How To Reduce Product Damage During Shipping

Warehouse, worker with a forklift

One of the biggest blows to a company's sales and profits is product damage. Any company that is into the production of goods invariably has to convey these products to the point of sales, and while this is necessary, it comes with certain risks such as goods getting damaged in transit. 

The fact that almost every shipment undergoes product damage has led manufacturers to add extra stock to their shipment to make up for anticipated damage, but this results in an increase in cost. In fact, it has become a pre-calculated part of the total cost of business. 

As common as having damaged products is, having a high percentage of it will invariably lower your profit margin as well as disappoint your customers. One thing you should always consider as a manufacturer or supplier is customer satisfaction. Nobody enjoys ordering a product and then receiving damaged stock, and such customers will be discouraged from patronizing your brand and may even go on to comment negatively online, therefore posing a great threat to your business growth. 

Happy customers tend to be loyal customers, and so you should look for ways to minimize product damage during transportation. This is done basically by using high-quality stretch films (also called stretch wraps) to wrap the stacked goods, but even the stacking itself must be done in such a way as to maximize pallet load stability in order to reduce the tendency of the goods to move or fall apart when the vehicle accelerates or brakes suddenly. Below are ways in which you can increase pallet load stability to reduce product damage. 

 

1. Using stretch films

High quality stretch films or wraps can significantly increase the stability of loads. When loads are stacked on a pallet, ensure to wrap tightly using a quality stretch film. Note that while using too many layers of stretch films can damage packaging and thus the product, too little will lead to instability and possibly collapse. 

 

2. Reducing stack height

Stack height is a major factor to consider in improving pallet load stability. Stacks having a significantly large height to width ratio tend to be more unstable than shorter ones. Tall stacks have their centre of gravity very far from the ground, therefore making the top of the stack very heavy. This increases the tendency for the load to topple over when the vehicle breaks suddenly, whether or not stretch wraps are used. 

 

3. Limiting the use of perforations

More products are now commonly shipped in open and shelf-ready cases with a lot of perforations. Having too many perforations in a case will weaken the structural strength of the case, especially when these perforations cut through the vertical edges. 

 

4. Improving your shipping platform

Plastic pallets are better and more durable than wooden ones. Wooden pallets are more prone to defects, which may, in turn, lead to collapse during shipping. Wooden splinters and protruding nails can as well damage packaging or the product therein, therefore if wooden pallets must be used at all (due to lower cost), refined lumber with smooth finishes and countersunk fasteners should be used.

Large gaps in pallets reduce structural strength and thus pallet load stability will be compromised when products are aligned along such gaps. Fewer gaps would mean more lumber, but the impact on pallet load stability should make up for the cost. Plastic is resistant to action of fluids and other materials, thereby limiting the spread of chemical spills that can lead to contamination of products. 

 

5. Choosing an interlocked stacking pattern over columnar pattern. 

Whereas columnar stacking may improve the compressive strength of your stack, using an interlocking pattern produces greater lateral strength and overall pallet load stability.

Also, ensure that your packaging is designed such that it fully utilizes all the available space in the pallet. Unused spaces give room for products to move about, thereby increasing the chances of hitting against each other or possibly collapse. 

 

In a Nutshell 

After all the above have been checked, use a high-quality stretch wrap to wrap up the whole stack and I assure you product movement or damage during shipping will be drastically reduced.