Have you ever ordered something – maybe furniture or electronics – from an online retailer? Nine out of 10 times, items arrive in as-made condition. But what if you received a disassembled bookcase with a broken shelf or only one ear bud instead of two? You’d be pretty disappointed and may think twice before placing another order with that retailer. You may even go online and write a poor review.
The same goes when products are shipped on a larger scale. If your loads arrive damaged, broken or missing pieces, your customers will be unhappy.
In the field of transportation logistics, shipping damage is defined as "any change in the as-made condition that reduces customer satisfaction." Shipping damage can come in several shapes and sizes. Here are two major types:
1. Failed loads. Imagine opening the door to a truck to see product spilled everywhere. The vibrations of a truck or a lack of containment force has caused the load’s contents to be classified as “unsellable.” These shipments are likely to be returned to the manufacturer or sent to a landfill. Either way excessive and unnecessary costs were incurred because of the change to the condition of the load.
2. Defective unit loads. Without effective stretch wrapping, loads can shift causing them to be out of plumb. Loads that are not plumb, or more than 2 inches out of vertical alignment are damaged. They have an increased risk of being further damaged as they’re handled multiple times during the shipping process.
If your customer receives loads that are even barely dented or torn, they’re not happy. And often items like these must be sold at a lower price, which reduces profits.
As a side effect, brand loyalty could be compromised. People don’t like to buy products that are dented, crushed or discolored. And right next to your damaged product is the competitive brand. Don’t encourage customers to try the other guy.
Jeopardized business relationships. Damage can put strain on business relationships. Every time a dock door is opened to a truck of damaged products a problem is delivered - one that inevitably costs your customers time and money.
Sadly, global shipping damage amounts to more than $60 billion annually. Much of it is caused by ineffective stretch wrapping. But the good news is you can reduce a lot of damage simply by improving your stretch wrapping.
So why not do it? Your customers, the environment and your bottom line will all appreciate it.
This post was published on February 18, 2016 and updated on February 18, 2016.