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Shipping Damage Prevention

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Prevent Transit Damage

Minimise the cost of damage / returns, & enhance end user satisfaction & repeat business

Perhaps the single biggest threat to your business, when considering packaging, is that of transit damage. It can also be amongst your most significant packaging costs too.

In fact, alongside the cost of returns and replacements, it can have an extremely negative impact on your customers’ satisfaction.

This in turn can lead to a poor brand perception, and eventually limit your business’ potential for repeat sales and customer loyalty.

Business Impact

The true costs of not preventing transit damage

Whilst other factors come in to play – such as the quality of couriers and the distance your are items travelling – having to write off even a small percentage of the products you ship can cost thousands of pounds. However, this can sometimes be much more depending on the value of the goods.

As well as this obvious cost however, there are other factors to consider that are just as important.

For example, when considering consumer packaged goods, damage during transit will lead directly to reduced on-shelf availability. This equates to loss of sales.

Transit damage reduction
Damage caused to items during shipping not only incur a monetary cost (with returns / replacements), but also creates a negative perception amongst your customers.

Besides this, everyone knows the frustration of receiving damaged goods. This is especially acute when they are critical to your business or operations. Add this to the admin associated with returning items and the costs of dealing with this and it can very quickly lead to unhappy clients.

Happy customers tend to be loyal customers who spend more and will recommend you to colleagues and friends. Customers frequently receiving damaged items won’t. The impact on your business and its’ potential growth can be severe.

Ways in which GWP can improve packaging performance

GWP often work with companies like yours that are experiencing such problems. However, by analysing the product and type of damage in detail, and then applying vast experience and knowledge of transit packaging design, your business can have great success in solving such problems.

GWP’s solutions regularly not only engineer in the right level of protection for the product but also engineer out cost.

In many cases, using less of the right material is both more cost effective and more efficient in terms of protection than using more of the wrong material.

What causes transit damage to packaged goods?

Whilst damage to items in transit can occur in a number of ways, there are three which are most common across the majority of industry / market sectors.

Firstly, and perhaps the most frequently observed, is that of prolonged vibration or sudden impact during shipping.

Depending on the fragility of the product and type of packaging used, this can either occur suddenly (breakage) or from prolonged or repeat handling / transportation (fatigue failure).

Shipping damage prevention
With the average ecommerce order having around 10 touch points prior to delivery, it is essential your packaging can withstand the rigours of your chosen courier network.

Also fairly common is damage resulting from poor pallet or load stability. This can be caused in transit by vehicle cornering and / or breaking, or by stacking packaging too high (resulting in crushing or “bursting”).

Finally, and often overlooked, is damage caused to surfaces by abrasion. This can be through excessive vibration and surface contact between product and packaging (or even product and product), and typically affects printed, polished or painted surfaces.

Damage Prevention

How to address the everyday challenge of shipping damage prevention

By working alongside GWP Group, you can take advantage of a wide range of technology and software that will calculate the exact performance of your packaging.

Your business can benefit from proven strategies and a team of experienced designers that specialise in eliminating transit damage to your items.

From how the boxes can be safely stacked, to safe drop heights and vibration, the use of specialist software(or appropriate testing as required) allows us to create not only the perfect structural design, but also select the perfect material to eradicate damage.

Lower transit costs
There are a number of ways to address shipping damage, including structural redesign, alternative materials and secondary packaging such as foams.

This can include corrugated cardboard, Correx® fluted plastic, plus a range of foam fitments from materials including Stratocell and Ethafoam.

There are also numerous specialist coatings available to prevent surface scuffs, corrosion during transit (VCI) and even damage caused to electronic devices by static charge.

Example of cost savings achievable

The infographic below highlights just how costly transit damage can be – significantly outweighing any cost savings from under-specifying your packaging.

Please click the image for a larger view.

Damage prevention cost saving example

But what about irreplaceable or exceptionally valuable items?

For certain items, the cost of it arriving damaged is incalculable.

For example, a component for military equipment that arrives damaged can imperil missions and put lives at risk. Similarly, specialist medical equipment can, if damaged on arrival, mean the difference between life and death.

