How to Reduce Shipping Damage

Posted by Kelly Wathen

Shipping damage is one of those things  that is not often talked about, mainly because once the product has left the shipper the "out of sight, out of mind," principle applies

But the simple fact is that shipping damage is a very real expense. It adds billions of dollars to the cost of shipping and insurance every year, and there is a chance that any load shipped will be compromised. 

As a shipper, there are some things you can do to reduce shipping damage.


Every shipping facility, factory, warehouse, or shipping business is sometimes under pressure to get packages wrapped and out the door. And fast packaging is all fine and well, as long as the quality of the package or pallet load doesn't suffer.

When packaging something where time is of the essence, the tendency may be to cut some corners in an effort to get the package or pallet wrapped as fast as possible. Therein lies the problem. Cutting corners can make for sloppy packaging, and sloppy packaging opens up the window for damage.

Be SquareWhat's the Best Way to Stretch Wrap your Pallet Load?

Ideally, cases and boxes should be erected so that all the horizontal and vertical angles are 90 degrees. When this is happens, the boxes are square and their sides are aligned and their stacking strength is greater. Square boxes are also easier to pack and run better through sealers and palletizers.

Granted, not all loads are going to be made up of boxes. In fact, you often see asymmetrical loads in distribution centers. Of course, conformity will go a long way to minimizing shipping damage and keeping everything upright and safe. However, there are ways to minimize the effects of asymmetrical loads.

Automation Rules

A warehouse or shipping facility that can be automated, particularly in automated handling of the products, reduces shipping damage and loss.

Of course, that may not be practical for smaller operations, but automation doesn't always mean robots either. Something as simple as adding a conveyor, which transports products from one area of a warehouse to another, reduces human droppage rates. That alone is one of the easiest ways to minimize damage. Plus, it also has the potential to minimize employee injuries from lifting or transporting items. That's a win-win idea every time.

Lantech-S300xt-Stretch-Wrapper.pngStretch Wrapping Correctly

Just using stretch wrapping by itself helps to limit shipping damage. But if it is not done properly, it won't be as effective and can create conditions that result in or increase the risk of damage.

If a pallet is stretch wrapped with too little containment force, for example, the wrapped items are at a greater risk for containment failure and damage. It’s important to wrap every load to meet containment force standards.

Securing the load to the pallet, creating the load-to-pallet bond, is also a hallmark of effective stretch wrapping. As is ensuring that there are no loose film tails.

If you’re interested in the specifics of effective stretch wrapping procedure, check out our recent webinar on the best way to stretch wrap your pallet load.

The Stretch Wrap Difference

Of all the ways to wrap packages and pallets, no other way gives the best performance and offers the safest and most damage free transit time as stretch wrapping. Sure, you can employ every other tip listed here, but if you unitize your pallet with stretch wrapping, you are already one step ahead of the game.

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This post was published on November 10, 2016 and updated on February 13, 2019.

Topics: Stretch Wrapping, Product Damage

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