Packaging and shipping fragile goods can be a meticulous, laborious affair. But adopting best practices to do this process right (repeatedly) will save you time and money in the long run. By following these guidelines, you can drastically mitigate the chances of having to deal with damage claims:
- Choose Packaging Wisely.
Your packaging—from inner packs and master cases to plastic bags or pallets—should be sufficient in size and strength to shield your base product while still following shipping guidelines and regulations. Boxes are preferable for shipping fragile goods, as long as the boxes are large enough to hold the product and internal packaging material, yet not so large that the product will bounce around inside the box. Use dividers to prevent glass or plastic bottles from breaking or being crushed.
- Be Overprotective.
Consider wrapping fragile products individually in bubble wrap or similarly protective material. Be sure to attach the wrapping securely with packing tape or a similar method to ensure it doesn’t shift during transit. Don’t wrap too tightly, though—when packaging is too restrictive, it can damage fragile items like antiques or glassware. Label the packaging as “FRAGILE” on all sides. Invest in a rubber stamp to make this process less painstaking.
- Know the Direct and Indirect Costs.
Keep in mind that in many markets, customers tend to prefer minimal packaging and excessive material can generate customer complaints that might ultimately affect your service levels. Plus, in some countries the burden of collecting, sorting, transporting, and recycling packaging materials falls to the buyer or distributor, which could also impact your bottom line. Weigh considerations like these against the need to add more packaging, especially for shipments traveling greater distances—the farther the goods are going, the more they will be handled in transit.
- Watch Out For Weather.
Is your cargo temperature sensitive? Is it at risk if a storm hits? Protect products from the elements. Products can be damaged by any number of things, from being knocked around due to high winds or stored in cargo areas that fill with water. Consider including a silica gel pack in your product packaging for any goods that are susceptible to moisture. Be sure to seal all boxes adequately with plenty of high-quality packing tape. Wrap all sides of the box and any potential openings.
- Run Tests.
Conduct a drop test. Test out your packaged product against a series of drops designed to mimic real-world handling or extended storage, such as dropping from a height of four feet onto the top of the package, onto the bottom, or from a corner. If your packaging can safely withstand these tests, your product is considered safe to ship.
- Insure It.
Protect your cargo with insurance, particularly high-value goods. Although adequate packaging is, in some way, your damage insurance, it cannot insulate you from every Act of God or unforeseen incident. Consider the value of the goods being shipped and the likelihood of damage—in general, it’s recommended to use all-risk insurance for the broadest coverage possible.
Contact us for more information on how all-risk insurance can help protect your fragile cargo and other shipments.