The Transport & Handling section of the Packaging Lifecycle touches on why the packaging was designed in the first place: To maintain the quality of your product to its destination.
In most cases products ship everywhere everyday with no issues of damage from rough handling, punctures, vibration damage or dropping. When, however, these events do occur, new issues come to light concerning damage and returns.
This section will help you learn to recognize and prevent shipping damages. There are many ways a product can be damaged during transport. Some common causes are:
- Severe impact
- Package design flaws or failures
- Improper stacking resulting in crushing
- The End users improperly handling or unpacking
- Hidden damage from Internal cushioning or bracing failure
Occasionally when products are damaged or destroyed, the blame game can come into play. We all use freight companies and hire carriers at some time. To make sure that the cause of damage and the parties involved are identified for insurance proposes, we recommend some basics steps be implemented to protect your company.
#1 First you need to identify what the cause of damage may be.
- With a production line that is packaging larger amounts of product every day, a consideration to lab test the packaging may reveal the cause of damage.
- Take a photo of the packaged product prior to shipment.
- Ask your customer to take a photo if it is received damaged.
- If you suspect the carrier is mishandling your shipments, include damage indicators like a Tip-N-Tell or Shock Watch.
- If there are handling, transport, and unpacking procedures, make sure to include visual instructions on the outside of the package.
#2 After you have identified the cause of damage some solutions might be:
- Changing your packaging procedures
- Choosing an alternative solution to improve the package's performance
- Evaluate your distribution environment and possible variables associated with land, Sea, Air, or Rail transport, is there anything you can change?
- And safe guarding against fraudulent damage claims from customers with damage indicators
Here is a case where hidden damage occurred and was not detected until the part was installed and failed to perform. A process of elimination was used to target the exact cause of the packaging failure on the returned parts for this Rod Manufacturer.
- The first step was to include a Tip N Tell and Shock Watch in the packaging to determine if mishandling was occurring by the contracted carrier.
- The 2nd step was to perform an ISTA vibration test which revealed the packaging was failing to keep the rods secure.
From this information Valley Box created a custom guillotine style foam insert to eliminate the vibration and save the fragile rods from any damage during transport.
When the new package design was implemented the rate of damage returns went from 36% annually to 0%. In turn this increased overall customer satisfaction.
The International Safe Transit Association or the ISTA has four basic categories of hazards that may occur during distribution:
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