We always tell people to pack their items to withstand the normal rigors of transit… at a minimum. This statement often gets passed over with the invariable “We know. Our company always packs well.”. The problem is, when you plan to pack and ship an item via UPS, FedEx, or any other carrier, you must take into consideration the path that your package will be taking. It is easy to think about the big picture: The package is going from Point A to Point B. What is mostly looked over are the amount of stops and handling that takes place between these two points.
A package can start as a pickup from you office by the shipping carrier. From there, it is transported by truck to a local hub. At this hub, the package may take a trip up and down many conveyor belts; often falling in excess of six feet. Other boxes will be falling on top of it as it makes its way to the next leg of the journey. It may be destined for another truck or to a flight on an airplane. If an airplane is in its future, count on the package being squeezed into a specially designed airplane container with hundreds of other parcels pushing up against it.
After its flight or truck ride, count on another trip through the sort facility to get the package on the correct path to your recipient. It may then be headed to another plane, train, or truck and to another sort facility before ultimately being delivered to the consignee.
Don’t forget the human handling factor, as well. Sometimes the carriers toss packages into and out of their vehicles in order to make their deliveries on time. Or because they are having a bad day.
This story is not to strike fear into any would-be shippers our there. We just want to shed the light on the common path a package may take when being delivered from one party to another. Remember, pack well because your package will be going on a wild ride. If you think you have done just enough to allow the package to survive the journey, add another inch of padding. Did you pack your item in a used box? That is a bad idea as the used box has lost some of its structural integrity.
We have included a video that was produced by UPS that shows how they test packages to survive the rigors of transit. Very interesting…