not secure methods for sending an important package.
Some cargo, such as food or plant seedlings, is sensitive to extreme temperatures, and that should be marked on the outside of the package. For this type of cargo, knowing the climate in the destination region can help the packers plan how to package the product and when to ship it so it arrives in the customer’s hands in good condition. Standard heat, rain and snow conditions should also be considered when determining packaging. Every carrier will have to expose the package to the elements in order to deliver it.
Some carriers have a reputation for extreme caution with their cargo, and others . . . don’t. There are also some products carriers will not deliver or are not authorized to deliver due to content, weight or delivery zone. For specialty items, it is important to make sure the carrier is able to deliver the item and that the exterior of the item is wrapped according to the carrier’s specifications.
When wrapping cargo, avoiding breakage is the priority. However, don’t forget that presentation to the customer and cost is also a concern. Sloppy wrapping and waste of costly packing materials will get the product to the receiver in one piece, but it could also cost a business valuable customers.