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How can I reduce the amount of damage my shipments incur?

There's nothing quite so frustrating as inspecting a delivery and discovering shipping damages. While it's impossible to guarantee no damage at all from the shipping process, there are several things you can do to greatly reduce it.
The first line of defence in reducing shipping damages is packaging. Suitable packaging (box strength and size) and unitization (proper pallet size without overhang) are two simple methods of reducing damage in transit. And especially with respect to international shipping, packing suitable to the mode of transport will significantly reduce damages incurred during the shipping process.
Let's explore how you can reduce the amount of damage your shipments incur.
The competitive advantageHow to minimize damages to your shipments
When you recognize packaging as an essential component of the value proposition to your customers, you will realize an improved competitive advantage.
You spend a considerable amount of time on product development, identifying target markets and evaluating cost/quality trade-offs in order to produce a product that will satisfy customer needs and generate profits. Don't put all that work in jeopardy by failing to do the important pre-shipping work that will keep damages to a minimum.
Inadequate or sub-standard packaging not only increases the likelihood of shipping damages, it may also affect customer perceptions of your organization’s approach to quality. Considering the time and cost you've invested, it makes little sense to offset those efforts by not providing suitable packaging.
In addition to the inconvenience to customers, shipping damages have a negative effect on your carrier relationships. Carriers often settle damage claims based on leverage, the fear of losing a shipper’s business, rather than risk alienating the shipper by declining a claim because of improper packaging.
This is a short-sighted carrier strategy since there is a limit to how many claims a carrier will entertain before they affect profitability. And at the end of the day, you need excellent shipper relationships in order to grow your business.
The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today's work superbly well. ~William Osler
Take the time now to prepare your shipments well and reap the competitive rewards.
Here are seven steps to reduce shipping damages, improve customer satisfaction and strengthen supplier relationships.
By following these simple steps, your organization will reduce shipping damages and costs associated with reverse logistics, improve customer service, and strengthen carrier relationships.
  1. Ensure packages are properly sized to their contents, too much interior space reduces unit stability. 
  2. Make sure packaging has the proper “test strength” for the weight of its contents. Consider double-boxing heavier items. Fragile shipments will do best packed in double boxes as well, with at least 3" cushioning around the smaller box.
  3. Products shipped on pallets should not overhang the pallet dimensions. Follow your shipper's requirements for overall pallet size.
  4. Use strapping and stretch wrap to secure pallet loads. This will avoid damage to the cartons on the top or edges of the pallet load.
  5. Consider the mode of transport when making packaging decisions for international shipments. Shipments by ocean or air freight are often subjected to different stress factors than domestic shipments by truck or rail.
  6. Use water-resistant packaging, or other suitable protection, when shipping goods in ocean containers, particularly when goods are floor-loaded to maximize cube utilization.
  7. Insure shipments where appropriate by declaring a value for carriage. 
There is nothing quite so frustrating as receiving a shipment and realizing it's been damaged in transit; trying to cut costs on packaging will result in costly shipping damage later. Build positive relationships with shippers by doing adequate packaging preparation. Improve customer satisfaction by using suitable packaging and unitization. And reduce shipping loss especially when shipping internationally by using appropriate packaging for product size and mode of shipment.
By doing appropriate up-front packaging work, you'll increase your competitive edge, help reduce loss, and ensure your business is successful long-term. Contact us today and let us help you plan the best packaging solutions for your next shipment.
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Information provided by: Freight Forwarding Dept. - Cole International
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