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During the holidays, or any time of year you have a lot of product that needs to go out pretty quickly, damages become an unfortunate fact of life – but it’s a fact you can mitigate.

The harsh truth of it is, a lot of warehouses focus on keeping the products stored safely while they’re still at the warehouse but tend to leave it to chance as soon as they hit the truck. This sort of thinking is understandable but detrimental to product safety, and it’s not wrong to say that ensuring your products get to their destination safely starts at the warehouse, and can go a long way towards reducing shrink and product loss due to damage.

Before you send out your next big truckload of holiday product, start with these tips:


Ensure the proper packaging material:

A lot of people think all cardboard is interchangeable, but after your first few experiences with an overloaded box that gets crushed en route to its destination, you start learning this the hard way. Take a good look at the thickness and construction (flute patterns, corrugation, etc) of all the cardboard boxes you’re sending your items out in and stash them accordingly – and in really extreme situations, consider something like styrofoam or even wooden crates, just to be safe.


Reduce gaps between pallets:

If you’re sending entire pallets of material, you’re going to need to stack these the same way you do on your pallet racks – as snug as possible, with no gaps or overhang. If this means you can’t stack as many pallets as you like, the inconvenience in shipment will be well worth the decrease in cost brought on by product damage or shipping delays.


Minimize double-stacking:

Double-stacking, on the surface, seems like an easy and effective way to maximize space and get the biggest amount of product on a truck, but the truth is it can lead to a lot of damages and hassle if done improperly – and it’s really easy to do it improperly. Try to avoid double-stacking in most cases unless you can be absolutely sure that the products on bottom won’t be damaged (which is a pretty tall order), and always leave breathing room on top when you absolutely have to double-stack.


Reduce trips when possible – use truckload instead of LTL:

LTL might be appealing at first due to the reduced cost and increased speed of shipment, but an LTL shipment moving between coasts can pass through as many as six trucking terminals. Each terminal it passes through is one more point where the products have to get handled and moved, and the more your products move, the more opportunities they have to break. Particularly during peak shipping seasons, stick to full truckloads whenever possible.


Refine loading practices whenever possible:

Your workers are probably well-trained on how to use their warehouse storage, but loading and unloading practices can be a whole different can of worms. Make sure your workers are as trained and up-to-date as possible on things like loading practices, trailer usage, space conservation, and even forklift driving to ensure the damages done by simple human error are kept at a minimum.

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