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Transporting products and keeping your customers happy is part of business. In order to do that, you need to protect your shipments from the perils of transportation. Shipping companies and drivers don’t intend to break pallets and damage merchandise, but it happens. Being proactive and using some tips to minimize freight damage will go a long way toward mitigating those risks.
The first tip to minimize freight damage is to make sure your products are packaged properly. This is important for several reasons. Putting a fragile item in a box that is too large with little to no packing inside practically guarantees breakage. When choosing packaging for your products, make sure that it’s large enough to accommodate the item(s), but small enough so there’s no extra room. The same guidelines apply when putting that carton into a shipping carton. Use as much packing material, like Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, and paper, as necessary so it doesn’t shift when being handled. The goal is no rattling or shifting inside the shipping container, no matter how roughly it’s handled.
All shipping cartons should have packing materials inside to eat up any extra space. When building the pallet, put the heaviest cartons at the bottom and lighter ones at the top. Try to keep the pallet uniform in shape with nothing hanging over the edges. Add corner boards to the pallet to add support to the pallet and absorb any shock or impact during transit. To prevent things from being stacked on top of your pallet, you can add cones to the top. These prevent shipping companies from putting anything on your pallet to maximize their space in the trailer.
Don’t go cheap when buying shipping and packaging supplies. This includes packing tape, glue, and stretch wrap. An open box on a trailer means loss. When product comes out in transit, it’s difficult for the carrier to know who it belongs to and where it’s going. They just toss it out and file a claim, then wait for you to call. Double-tape all your boxes and always use good-quality stretch wrap. It’s a small thing that pays off in the end.
Operational knowledge is important for all industries. Having quality dock workers who know how to load trucks properly cannot be overstated. Turnover happens, though, so good training is important. Make sure that everyone knows how to properly load a truck to minimize the chances of damage. Taller and heavier pallets should go to the nose of the trailer. Everything should be touching a wall of the trailer at the minimum, though touching a wall and another pallet is preferred. Proper loading keeps pallets from shifting during transit and reducing the chance of breakage. Whenever possible, use load bars as another layer of protection. They keep pallets from moving when the trailer isn’t full.
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