As long as there are rough roads, bad shocks, storms at sea, and careless handlers, shipping damage will happen. You’ll always have to account for some amount of loss due to shipping damage, but you can do a lot to control it, too. Whether you sell products through the mail or rely on the supply chain to get your products to stores and bring you the materials you need to make them, you need to do what you can to minimize shipping damage, especially to your delicate shipments.
For most shipping and logistics professionals, that means using a shock and impact recorder to collect data about the stresses freight is facing during shipment. You can use impact recorders to collect data on impacts, falls, shocks, acceleration, pitch and roll, and vibrations. Using that data, you can understand the causes of shipping damage to your products and take steps to mitigate it.
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Attach It to the Outside of the Packaging
Whenever you’re shipping freight that’s prone to damage, you need to attach an impact recorder to the outside of the packaging. Impact recorders are small and easy both to affix to freight and to remove, but they’re also made with bright, eye-catching labels so that handlers can see them and understand that the handling of that piece of freight is being monitored. That alone can help deter handler carelessness.
Attaching an impact recorder to the outside of your freight allows you to collect the data you need on the vibrations, pitch and rolls, impacts, accelerations and decelerations, and other stresses that freight faces during shipment. Some impact recorders can send real-time updates about the conditions facing your freight, so that you can intervene to remove a damaged shipment from the supply chain and replace it with undamaged freight before it becomes the recipient’s problem. You can even buy sensors that give temperature notifications to help you ship temperature-sensitive foods, medications, and other perishables.
Collect and Analyze the Data
It’s easy to collect data from an impact recorder on the outside of a package, and with many impact recorders, you can see at a glance whether the contents may have been compromised. This can save you the time of having to open up the package and examine the contents in detail.
Of course, not every impact or vibration or temperature change is going to damage every product. Impact recorders can also help you analyze some of the different degrees of stress shipments may have been subject to, so you can evaluate the likelihood of a given shipment’s having been damaged.
Once you know where along the supply chain, and for how long, shipments are subject to stress, you can do some further investigation to determine what’s causing that stress. Maybe a particular stretch of road is particularly bumpy, or a particular last-mile carrier is especially careless. Most impact recorders allow you to pinpoint where along a route shipping damage occurred, so it shouldn’t be too hard to narrow down some possible causes.
Make the Changes You Need to Make
Once you know where and how shipping damage is affecting your products as they move through the supply chain, you can make the changes you need to make to mitigate that damage. Send your shipments along a different route where there’s less road work or fewer potholes. Package your items differently and collect data to verify whether that packaging is effective at preventing damage. Use different carriers. Ensure that temperature-sensitive products are packed with hot and cold packs.
While you should see a significant reduction in shipping damage after you begin to use shock and impact recorders for your freight shipments, you should continue to use them to monitor all of your products as they move through the supply chain. Shipping routes, methods, carriers, and packaging don’t remain static — you’ll have to make continual readjustments to keep shipments safe. You never know when something will get damaged and how useful it will be to pinpoint the exact location of the mishap that caused it, and you’ll be missing out on continued opportunities to reduce shipping damage and cut costs if you don’t continue to monitor freight shipments.
Impact recorders can be invaluable in the fight against shipping damage. Keep your freight and other products safe until they reach their destinations, and minimize the damage supply chain loss can do to your bottom line.