Five mistakes that companies make when packaging their products

Many product manufacturers are “do-it-yourselfers” when it comes to designing and fabricating packaging and crating for their own products.  Often they really don’t have the expertise to adequately address the long list of issues associated with packaging, crating and shipping.   Eventually many of these companies realize that they need help and come to us for a solution.   Below are five mistakes we often see with industrial packaging:

Misunderstanding International regulations:   There still seems to be a fairly widespread misunderstanding on what constitutes ISPM 15 compliant wood.  Many think that any treated lumber is acceptable; others don’t understand requirements for dunnage.  Some mistakenly believe that wood with mold is not ISPM 15 compliant.  Not understanding all the requirements and not relying on experts can get your shipments delayed, rejected and subject to fines.   Packnet is licensed and audited by Timber Products Inspection Agency and is fully qualified to source and process approved materials for export.  If you are exporting a product that is shipped inside, or on top of a container that uses solid wood for any part of it, then you need to be in compliance with ISPM 15.  More info on ISPM 15.

Not considering external conditions:    Many under estimate the type of environments that their product sees during transit.   Products could experience temperature and humidity extremes, if shipped by ocean vessel the product is continuously exposes to salt sea mist.   Crates can stand out in pouring rain or blizzards depending on the time of year.   Many times the products are stored in an uncontrolled warehouse for months before being unpacked.   Businesses are often amazed when a product gets returned because it is badly corroded, or has display windows that are un-viewable.  There are a number of ways to protect against environmental issues including corrosion protection products, humidify controls and insulation techniques.  Additionally, there are number of monitoring products that will help determine what type of environment the product experienced during shipment.   Packnet offers a wide range of products, engineering and support in this area.

Using the wrong cushioning materials:   Many times one can pack a product snugly in by surrounding it with foam and assume that the product is protected.   This has been stated before, not all foam is the same.   The product may look great when it leaves your dock, but improper cushioning materials can shrink, sag, compress, shed and even crack.  Packnet uses foam products that have been tested in every possible environment; we understand the various types of foams and the correct application in shipping.  More info on custom foam packaging.

Not considering safety and ergonomics:  Material handling has some of the highest accident rates in the industry.  Often the issue is with poorly designed packaging or crating systems that are difficult to load and unload, impossible to stack or require excess force to remove the crating.   Many times crating is an afterthought for a product manufacturer, but it shouldn’t be.  The costs of accidents or damaged products can overrun any savings you earned from your lean manufacturing efforts or automation.   The engineer who designed your assembly line may not have the experience and expertise to adequately address packaging.   That is why companies come to packaging and crating experts such as Packnet to design and fabricate their packaging and crating.

Not being prepared to litigate:   Most shipments are covered by insurance policies and most parties involved in product transport have insurance.   Unfortunately, even with good insurance, one still may have to prove fault.   When a product arrives damaged, was it due to handling, or inadequate packaging.   Often it is in the best interest for the insurance company to fight a claim even if the contract was pretty clearly stated.   Can you prove that the product experienced any kind of handling or exposure that exceeded the contract?  Without good monitoring and measuring systems, the answer may be no.   Packnet sells ShockWatch® handling and environmental indicators that can prove whether a package was dropped, tilted, exposed to hot or cold temperatures or experience a high level of humidly.   Shipping handling indicators and monitors are a small investment to protect your asset. More info on shipping and handling monitors.

There are many hidden risks and costs associated with packaging and crating.   Conversely there are huge opportunities for cost savings by using well designed packaging solutions for your industrial products.   Packnet offers a free packaging assessment, we encourage you to take advantage of this and see how much money you can save.