We’ve most likely all dealt with the disappointing occurrence of receiving a package with damaged goods inside. This is very frustrating, disappointing, and completely preventable. When you are importing products from overseas this becomes even more critical. Many companies simply rely on their logistics and transportation provider to safely pack and transport their products. However, if we’re honest with each other we all know that from time to time containers get dropped and products aren’t 100% secured for traveling 3,000 or so miles. So what can you do to avoid these common pitfalls?
Most manufacturers only see their main task is to produce your product, so they don’t invest time into what happens to your product after it ships. The problem with that mentality is that quality does not end once a product comes off of the assembly line. Total Quality Management (TQM), by definition, is a management approach that focuses on the long-term success of your product with the end goal being customer satisfaction.
Your investment in getting your product manufactured is not something to be taken lightly. Just because the majority of suppliers out there have a margin of acceptable loss due to defects and shipping doesn’t mean that you have to accept that as your only option. A manufacturer who truly executes TQM is customer-focused and process-centered. When you place an order you should not have to order 30% more inventory than what you need because of the unpredictability of the shipping process.
A manufacturer who has established an integrated system that makes quality its top priority will offer you a solution for making custom packaging to product your product until it gets to your door. From our experience this has greatly reduced the number of damaged goods. Most pack and ship companies only provide crating and container options but that isn’t enough to get your products safely delivered. You also have to take into consideration the product’s dimensions, weight, fragility, mode of transport and the final destination requirements.
There are several different types of cushioning used to prepare containers for shipping including polyurethane, polyether and polystyrene foams. Your product isn’t one-size-fits-all and neither should your packaging be. The supplier you choose should have packaging experts who work with you and your product’s specifications to help you come up with the best solution that reduces shipping costs, damages and lost revenue. In addition to the types of packaging it is important that you have the right materials such as:
- anti-static wraps, cushioning and barriers to prevent electrostatic discharges from damaging sensitive items;
- vapor barriers for electronics and other items with sensitive or bare metal surfaces that will be transported by ocean freight and require protection from moisture;
- and heat-shrink wrapping can be especially useful when you have assets that require short-term or long-term storage.
For the rest of the shipping journey, take advantage of logistics providers who have software to allow you monitor your shipments end-to-end. For example, Haven’s online platform helps you automate ocean freight reservations by providing you with guaranteed capacity and transparent billing. Choosing the right freight carrier can help you get the lowest shipping rate, the shortest shipping time, and any streamline your operations.
As one might expect, the larger the item is that is being shipped, the more important packaging is. Packaging has a big impact on the ability to ship the item and the resulting consumer costs. Here are some great ideas for making shipping a success instead of a headache.
- Look for a manufacturer who is strategically located close to major shipping ports, as this will keep shipping costs down.
- Be aware of the maximum size and weight of common shipping providers.
- Package products in a way that helps reduce labor costs.
- For products with separate parts, think about how you want to group and package the individual pieces in order to minimize shipping costs.
- Consider the impact of your packaging techniques have on warehousing costs.
Packaging and logistics is such a key part of keeping your costs down so you can provide the best pricing to your customers and continue growing your business. At the end of the day it comes down to doing your due diligence and having a manufacturing company you can trust. So don’t hesitate to ask your manufacturer about the packaging methods they use and determine if they can really deliver quality through the entire supply chain.