For companies that transport packaged products, it’s essential that the items arrive safely at their destination. But without the necessary equipment or expertise to package products and ship them in bulk, doing this in-house can be time-consuming and costly.
To solve this problem, many businesses hire the services of a contract packer. These firms allow companies to outsource their order fulfilment, reducing the need for expensive in-house machinery, staff and training.
But how do you begin choosing a company, and are they really the most economical option?
Choose a local packing company
When deciding which contract packing service to use, establish a reasonable travel distance as it may be necessary to visit the packing facility and check that the company is completing the job to the correct specifications and standards.
“You need to stay within a 100-mile radius to keep your costs to a minimum,”
said Mick Clark, managing director at contract packing company WePack.
Although distance makes little difference to the price when shipping pallets within the UK, costs can rise dramatically when transporting items to overseas packing facilities.
“If you shipped something to be packed from here to Italy, for instance, you would be adding three or four times the price per pallet to get it there in a seven-day period.”
Even though a trusted contract packing service can ensure the safe transportation and arrival of packaged goods at the shipping point, there is still the matter of getting the product to the packing facility in the first place.
To avoid unforeseen issues while the product is in transit, some contract packers will collect the items themselves or offer advice on how to transfer the products securely.
Most good contract packers out there will guide the client on how to make sure items are palletised and aren’t vulnerable to damage, says Mick.
Order fulfilment services
Once the product has been packed, there is a certain waiting period before the stock can be delivered to its final destination. Yet transporting the products back and forth not only causes costs to rise, but increases the risk of items suffering damage through mishandled deliveries.
However, contract packing firms offering an order fulfilment service usually have the capacity to store products in a secure on-site facility, saving the time, effort and money needed to haul stock back and forth between facilities.
“I think a lot of clients are looking for a company that can handle the job in totality,”
“Having the ability to store products in the packing facility will reduce the need to transport the items back to the client’s location, before having to ship them off again. This can waste time and money.”
Quality checks and safety measures
Depending on the type of product and how fragile it is, certain measures can be put in place to ensure the packaging materials arrive in perfect condition. These include:
- applying corner posts
- double-wrapping heavy products
- adding card dividers in boxes holding glass bottles
Mick says an ideal contract packer will guide clients on the correct packaging material to use to protect items during transportation, and if suitable, make suggestions on how to reduce the size and weight of the packaging. For that extra level of customer service, some firms will even advise on how to use as much of the delivery vehicle’s space as possible, in order to be as efficient as possible.
Quality checking is an important function of the contract packer. This helps to identify potential risks avoid mistakes that, if they were to arise, could lengthen the packing process and increase the delivery costs.
Getting the products from A to B
Even after following the proper procedures, there is still a chance products could be damaged in transit. Consequently, it’s vital the goods are covered under insurance. Without it, businesses might lose out on compensation, which could result in significant losses of customers and money.
When transporting goods, many contract packing firms will insure the products under their own policy. This protects the company and all the goods it is transporting against accidental loss or damage.
“We have our own vehicles for local delivery and we work closely with haulers for worldwide delivery services,”
“It’s our specialism to find suitable carriers to ship pallets, especially if the goods are liquid, fragile, highly flammable or toxic.”
Shipping products in bulk can be a daunting process for companies that lack the necessary knowledge or equipment. This is why it’s important to hire professionals to carry out the job, to ensure the correct safety measures are followed and to save business time and money.