When shipping products, the responsibility of a logistics professional doesn’t end when the items leave a warehouse. It’s essential to pay attention to the materials used for packaging what’s inside. If they’re not durable enough or can’t withstand harsh weather conditions, the contents of a package could get ruined before arriving at a destination. When that happens, costs increase, especially if it’s necessary to provide replacements.
However, package testing in a controlled environment can keep costs low and enhance client satisfaction. There are several components of this kind of evaluation, covered in detail below.
Customer Application Reviews
A customer application review involves an on-site investigation of the current methods used to ship products to customers. In addition to looking deeply at existing practices, you’ll also receive recommendations about how to improve your techniques and align them with industry standards.
This approach to optimizing shipping performance is educational because of how it illuminates potential weaknesses and offers advice for making positive changes. You may also realize you’re making one or more common packaging mistakes in order to keep your business operations economical.
For example, did you know a box’s structural integrity breaks down by 50 percent after only one shipment? That means if you’re using packaging more than once to reduce costs, you might be compromising the safety of shipped items.
If customer application reviews show shortcomings in your practices, the field engineering phase can help you actionably move closer to optimal shipping performance. Like customer application reviews, it also takes place on-site. During field engineering, you’ll use the findings of the customer application reviews to guide efforts.
They might include coming up with an entirely new package after determining the packaging you use is not adequate for protecting items throughout a shipping cycle. Alternatively, you may tweak current packaging to cut down on identified issues.
Besides potentially including research and development to understand more about how to make packaging better, field engineering typically involves following the newly designed or improved packaging through the shipping cycle.
There are many potential benefits to manufacturers that invest in package testing. One of them is that you’ll gather data that could result in more effective materials. That’s why it’s necessary to see how the packaging holds up from the time of shipment through the point when it reaches the destination.
Laboratory Testing of the Packaging
It can be difficult to envision exactly what a package could encounter as it makes its way across a country or the world. However, numerous laboratory tests can provide accurate recreations of how packaging will stand up to the harsh conditions it may encounter after leaving the warehouse.
There are two main types of stresses placed on packaging: mechanical strains and climatic stresses. Some factors that are part of the first category include the pressure from stacked boxes, as well as the impacts of vibrations or being dropped. On the other hand, climatic stresses solely relate to weather or environmental conditions — which could include storage in ill-equipped areas.
Furthermore, it’s easy to adapt the testing carried out. For example, the people evaluating the worthiness of the packaging can adjust the degree vibration sustained. Similarly, it’s possible to subject a package to particular types of drops, such as rotational falls or drops from inclines.
Also, the tests involving pressure from stacking see how the materials perform when exposed to extreme long-term weight, as well as what happens if a person applies pressure and then suddenly lifts it off. These can confirm the compression rate of a material.
Laboratory conditions that check the performance in response to demanding environments might include spraying corrugated boxes with water or placing packaging in settings defined by high temperatures, humidity or both.
Furthermore, if a manufacturer or logistics expert identifies a prevalent distribution hazard or unexpected challenge with sending a certain product across long distances, those obstacles can be dealt with in the static and alterable setting of a laboratory rather than in an unpredictable, real-world environment. Then, the likelihood of packages breaking down during shipment or otherwise not functioning as expected goes down dramatically.
It’s crucial to carry out these tests in a certified lab because those facilities have the machinery and professional operators required to achieve valuable results. Performing computer-based analysis is also possible in cases when it is impractical to assess in the most common ways.
Wrapping Up The Benefits of Optimizing Shipping Performance
Together, these three widely used methods of ensuring the best shipping performance possible could result in greater peace of mind for manufacturers and recipients alike. Plus, they allow logistics professionals to spot and remedy package-related problems that manifest at different stages of the overall transportation process. The information gained by shipping performance optimization could help logistics operations excel on a continual basis.