If you’re shipping high-value or delicate items to customers, it’s vital they arrive on time and in one piece. No matter what you’re shipping, or who you’re shipping it with, all cargo will be exposed to some amount of impact and vibration stress, and all carriers will expose cargo to at least some amount of weather – especially for packages that will ultimately be left on porches or at front doors.
But while there’s a lot about the shipping process that you can’t control, there’s plenty you can. The right packaging, the right equipment, the right carrier, and the right route can all come together to make sure your package arrives safe and undamaged. Here’s how.
Pack the Shipment Properly
Packaging is one of the most important elements of making sure a shipment arrives intact. Packing fragile items doesn’t have to be an ordeal, but it’s important that you do it right.
First of all, you need to choose the right container for your fragile items. Poly bags and jiffy padded envelopes may be appropriate for some more durable items, but for many fragile items, corrugated cardboard boxes are more appropriate. Consider having custom containers made for your items. Double-walled cardboard containers provide more stability and durability for the most delicate items.
Always use new cardboard boxes and containers for shipping your delicate items. Transport can weaken containers, so reusing shipping containers isn’t a good option. Instead, cut costs by reducing damage to cargo.
In addition to choosing the right container for your delicate items, you’ll also need to choose the right cushioning material. The best cushioning material for your shipment will depend on the requirements of the items being shipping. For example, glass items need to be protected from rattling around inside a container, so cushioning materials like Styrofoam and packaging air bags can both hold glass items in place inside the container, while also providing some resilience against impact stress.
Invest in the Right Equipment
The loss of an expensive shipment can put a business under, so it’s vital that you invest in the equipment you need to guarantee that your shipments arrive on time and in good condition. There are plenty of tools available to ensure that cargo arrives safely, and these days, it’s not just about pallets, straps, plastic, and foam. For example, you can use impact indicators to gain an understanding of the stresses your cargo faces during shipment, so you can plan accordingly in terms of packaging and even your shipping route.
Use a Reliable Carrier
The right carrier will know how to recognize your high-value cargo, and will have the training necessary to treat it properly. They’ll also be able to offer you the insurance you need to protect your cargo in case something does go wrong. But that will be less likely to happen, because good carriers follow their insurance underwriters’ advice when it comes to choosing air and freight shipping lines to carry high-value items, and they train their employees to treat your delicate and valuable cargo with the utmost care.
Plan Your Route
The more valuable, delicate, or time- and temperature-sensitive your cargo, the more important route planning is. Planning your shipping route ahead of time can increase the speed and efficiency of your shipping, which can go a long way towards protecting your cargo all on its own, because the less time your items spend in transit, the less likely they are to be stolen or damaged. Some items, such as live plants, insects, or food, need to be shipped as fast as possible, so they arrive unharmed by weather conditions and, in the case of animals or plants, still alive and healthy.
Route planning can also help you select a route that will minimize impact stress on your shipment. A faster route will minimize impact stress on your cargo, but you should also consider researching routes that minimize obstacles like potholes or gravel roads, which can subject your cargo to impact stress.
Keeping valuable cargo intact throughout shipping can be a delicate balancing act. With the right packaging, equipment, and carrier service, you can minimize the stress of getting valuable or delicate items to their destinations in one piece. That way, you can focus on doing what you do best – producing the goods your customers crave.