Packaging plays an important role in ensuring that shipped goods arrive in perfect condition. But most businesses receive returns and complaints about damaged products. The costs, both financially and via customer relations, can be dire for a business. But this can be easily avoided if informed decisions are taken while choosing the quality of packaging products to minimize the risk of damage.
Many turn to fulfillment companies that aim to ensure your goods arrive in the exact condition they left your company. But should one choose to go about conducting logistics themselves, then the risks involved during transport should be a top priority to ensure the safety of the products. The most popular forms of logistics are via air, sea freight, and truck. Despite their popularity, these forms of transport also have their risks when it comes to the conditions the goods go through. In order to avoid this, we have to be aware of relevant factors for each mode of transportation and be able to arrange for packaging that will counteract these flaws.
Sea freight has the longest transit time out of the three modes. The goods are susceptible to be damaged through hitting or being hit by other cargo and/or against the walls of the ship. It is because of this reason that many choose to add padding to their packaging, such as air bags between goods or cardboard sheets, that will absorb the impact.
The environment plays its role in the risks as well; with water, humidity, and salt, it is extremely important to select appropriate packaging materials. Many add an additional layer of cellophane around pallets to decrease the chances of water damage, but many find that the EUR wooden pallets are the weakest point in packaging for water, as they will develop mold from the exposure and potentially damage the goods they are carrying. It is best to ensure that the materials used in packaging are either water-resistant, such as plastic pallets (which are more expensive but resolve the risk of water damage) or thick enough to protect the goods it contains.
Air freight has its own risks and, like sea freight, there are elements in the environment that bring about unique risks. In the case of airplanes, atmospheric pressure is the culprit. Due to these drastic atmospheric changes, condensation and/or corrosion occurs, which can deal a great damage on paper-based goods. Something to avoid in this case is paper-based packaging, as it will be easily damaged leading to mutilated products. The products used are typically courier bags with bubble wrap and cling films that are used to seal the goods.
Another issue many find is that due to movement of other cargo during transport, the collision between different goods occurs and results in damaged goods. This risk can once again be avoided with sturdier material used for packaging, such as wooden boxes and pallets. Ideally, many combine the soft paper bags with cardboard boxes in order to cover both potential risks and have the goods arrive safely.
Finally, transport via truck is risky since it damages occur primarily during loading and unloading of goods. Tears and holes in packaging occur from the forklifts lifting the goods and placing them inside the truck. It also occurs when removing goods from the truck and placing them in a warehouse.
The ends of the forklift will tear softer material such as cellophane and kraft paper packaging, and in this case the best and most economical way one can ensure that the goods arrive safely is to double wrap cellophane and ensure that none of the packaging and goods go beyond the borders of the pallet they are placed on. This will decrease the chances of the goods being damaged during movement.
Besides this, the risk during the transit itself is directly correlated to the delicateness of the goods in question. As many highways and roads are not smooth, and driving occurs at high speed, the impact of the potholes and speed breakers is only magnified. In this case, it is best to add bubble wrap or any other buffering material around the individual products.
Also, the outer layer of the goods should be very well packaged to absorb maximum shock impact. Packaging is a vital part of every delivery, and to be aware of the risks can save you a lot of trouble in the future. Whether it is compression, humidity, or other potentially damaging factors, preparing in advance can help make sure that your customers receive their order in proper condition. It also helps you to save additional costs of returns and claims. All in all, simple logic and help from your logistics provider can help you evade every possible risk and ensure happy and satisfied customers.
Tanja Strugar is based in Belgrade, Serbia, and works at Swiss Mail Solutions. Her interests include international affairs, global trends in e-commerce and logistics.
Swiss Mail Solutions is a Swiss fulfillment service company that has offices in Austria, Hong Kong, and Serbia, and works with customers globally. They also offer services in transport, distribution, warehousing, and customs clearance. For more information visit their website: https://swissmailsolutions.com/