Editor’s Note: Today’s blog is from Tim Jennings, President of Custom Case Group. Tim discusses the top 3 best practices to use for custom shipping.
After decades in the custom shipping and transport case business, I’ve had a lot of friends, family and clients ask me variations of the same question: What are the most important things I should know about shipping? Whether it’s a person asking about a one-time shipment or a business that is looking to implement shipping standards for their company, there are three basic rules that apply to every shipper.
1) Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
In an ideal world, you could slap a “FRAGILE” sticker on a shipment and rest assured that it would arrive completely unscathed – but unfortunately, that’s not the reality. With so many shipments to move and deadlines to meet, shippers can be rough and inadvertently damage products during transport. While some may be inclined to test fate and ship their products with something readily available like cardboard or wooden crates, the amount of time and money it saves up front pales in comparison to the time and money lost when having to replace and re-ship products damaged during transport. Any veteran shipper will tell you that they would rather invest in reusable high-quality shipping materials than waste time and money (and sanity) down the line.
2) Customize, Customize, Customize
When it comes to shipping, there’s no such thing as one size fits all. For example, transporting an array of electronic equipment via a truck is going to necessitate materials different from those used when shipping a fragile and intricate medical device via air. Some cases need to be weatherproof to protect the shipment from moisture or dust, while others need to account for pressure changes at high altitudes or for the vibrations of a truck bed. Similarly, some cases need very basic interiors to provide the necessary protection, while others necessitate sturdy but cushioning foam that is jet-cut to the exact specifications of the shipment.
In order to figure out the appropriate materials for the exterior and interior of your shipping container, you’ll need to identify the following factors:
- Mode of Transport. Whether your shipment will be transported by plane, train, automobile or some combination thereof impacts the kind of exterior and interior materials of your case. The case exterior may need to withstand the pressure of high altitudes or block certain frequencies, while the inside may need to protect the shipment in the likely event that it is dropped while being moved between locations.
- Shipment Sensitivity. The fragility of the item being shipped is also crucial to the materials used in the case’s exterior and interior. Some cases need to be weatherproof or airtight, while others may need to withstand a certain amount of external pressure. At Custom Case Group, we use a calculation called the g-factor to determine how much g-force something can endure without breaking, and incorporate that into our assessment of interior and exterior materials.
- If this is a one-time shipment, the material and cost considerations will be different from those involved if the shipment is recurring or if the shipping case also needs to function as a reliable storage method.
Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out all of this on your own! There are plenty of companies that can help you determine these factors and develop the ideal shipping container for your needs – without expensive bells and whistles you don’t need.
3) Know Your Regulations
Compliance with shipping regulations can be a headache/bureaucratic nightmare, but not nearly as frustrating or even catastrophic as it is to completely redo a shipment that fails to comply with shipping regulations. From drop, water resistance and vibration certifications to aerospace quality standards, companies like Custom Case Group can develop cases to comply with any number of certifications and regulations – in fact, that’s precisely our job.