One of the most important things to consider when packaging anything is the quality. Quality packaging not only extends the life of products for safer use, but it is also the best way to protect the items you are shipping.
In this article, we will look at the importance of packaging, as well as packaging guidelines to ensure that top quality is achieved.
Why is quality packaging important?
Firstly, quality packaging enables products to last longer and be preserved better. In the many different shipping methods, quality packaging is the key to a safe arrival and, in turn, a satisfied customer. In order to do this effectively, packaging should both protect the item from outside factors such as moisture, motion and heat, and also be strong enough to withstand the physical stresses of shipping. Quality packaging can also prevent items from becoming contaminated with other items, and therefore, extend the life of the product.
Quality packaging also contributes to the overall customer journey and satisfaction. If a product is packaged correctly, the item that is being shipped is better protected and less likely to suffer breakages and other damages. The better the quality of packaging, the more probable it is that the product will arrive in exactly the same condition as when it was packaged - which is also precisely what the customer paid for and expected. A satisfied customer gets the service they expect.
Finally, in many cases, quality packaging also creates perceived product and brand quality. A well-packaged product that is well-protected and will arrive safely also speaks to the quality of the product itself, as well as to the reputation of the brand or company that the customer is buying from.
QUALITY PACKAGING GUIDELINES
- The box/carton must be sturdy and strong and preferably ‘corrugated’ with flaps intact. Never use boxes that are damaged, thin, old, worn or damp
- Don’t make the carton too heavy. This may cause issues in a few ways:
- The carton may break at the bottom
- Staff in the courier hub may drop it accidentally (because they’ve underestimated the weight)
- Your carton may be loaded into the ‘bulk freight’ section of a vehicle which means your carton sits amongst heavy and large freight, with the possibility of damage increasing
- If it is a heavy carton, mark it as ‘HEAVY’ in bold writing and write the weight next to it
- If you cannot package the item into various lighter boxes, you should have someone available at the pickup and delivery addresses to help the driver load/unload the item
- If you still have the original box for a product, then it is recommended to use it. Especially if you still have the original polystyrene protection that came with the box (as this packaging was specifically designed to protect the product)
- If you have to re-use an old box, make sure that all old bar-coded labels or address labels have been completely removed to avoid sortation issues and delays to your goods. Also ensure there are no holes/tears or corner dents that could ultimately weaken the box during transport
- It is important that you choose a box that is strong enough for your items. The strength of the cardboard is usually printed on the box.
- Do not overload the box with too many items or too much weight. It’s always better to package multiple items individually (if possible) and use more than one box if required. This way each individual item can receive the benefit of proper protection from packaging material and the box
- If possible, send equipment in its original packaging and box
- Cushioning material should be packed around all sides. Suggested packaging material are: bubble wrap, polychips, corrugated cardboard, shredded or rolled paper, air cushions and polyethylene foam sheeting
- Ensure that there are no voids inside the box, which can jeopardise the integrity of the box and its items
- Whatever packaging material is used, ensure there is enough cushioning material around the item/s so they don’t move if the box is shaken or bumped. A recommendation is to cushion with at least 5-8 centimetres of packaging material all around the item (fragile items require more cushioning). Cushioning is very important to stop shock from the outside, passing through to the contents causing damage (this is especially the case for fragile items)
- A recommendation in the transport industry is that all items are packaged to withstand a one metre drop
- Proper closure of the box is essential for safe transportation. Use a ‘wide’ pressure sensitive plastic tape that is at least 38mm thick. When taping the box, ensure you go all the way around the box and along the seals (particularly for re-used or old boxes) to stop the box opening during transit.
These Packaging Guidelines can be found on the uAfrica website and from MDS Collivery’s Packaging Guidelines and The Courier Guy’s Packaging Do’s and Don’ts.
Create quality above and beyond
Quality packaging also goes above and beyond the protective packaging of a parcel. Quality packaging also refers to the look and feel of the item as the customer is unpacking the parcel. Adding handwritten “thank you” notes, colourful tissue paper, beautiful coverings and other special touches continues to add to the overall quality of the packaging. It also, once again, adds to the customer journey and customer satisfaction.
Although additional changes cannot necessarily be made to the product itself, changes and improvements can be made to the physical look and feel of the parcel to refine the visual initial impression. Adding quality above and beyond just the necessary is the best way to ensure a happy and returning customer.