When choosing delivery services, we all want the delivery to be as fast as possible so our customers will be happy to receive their orders on time. At the same time, we expect our parcels to be handled with great care throughout the journey – from the moment you hand it over to the courier company until your customer receives the package. But some things are out of our control, the packages reach several warehouses and go through multiple hands until they are finally delivered to their recipients.
There are many factors that can affect the state in which your packages end up getting to your customers. Let’s take a look at the most common ones:
No matter the time of the year, packages might temporarily stay on the ground while being loaded – and if there’s rain, the packaging will soak up moisture from the ground making it more prone to be damaged. The weather plays an important role in the journey that your packages take- the better the weather the better the chances for your packages to safely reach their recipients.
Sometimes there is no indication of any road hazards. Accidents can happen due to unforeseen circumstances. These could be vehicles being driven irresponsibly, animals on the road, poor road conditions, unmarked speed bumps, no lane markers, potholes, etc. Depending on the severity of the accident and damage to the delivery vehicle, the packages can be damaged or even destroyed.
The way the packages are loaded into the trucks
The packages move inside the truck – even though they are sometimes fully packed, the packages still have room to move around. The shape of the package determines whether it can be stacked or stored. For example, a classic rectangular box can be stacked without too much space between the shipments being wasted, whilst unusually shaped packages can still move around.
The size and shape of your package
This is just as important as the dimensions of other packages traveling with it. You have to remember that it takes a lot of parcels to fill a truck, and those parcels can come in many shapes and sizes. Therefore, each package is somehow exposed to distortion, especially when not protected and packaged correctly – bigger and heavier packages might damage smaller ones that don’t have a strong enough packaging.
This is another important factor – the packages need to be placed in a storage area that doesn’t have too much humidity in the air, that is well vented, and suitable for packages for all shapes and sizes. There are other risks that involve the structural integrity of the warehouse such as fires, floods, earthquakes. There is also the constant risk of a burglary – which can occur when least expected.
The content of the other packages
Not all packages are created equal – the placement of objects which can easily deteriorate or of liquids that can leak from one container to another can cause contamination to all of the other packages around it, including your items.
Improper packaging and reused boxes
I bet you’ve thought about re-using some old packaging- this is not recommended because of the degradation of the materials, meaning that it can lose some of its properties making it weaker and more likely to collapse or fall apart during transport, resulting in damaged goods. The other risk of reusing old boxes is that many people forget to remove the old labels and the warehouse workers have no way of knowing which is which. Imagine a box tumbling down the sorters and the loaders see a label on one side of the box that happens to be up – that’s where the box is going. If they notice that the box has 2 labels, there is no way for them to know which one is the right one.
Machine or human error
What does it take to move your packages around the country/world? A dedicated team of workers and machines. Even though the parcels are sorted mechanically, package handlers happen to be the only humans, and as we all know, humans tend to make mistakes sometimes.
How to make sure that your products arrive at the customers in one piece
Choose the right sized box
Pick the right-sized box. The ideal box should be a little bit bigger than your item, allowing a small amount of room for cushioning. Most shipping services accept using your own boxes, as long as the boxes are in good shape with little damage to the flaps. The thicker and stronger the walls of the box, the less likely that the products will get damaged from being hit by other packages.
Use wooden shipping crates
Shipping crates are much sturdier and resistant to impact than conventional cardboard boxes. If the products that you are sending out are fragile, we recommend putting them in a cardboard box and then put the box in a crate to add extra protection. This prevents the contents from being damaged during shipping.
Wrap the products
Wrap items individually in cushioning material. If you’re shipping multiple items, make sure to wrap them separately in Bubble Wrap, tissue paper, or old newspaper. This will prevent them from damaging each other in the package.
Add materials to fill any empty spaces
A key component of preventing shipping damage is eliminating as much space within the box as possible so your items cannot move around. While you can get creative with household items (such as towels, clothing, or old newspapers) as fillers, a few reliable methods are:
- Packing peanuts
- Bubble Wrap
- Tissue Paper
- Air-cellular materials
Place smaller size boxes inside of larger ones
It’s easy for packages smaller than 7 inches (18 cm) x 4 inches (10 cm) x 2 inches (5.1 cm) to get lost in the shipping process. Make sure to add some cushioning around the smaller box until it fills the larger one. This way you double the protection of the package and lowering the probability of it getting damaged during shipping.
Overall, the parcels have a rough journey ahead of them – being exposed to temperature variations, humidity, vibration, shock – that’s why they need packaging that is durable enough.
To increase the survivability of your parcels, you have to be sure that you have followed the packaging instructions and that you didn’t cut any corners when it comes to materials used for packaging. Be sure to read our guide on how to correctly package parcels here.