Featured image by Schäferle from Pixabay
To say that shipping damage is a major problem for small businesses in particular is something of an understatement.
Shipping damage is described as any issue that happens to a product from the moment it leaves the factory or warehouse, but prior to its arrival at the point of sale. According to one recent study, businesses in the United States lose about $1 billion per year to this type of damage. This is an unfortunate trend that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Thankfully, taking meaningful steps to mitigate these types of issues isn’t necessarily as difficult as you might fear. It does, however, require you to remember a number of essential things during the process.
Mitigating Impact Damage: An Overview
One of the biggest sources of shipping damage actually has to do with improperly shipped pallets of products. However, this is an issue that businesses can address in a number of different ways.
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Avoiding Shipping Damage to Items on Pallets
Sometimes, package instability occurs due to too many packages being on a pallet. This creates impacts during shipping that could damage those items beyond repair. Therefore, reducing the materials in packages to make them smaller or shipping fewer items on a pallet would be viable options. This type of planning can prevent these types of issues from happening.
Far too often, however, shippers often overload pallets to the point where weight simply becomes too much of an issue. This increases the chances that the pallets will shift during transportation. Again, this creates a major impact risk. Shipping professionals need to use pallets that are either built for these types of loads or for irregular loads. Alternatively, they must take greater care in terms of how many items are on a pallet at a given time.
The Improper Loading of Trucks and Containers
The loading of trucks and shipping containers is also a major source of trouble when it comes to shipping damage. If trucks are loaded improperly so that there is too big of a gap between one load and the next, shipping damage can occur. This can happen simply because of the natural shifting of the items in the shipment.
Using Incorrect Wrapping Materials
Using the correct types of wrapping materials can help prevent items from moving or falling during transportation. However, this too presents its fair share of problems.
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Sometimes stretch wrapping, when not applied properly, can give workers a false sense of security that the items will remain protected regardless of what happens to a truck or shipping container. But if that wrapping isn’t applied in a way that makes sense for the given load, it may only exacerbate the problem, not make it better.
Turning to Modern Technology to Avoid Shipping Damage
Given the fact that avoiding shipping damage is so critical, it stands to reason that savvy supply chain managers are turning to modern technology to help them accomplish this goal.
Impact recorder, sensor, and monitor devices like those available from SpotSee are quickly becoming invaluable tools to that end. But regardless of the manufacturer, the goal of these devices is the same. That is, they activate when an impact level exceeds a predetermined level. This gives officials as much actionable information as possible. Then they can do something about it.
But more than that, using something like an impact receiver also acts as a highly visual deterrent to mishandling caused by employees. If someone knows they’re being monitored not just via a camera, but also via a device that will send an automated alert should they not take the appropriate level of care with a package, they’re far less likely to do so. Even if the event still occurs, supply chain managers can quickly identify and respond to these types of shipping issues. Thus, they can prevent such issues from happening again in the future.
Many of these devices that record impact information ship with cellular connectivity. This allows their alerts to get pushed out to the people who need them regardless of their current location. Some simply collect information about the event, while others collect event and even time code information.
Many also include cloud connectivity, which stores data on the internet so that any device on earth with an internet connection can access that information. This allows supply chain managers to be just as productive in the field as they could be in a warehouse or similar environment.
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Taking Meaningful Steps to Avoid Shipping Damage
In the end, these types of direct costs due to shipping damage can be a major burden for an organization—and not just for the logistics division. It can have a negative ripple effect across the entirety of the company.
This is why organizational leaders need to take meaningful steps to avoid these types of issues moving forward. Doing so won’t just help save a tremendous amount of money. It will also create better experiences for end users, which is ultimately the most important goal of all.