If you are working in the shipping industry, you are aware of the significance that the right packaging medium carries when a sensitive or dangerous material needs to be transported. There is an overwhelming number of containers that have been designed for the sole purpose of shipping certain compounds. However, it is simply not enough to drop the materials in the container and leave them at that. You need to be cognizant of the packaging materials that you are using.
One of the biggest things businesses do not realize when it comes to the use of packaging materials is that they are not necessarily safer than the components of the package. In fact, if you are not careful, the packaging materials that you are using – or the way that you package materials – could lead to a contamination or a failure to keep the material in the package fully secured.
Here are 5 important safety tips that businesses need to keep in mind when they are packaging materials for shipping and handling:
1. Wrap Each Item Separately
If you are in a situation where multiple products need to be included in a package, it is important that each item has its own individual layer of protection. Frequent contact during handling will increase the chances that something breaks upon arrival to the final destination.
2. Use Multiple Layers of Packaging
Typically, products are distributed in three layers of packaging. First, there is the packaging used by warehouses where multiple products are shipped in big boxes to warehouses for further distribution. The next layer would be the distribution packaging, and this is the one that a customer would see when it is delivered to their door. Finally, there is the consumer packaging, where the individual item itself is wrapped up. You can choose to have more layers than this, but the premise is to provide multiple layers in which the product is protected.
3. Use Packaging Materials That Are Shock-Resistant and Cushion Your Product Properly
If you have ever seen packaging peanuts or foam-based structures in any package you have opened, then you have seen this example in action before. These materials allow the product(s) to stay braced in the box and protect it from any sudden shocks. They also stay resistant to the product’s weight by keeping its shape and not compressing over time.
These materials are especially useful when multiple products are in one package. By keeping a distance of two inches between each item and away from the walls of the box, the products are protected from each other and any external factors that might arise.
4. Use Packaging Materials That Are Climate and Contaminant-Resistant
If your package happens to be shipped through a route that undergoes changes in temperature, humidity, or pressure, it is possible that the outer packaging, cushioning materials, or the product itself will undergo some undesirable changes. The cushioning could lose its resilience, and the product might degrade.
This principle also applies to businesses that are frequently receiving these materials. You will need to create a special procedure that allows you to test and analyze for common packaging contaminants in order to avoid spreading them around your facility. This requires tests to be done by certified and qualified providers while implementing preventative measures that stop chemical contaminations from occurring.
5. Avoid the Use of Excess Labels
If you are transporting something that can be dangerous to the person receiving and using it, they need to know what is in your box and precisely how it should be handled. This will be difficult for them to deduce if you have multiple labels on your box at once. To make this process easier and safer for the recipient, have a single label or two that dictates everything they need to know.
If you have any additional boxes within the package, it is permissible to have one label for those boxes. Only put down the safety and handling information that the recipient must absolutely know, and nothing more.
Using the right packaging materials for the job is only half of the battle. The other half involves putting safety measures in place that ensures safety standards are met while it is being handled by forces that are beyond your control.
In the long run, taking special care of your methodology for packaging materials will save you a lot of wasted time and money that should not have been spent in the first place.
Cory Levins serves as the Director of Business Development for Air Sea Containers. Cory oversees the development and implementation of ASC’s internal and external marketing program, driving revenue and profits from the Miami FL headquarters.
Before joining Air Sea Containers, Cory Levins was the Director of Business Development for Marketing and Real Estate Lending Companies.