During peak season, many freight companies take very little care during as they’re forklifting thousands of pallets on docks and trucks around the country.
Shrugging their shoulders at collateral damage, their mission is to pump out volume as quickly as possible – which puts the safety of your shipment (and pocketbook) at risk.
When it comes to saving money, shipment preparation is the most important stage in a product’s life. If you’re interested in protecting both your bottom line and your delivery time, follow these four easy steps to success.
1) Properly Package Your Item
Are you considering setting your product on a pallet and calling a freight company to pick it up? Or maybe you’re even thinking of shrink-wrapping it? Think again. Sending your product without proper packaging is akin to lighting a match to it.
By attempting to package your product yourself, it eliminates the carrier’s responsibility if a claim arises. It will, inevitably, be denied due to improper packaging.
The freight company will also be stacking things on top of this pallet, or at the very least near it. They don’t have moving straps, which means that if your product can tip over, it will (as soon as the truck takes a corner with a little gusto).
Shipment Preparation 101
If the item can be boxed, we recommend purchasing a box with a few inches of room and filling that room with foam/bubble-wrap or other packing materials. Then, the item should be securely banded to a pallet. (Pro tip: all these items can be purchased inexpensively at a site like www.uline.com.)
Is your shipment too bulky to order a box for? No problem. You can also order cardboard sheets/pads and packing material. We recommend securing the product to a pallet, then using foam board/pads or bubble-wrap and tightly wrapping it around any exposed surface of the product.
Afterwards, use the cardboard pads to completely encase the item and band it to the pallet. This gives some cushion to the freight for any possible mishandling/stacking. It allows your buyer at delivery to see any evidence of mishandling (punctures/rips in the cardboard, for example) and sign the BOL correctly for possible damage.
Also, since it is now properly packaged you can insure your product and your 3PL can facilitate the claims process/payment if something were to happen.
2) Label Your Item
Proper identification of the freight will help in the case of misrouting. Your label should state the full destination address/contact information, as well as either your 3PL or your company contact information. At MoveIt, we provide the shipping labels along with the BOL’s for our customers.
3) Take a Picture
Pictures are the best way to prove your item was packaged properly. It also makes your package more identifiable in the event of a misrouting/loss. We recommend taking a picture of the product prior to packaging, and then after the completion of the packaging, sharing it with your 3PL so they can have it with the file in case of any mishandling or misrouting.
4) Cut the Pallet to Size
Did you know that you should be cutting your pallets down to size? That way, you won’t be paying for a full pallet space when you can easily fit your item on a smaller, space-saving pallet.
If it is still easily pallet-jacked and/or fork-lifted, you can also lower your product’s density and your freight classification/dimensional weight.
Chad graduated from Iowa State University in 1996 with a bachelor of science in Statistics and has been involved in operations management and marketing for 24 years. His current work at MoveIt is focused on customer and vendor network development. He is happily married with 3 sons who are all heavily involved in sports and music like their father.