Congratulations! If you are reading this blog, chances are you are preparing to ship your product out to market. You’ve tested everything, your manufacturing is smooth, and you’ve designed the perfect packaging that will be sure to make your product fly off of store shelves! Even the meat-eaters in Shark Tank would drool over your next business venture. The only thing left to do? Ship. Your product needs to make it from point A to point B in order to find itself in reach of your customers. This can be a complex and time-consuming process so we are writing this blog article to make sure you’re prepared for what comes next, so you can save time and money.
What you’ll find, is that the logistics company you agreed to use for shipping, has a few requirements. Yes, in arranging for what you hoped to be a simple and flawless pick up, you are now facing a list of guidelines from your customer’s distribution warehouse where your product will be delivered. What costs were not anticipated? Will the product have to be repacked? Will there be time enough for changes to meet the pickup schedule? Will the inner and master cartons meet the guidelines? All shipping distribution companies have particular guidelines in place that need to be considered before shipping can begin. Below are areas of general concern (which may vary from company to company) that should be considered before you start to ship.
Protect Your Investment
Consideration for your packaging when approaching storage is as important as it is for when you’re shipping. If individual units are not stored inside cases, they should not be exposed in their display box. Cover your product with clear plastic to keep dust off and keep the product clean. Without proper protection, exposure to a warehouse environment could sully all the hard work you put into packaging your product. Plastic bags and cases should be used for packaging individual units. Proper unit packaging ensures your customers receive your product as you intended.
Remember that you are responsible for ensuring your merchandise is sufficiently protected from damage. Transportation and delivery can be a hectic process that could damage your product if you don’t take the appropriate precautions. Use solid cardboard dividers for anything containing glass or plastic. Anything fragile should be packed in solid cartons that can stand up to the punishment it may endure during the shipping process. When it comes to fillers such as confetti paper, cardboard, inflated airbags, tissue paper, etc., be sure to check with the shipping company before use, as some vendors have particular requirements when filling any empty voids in your cartons/cases. ALSO, don’t forget to seal the boxes with solid packing tape.
Make a List, Follow the List
At some point, you’re going to have to create a packing list. You’ll need to indicate, in a concise and clear fashion, exactly how many boxes, cartons, and containers are shipping, and what is contained within. If you are using a master carton, try to avoid mixing products within, but if it is necessary, include a clear packing list that explains exactly what is inside.
Refine Your Shipping Pallets
Local standards change when it comes to using pallets to ship your cases, but US Customs and the US FDA have specific requirements you’ll need to take into account as well. Be sure to discuss these requirements with your shipping company. Most often, wooden or plastic pallets will meet these standards, but remember that softwood pallets MUST be fumigated. You or your customs broker will need to present a certificate confirming the fumigation took place.
Check if your cartons are “oversized”
Cartons larger than 18 inches (45.7 cm) in any two dimensions (e.g. length and width), and/or with weight greater than 28 lbs. (12.7 kg) are considered oversized. These items may incur additional receiving charges so be sure to measure and weigh your package before sending it out. The last thing you want is to get hit with a charge you weren’t expecting.
Pass the 4-Foot Drop Test
Trust us, this is one test you want your product to pass. Mistakes happen and you don’t want them to affect your bottom line, so be sure your cases can withstand a 4-foot drop test onto a hard surface without the product breaking. If this guideline is not met, you may find yourself dealing with an expense that could’ve easily been avoided had you just taken the time to secure your product to survive a short drop.
These are some great tips to get you started, but be sure to research specific company guidelines to ensure your product enjoys a smooth pickup and delivery. Knowledge is power and in this case, it’s also a cost-saver to help your bottom line. We hope this helps you prepare your product for market and if you have any questions or would like to inquire about our top-notch packing practices, feel free to call us at (856) 371-5039.