Shipping damage can be a huge financial drain on any company, but especially on a small business that needs to operate on a razor-thin margin. But shipping damage isn’t an expense you just have to resign yourself to eating.
You can take action to isolate the factors that contribute to shipping damage in your organization and take steps to reduce or eliminate them. By using shipping damage indicators, like shock and impact recorders, you can find out where and how shipments are sustaining damage, and even pinpoint the processes, routes, procedures, and packaging that make shipping damage possible or even likely. Then, you can make changes to your shipping processes and even collect data to confirm that your changes are making a measurable difference to the damage your shipments sustain.
Understand What Causes Shipping Damage
It’s not hard to understand the causes of shipping damage. It can occur due to rough handling, insufficient packaging, bad weather conditions, temperature extremes en route, humidity, moisture, rough roughs, or even accidents in the supply chain. Much of shipping and logistics revolves around finding ways to mitigate or entirely prevent shipping damage.
Using brand new corrugated cardboard packaging, combined with the right insulation and (if necessary) coolants or warmers, cushioning, and waterproofing can prevent most shipping damage. But to better understand what’s causing the damage your shipments sustain, you need greater visibility into how your packages pass through the supply chain. You need a level of visibility that only a tracking device like an impact recorder can give you. These devices will log any sustained vibrations, pitch and roll movements, accelerations and decelerations, and impacts or sudden shocks your packages sustain, so you can know what they’re going through and even pinpoint which of those events was severe enough to potentially cause damage to your shipment.
Identify When, Where, and How Shipping Damage Occurs
Any time a package experiences a jolt, that’s an impact that could potentially cause damage, especially when it comes to delicate items. And it doesn’t take much of an impact to damage some fragile items. A cell phone dropped from ear height can sustain impact forces of up to 1,000 Gs, for example. Items moving through the supply chain can sustain impact damage from sliding around on the truck, getting jostled during coupling and uncoupling of rail cars, or getting bounced around while traveling over a rough stretch of road. In other words, it’s not just careless delivery people causing shipping damage.
When you start using impact recorders, you’ll get all the data you need about what your packages are going through, and many impact recorders can also estimate which vibrations and shocks are severe enough to damage the contents of the package. As you collect data on how your packages are experiencing the supply chain, you’ll be better equipped to understand the causes of damage to your shipments, whether they be rough roads, stormy seas, a driver who likes to tailgate and slam on the brakes, or a carrier who is reliving his high school football glory days via the dubious art of package tossing.
Take Action Against It
Once you know what circumstances are putting your package contents at risk of damage, you’ll be able to make changes to your shipping and logistics processes to reduce shipping damage. Maybe your packages need to be double-boxed or stabilised with more cushioning material. Maybe you should spring for the air-ride delivery trucks or upgrade to a shipping method that’s friendlier to fragile items, like air freight. Perhaps you should change your shipping routes so drivers aren’t bouncing over so many potholes, or change carriers to take advantage of more conscientious last-mile delivery. As you make these changes, you can continue to collect vibration and impact data from your shipments, so you can verify that your improvements actually are having the intended impact.
Shipping damage can really put a dent in your profits, and that’s why you need to take action to prevent it. With the help of impact recorders, you can get a detailed view of the stresses your packages experience in transit, and with that data, you can make changes that can significantly reduce your shipping damage — and boost your bottom line.