How To Prevent Shipping Damage

Protective packaging products keep your items safe during shipment and pay for themselves many times over. When your customers receive undamaged goods, you gain numerous benefits that may be taken for granted:

  • Costly returns and replacements are avoided.
  • Customers are more likely to write positive online reviews — promoting new sales leads.
  • You maintain a high vendor rating, keeping your position as a supplier solidly intact.
  • You maintain goodwill and improve customer retention.

What’s the Best Packaging Design to Prevent Shipping Damage?

In any secondary product packaging design with the goal of damage reduction, three fundamentals must be considered:

  • Product shifting. Obviously, you wouldn’t toss 10 ceramic coffee mugs into a shipping box, seal it and ship it — the mugs would shift in the box and break before they left your loading dock.
  • Surface protection. Delicate items such as glass, mirrors, and many metal and plastic parts have surfaces that can be marred unless they are carefully protected from abrasion within the master shipping container.
  • Impact. Accidents will happen: When shipping containers are dropped, banged into, and/or roughly handled, various types of packaging materials are used to cushion the blow.

Protective Packaging to Prevent Product Shifting

Many time-tested and highly innovative packaging options are available, including:

  • Corrugated or chipboard partitions, frequently used for small parts and extremely fragile items (e.g., glass ampules). Partitions are custom-made for a snug fit and can be layered in a master shipper with corrugated or chipboard sheets.
  • Mailing tubes in short lengths function similarly to partitions when items are inserted in them within a master shipper.
  • Void fill materials, such as bubble packaging, polyethylene foam, inflatable bags and kraft paper can be stuffed into the master container to fill any empty space and keep the contents solidly in place.

Protective Packaging to Prevent Abrasion

Keeping product surfaces safe may require a bit of testing; here are some of the best packaging design options:

  • Polypropylene foam has extremely good surface protection characteristics, and can be used to wrap your item or as an interleaving sheet. Flexible and easy to handle, thicker grades offer cushioning protection as well.
  • Masking films and papers have various adhesive or cohesive coatings that are widely used for glass, metal and many plastic materials such as windshields, microwave doors and appliance surfaces. While they can be pricey, they are worth their weight in gold when surface damage creates expensive rework or scrapped product.
  • Plastic bumpers or spacers are used between layers of, for instance, metal sheets to keep surfaces from coming in contact.

Packaging to Prevent Damage From Impact

In addition to the many types of packaging materials used for cushioning — flexible polyethylene foams, bubble packaging, industrial papers, inflatable bags, flowable “peanuts,” etc. — the shipping container itself is an important consideration.

  • Corrugated shipping boxes can be strengthened by using heavier board or more corrugated layers, and also by using a strong design. For instance, a full-overlap box, where the top and bottom flaps completely overlap rather than meet in the box’s center, provide additional strength.
  • Mailing and shipping tubes provide a great deal of strength and protection, and are not only effective for impact resistance, but also enhance shipping efficiency and reduce material cost for packaging any item with a long, narrow profile.

Have questions about what protective packaging items make sense in your operation? Please contact us now — we are eager to learn more about your application and help you find the best packaging design possible.