New call-to-action

How to Identify and Prevent Shipping Damages Video



Why was your wood crate designed in the first place? To maintain the quality of your product to its destination.

In most cases products ship everywhere every day with no issues of damage from rough handling, punctures, vibration damage, or dropping. When these events do occur, new issues come to light concerning damage and returns.

This post will help you learn to recognize and prevent damage. 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-user 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 basic 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 or a disassembly video.

#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 safeguarding 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.

  1. 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.
  2. The 2nd step was to perform an ISTA vibration test which revealed the packaging was failing to keep the rods secure.

The International Safe Transit Association or the ISTA has four basic categories of hazards that may occur during distribution:


  • Shock
  • Vibration
  • Compression
  • Atmospheric


Each hazard category has a major test category associated with it and there are 13 associated test types. Contact the ISTA for further information on package testing at

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.

Topics: Services, Tips

Valley Box Company

Written by Valley Box Company

Valley Box demonstrates what is possible beyond just the typical wooden crate. This specialty crating manufacturer works with a wide variety of materials from wood to plastic, corrugated, metals and more. Discover how to take specialty crating to the next level.