There is no question: Businesses need to offer shipping to survive in the modern marketplace, and their shipping needs to be fast and safe. Thanks to a certain ecommerce giant, consumers expect to have items arrive on their doorsteps just a few days after they order, which means businesses need to hustle to ensure that items are out for delivery as swiftly as possible.
Unfortunately, all that haste can take a toll on packages. Shipping is dangerous to products at the best of times; packages vibrate violently within vehicles, are at constant risk of impact and can even be threatened by moisture, pests and other contaminants. When packages are shipped in a hurry, the likelihood of damage befalling them is even greater.
If only there were a high-tech way to track shipped items and the damage they incur…
There is — in fact, there are several! To reduce the expenses associated with damaged products, the following tech tools will help businesses identify the types of damage threatening their shipped packages.
Far and away, the most common type of damage that occurs to shipped items is physical damage, which results when packages are dropped or else improperly held during transportation. Because most businesses use shipping partners to transport their items from their warehouse to customers’ hands, it isn’t necessarily a business’s responsibility to prevent bad stowage. Still, if an overwhelming number of items are being returned due to physical damage, businesses should devote energy to researching how a shipper is handling their freight, usually with the use of impact monitors.
Impact monitors come in all shapes and sizes, offering a range of tools depending on a business’s needs. The highest-tech monitors will provide businesses with in-depth details about package treatment (to include geographic and time information about impacts) while the low-tech monitors will merely change color if a package is subjected to too much force. Businesses might experiment with different impact monitoring tools to find the one that most suits their needs.
Even if a package isn’t overtly dropped or smashed, physical forces can wreak havoc on a business’s products. Specifically, the vehicles used for shipping often vibrate due to their large, powerful motors — and these vibrations might cause destructive resonance within a package. Mechanical resonance is the amplification of vibration within a certain system; certain materials will resonate with vibrations, and that resonance can shake an item apart. Thus, businesses whose products are exceedingly delicate should be more than aware of vibrations that occur during shipping, which means taking advantage of vibration monitoring tech. It might be valuable to find a shipping partner that invests in vibration monitoring of their shipping equipment, as well.
As one might expect, wet damage occurs when packages are subjected to extreme amounts of moisture, which can occur in excessively humid environments, which can cause shipping containers to sweat, as well as wet conditions, like in rainy areas or during ocean transport. Water will easily destroy most forms of packaging and cause excessive damage to products, so businesses need to be aware of any threat of moisture and take steps to protect their products against it during shipping.
Thus, moisture monitoring is key. Often, moisture monitoring tools are merely advanced impact or vibration systems that also track the air’s temperature and humidity. However, there are low-tech moisture indicators that will change color when an item is overly wet, which could help businesses and customers identify when shipping conditions are less than ideal.
Finally, businesses cannot ignore the impact that drivers have on keeping packages safe. Drivers have the power to reduce the possibility of damage due to impact, vibration and moisture, but poorly trained or lazy drivers might not make keeping packages safe a top priority. That’s why businesses should prioritize shipping partners who utilize some kind of high-tech driver monitoring system.
As with other monitoring tools, driver monitoring comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Nearly all shippers utilize some kind of monitoring system, but largely these are low-tech and poor at identifying drivers who mistreat their freight. On the high-tech side, systems include cameras to record driver behavior as well as GPS monitoring, speed monitoring and more.
Tech absolutely can keep a business’s products safer, but only when tech is used properly to collect data that businesses can use. Even with extensive tech, there is no eliminating shipping damage completely. Therefore, in addition to understanding and taking action against common damage causes, businesses always need to use the right containers and insulation around their products. Then, customers will be happy with the speed of shipping and the safety of their items.