Certain tools or components can be so costly or specialist / rare, than any damage could threaten a business’ financial performance and ongoing success.

Eliminate transit damage
In scenarios where a product is so rare, expensive or important it simply cannot be damaged in transit, it is possible for GWP designers to calculate the exact performance required in your packaging

For situations like this, your business can call on a team of engineers at GWP Group that can calculate extremely precise performance and tolerances in foam cushion packaging.

Designed and manufactured in Plastazote® polyethylene foam, these tailored foam profiles utilise theoretical “cushioning algorithms” which are exceptionally accurate at predicting the protection against drop damage offered by different densities and thicknesses of foam.

This allows the design team to engineer your businesses’ packaging with precisely tailored levels of protection.


Commonly asked questions about preventing transit damage

Finding that you are experiencing a lot of transit damage at your business? Want to know why (and what you can do about it)?

The below covers some of the most commonly asked questions but, if you cannot find the answers you need, a member of the GWP team will be happy to help.

How can shipping damage impact my business?

Shipping damage can have a huge, negative impact on your business success. Not only are there potentially significant costs to absorb (including replacements, unusable stock, costs of additional shipping etc.) but also limited on shelf presence (if less items make it to stores) and poor customer perception.

What type of damage can occur to my products?

The most common form of damage in transit is shock or impact caused by mishandling (particularly in courier / postal networks where there re as many as 13 touch points before delivery). However, water damage, excess vibration and even being crushed can all be a problem depending on your product / packaging.

How can my packaging prevent transit damage?

Your packaging can be tailored to provide the optimum level of protection for your specific products or application. This includes inserts to minimise movement of contents (and absorb shock), water resistant coatings and theoretical / physical testing of materials to ensure they are robust enough. Even printing of handling instructions can make a surprising difference.

Can reducing product damage improve customer loyalty?

One of the quickest ways to lose customers – either in B2B or B2C markets (e.g. retail or ecommerce) is to supply products which are damaged. This can quickly lead to a poor customer perception of your business, harming the potential for ongoing repeat business.

My products are very rare / expensive / fragile – is there suitable packaging for this?

If you have packaging that requires very specific levels of protection, GWP can calculate the exact amount / types of material required to ensure the optimum level of protection. Find out more about this service / packaging options here.


The task of transit damage reduction

Saving money on packaging spend is just one way in which GWP’s packaging design expertise can bring major savings to your business. Often, as detailed above, a much bigger cost is product damage in transit. Luckily, GWP have a range of strategies designed for transit damage reduction.

Damage can be caused by any number of factors once a product is shipped to the end user.

These can include shock damage caused by mis-handling, vibration caused by road, sea and air transportation, electro-static damage of static sensitive devices and cosmetic damage caused by the scuffing of delicate surfaces, which is often caused by the packaging itself.

Packaging audit / evaluation
If undertaking a holistic packaging audit or review, one of the key areas to focus on will be return rates and damage in transit.

The costs associated with such damage is often far greater than the damaged goods themselves, with the full cost of replacement having to include administration, additional packing time, additional cost of shipment and, inevitably of course, dissatisfaction on the part of the end user.

As such, transit damage reduction through enhanced packaging can save your company significant expense.

The key benefits of reducing shipping costs

  • Transit damage can be significantly reduced / completely eliminated
  • Performance can be tailored to specific levels based on application, environment etc.
  • Reducing damage lowers costs through minimising replacements / returns
  • Also aids brand perception, customer satisfaction and repeat sales

Find Out More

Get advice from a packaging specialist

If your company is experiencing unacceptable levels of damage in transit, why not get free, no obligation advice on how to solve it? Get in touch today to discuss methods of shipping damage prevention tailored to your business.

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    Here to Help

    Contact a member of our sales & support team directly

    David Mason, GWP Packaging

    David Mason

    (Corrugated / POS)
    01793 754 444

    Ian Cook, GWP Group managing director

    Ian Cook

    01793 754 457

    Ian Heskins

    Ian Heskins

    (Cases / Foam)
    01722 416 440

    Phone GWP Group

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    Is your business facing the challenges - and costs - that shipping damage prevention poses?