Why proper packaging matters

Five smart, yet surprising tips you can use to cut costs, boost service, and maintain sustainability.

When it comes to building a reputation of excellence, every detail counts—including packaging.

Sure, you pack to ensure your wares arrive unharmed. But you can also pack to keep costs down, ship sustainably, guarantee expected delivery, and improve the overall process at your company. Here are five efficient, cost-effective tips to get you packing like a pro.

1. Box correctly. Consider these your boxing commandments.

  • Use a sturdy box. And make sure it’s either a new box or like new. Corrugated cardboard loses 50 percent of its strength after each use.
  • Use the six-strip method for sealing. For maximum protection, you’ll need pressure-sensitive, water-activated, or heavy-duty nylon tape on the cross and side seams (top and bottom).
  • Use the right size box. To cut down on packaging waste and shipping costs, try new box sizes and new ways of arranging products inside.
  • Use interior packaging for support. To absorb impact, brace items on the strongest structural area—usually the corners–with packaging like foam end caps. But don’t let the fragile glass area touch interior cushioning. More fragile areas, such as a screen or glass, should not touch interior cushioning.
  • Use high-performance interior cushioning.
It’s usually worth the expense. With more effective packaging, you can use a smaller box and save on shipping costs.
  • Use recycled packaging judiciously. Corrugated cartons with recycled content are designed for one-time use.; multiple uses reduce their resistance to crushing or puncturing.  Many biodegradable packaging materials also break down quickly when exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity.

2. Verify and track. Save time and prevent hassle by verifying a new address before you ship. And, if you have multiple email addresses for your customers, send alerts about shipment changes to them all. This reduces uncertainty and keeps you focused on higher value work.

3. Calculate time and cost. Figure out which services are right for you so you’ll know what to expect when shipping a package. Work with a carrier that will give you a clear idea of when the package will arrive.

4. Ship to a work address. Shipping to a commercial address usually works out to be less expensive than shipping to a residence. Plus, it’s more secure because there’s usually someone around to accept the package at a business.

5. Test a proposed packaging change to industry standards.
 Get familiar with the general guidelines on proper packaging materials and techniques. Then test your packaged products against the International Safe Transit Association’s (ISTA) Test Procedure 3A to ensure you have adequate protection. When in doubt, contact an experienced shipping provider for more information.