Your “Fragile” Cargo is Mishandled the Most – How to Protect Yourself

handlinghomepagelinkWhether you’re a manufacturer or a consumer, you’ve been there.  You’ve shipped or received a package that became so mangled during transit you wonder if a troop of gorillas hijacked the truck. Clear mishandling has taken place, and if that product was destroyed as a result, someone has to pay for it. Often that someone is the manufacturer, and they sure need the right proof for insurance to cover the loss.

As carefully as we package products, it’s human nature to assume that if we just let the carrier know that it’s fragile, he or she will dutifully take better care of it. This is extra assurance that we won’t be disappointing the recipient.

We couldn’t be more wrong.

We uncovered a package handling test that Popular Mechanics performed after reading advice from a former UPS handler who wrote an article for Cracked called, “5 Reasons Packages Get Destroyed (Learned Working at UPS.)”

The referenced article was co-written by Robert Evans and Sara Ohlms and reads,

“My supervisor took me to one of the trailers to show me how to load. He explained how you load left to right, pack them in tight, and go all the way up to the ceiling of the trailer. He took a rather light package that, sure enough, said ‘FRAGILE’ on it and tossed it up to the top of the wall to finish off the stack. He missed. The box fell to the floor of the trailer. He picked it up and tossed it back up there. ‘That said ‘fragile’ on it,’ said I, scandalized. He looked at me like I was crazy and said ‘They all say ‘fragile.’”

No need to take the word of random strangers writing for Cracked, however. Glenn Derene of Popular Mechanics wrote about his test and what he discovered in “Which Shipping Company Is Kindest to Your Packages?”

First he explains his motivation:

“A few years ago, Popular Mechanics shipped a custom-built gaming PC—a rather heavy and cumbersome beast—to a New Hampshire woman who’d won it in a sweepstakes. The computer arrived in pieces, delivering a crushing blow, so to speak, to the nice lady as well as to the PM staffers who’d built the computer. Even though we made good by reconstructing the PC and driving it to her doorstep, I still shudder at the memory of the gory photos she sent us of the shattered machine.” “…after our PC-shipping incident, I felt a sense of professional duty to find a way to get inside a package, as it were, and quantify the abuse it endures.”

To conduct the experiment, Derene worked with an industrial test and measurement company to create a data-logging device that could gauge and record vibration, temperature and orientation.

One of the most eye-opening discoveries of the test is that the packages marked “Fragile” or “This side up” were treated the worst. By a lot.

So if there’s no persuading carriers to take better care of our package, and you ship something as valuable as a custom-built gaming PC, how do you ensure that you’re not responsible for damaged goods if it’s the carrier’s fault, not your packaging, that the damage occurred?

Do what Derene did and add sensors to your important packages.

Packnet provides damage prevention solutions including ShockWatch sensors. They measure, store, and record shock, vibration, temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. They can be used in the packaging or on the product. Some options include:

  • Labels and reusable mag
  • Companion labels and alert tape products
  • Shock log environmental recording device
  • ShockWatch clips to attach to your product
  • Tilt watch indicators
  • Sensors that turn red when activated

We also provide custom packaging solutions for large, heavy, and very fragile pieces. Contact us to see how to best protect your assets from shipping mishaps: 952-944-9124 or Contact Us.