You’ve finally finish that big wholesale order and it’s time to ship it off. You might be impatient to get it out the door, but now isn’t the time to rush things. Packing and shipping your product with care will ensure that it arrives at its destination in pristine condition. We’ve asked Garrett Grebe, a logistics specialist with 20 years of experience, to share expert tips on how to pack a box like a pro.
Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of shipping an item only to find out it was damaged or lost in transit? How frustrating!! I’ve been working in the transportation industry for the last 20 years and have seen some very personal and high value items get damaged. Most of the time, it’s due to improper packaging and so I thought I’d give back to the world in a quick teach on how to ship to avoid damage during transit.
There are three basic rules of shipping and the first is using a proper carton. Many people try to use a box that was only meant to hold the item, not transport it. Consider a shirt box; they are made of thin, weak cardboard similar to what’s used in making a cereal box- no good! Decorative boxes wrapped in brown paper and tied with string are going to get obliterated during transit. Packages travel through a maze of conveyor belts, slides and diverters before being stacked together into a trailer or air container for transportation. Proper boxes for shipping will be corrugated cardboard and have a box certificate printed on it.
To ensure your package makes it through the sortation equipment and transportation by your carrier, you’ll want to keep the maximum weight in the box around 50%-60% of the Gross Weight Limit printed on the box certificate seal. Those certificate guidelines were originally created for storing packages, not necessarily shipping them.
The next, and arguably the most important rule of shipping, is packing material. As a rule of thumb, if you can hear the item shaking inside the box, it will break! There are multiple options of packing material on the market.
They range from paper products, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, air pillows- all the way up to specially molded foams for high-value, extremely fragile products. For average products, it’s recommended to wrap the product in one of the aforementioned options and then, using additional material like packing peanuts or air pillows, fill the remainder of the voids inside the box. The key here is to ensure that the item is protected with a product that will provide cushioning and then the remaining space is filled-up to not allow the item to move. A critical point here is to ensure the box is big enough to allow for filler product to completely surround the wrapped item on top, bottom, and all 4 sides.
Finally, the last step to ensure your package arrives safely is taping the box closed. Tape is one of those products people might take for granted. However, not all shipping tape is created equal! This is a relatively inexpensive investment to ensure the box stays closed while in transit. The #1 reason items get lost and/or damaged is because the box came open! You’ll want to use a tape specifically designed for shipping that’s 2-3” wide. Tape every seam on the box for best results. This is called the H-method.
You’ll also want to ensure your tape has a wide temperature range. Sure, you might be in temperate Orlando and shipping something to San Diego, but the truck your package is riding in will see every condition in between. Those pesky Rocky Mountains can see frigid temperatures all year!
I hope this was informative and gives everyone a better sense of how to select a quality carton, packing material and good tape to ensure your products arrive in the same condition you sent them in! Nobody in the shipping industry takes it lightly when we see damaged products and if I helped even one person avoid a damaged shipment, then I’ll consider this article a success! If you’d rather not worry about any of this both FedEx and UPS are more than willing to pack and ship items for you at their retail locations. Thank you and happy shipping!
Garrett Grebe has 20 years in the logistics industry. When he’s not at work, he spends his time with his wife and three daughters in the great outdoors, or in the backyard, perfecting his barbecue recipes.