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4 Packaging Mistakes You Could Be Making

In the business world, mistakes usually equal money. Lost money, that is. On top of draining your business's finances, mistakes also rob you of the most valuable currency of all: time.

We're guessing that minimizing and eliminating mistakes in your daily operations is an item that's high on your priority list. And shipping is an area where little mistakes can quickly become BIG headaches. One of the most common ways small and mid-sized businesses allow errors to creep into their shipping is through packaging. Let's take a look at the most common packaging mistakes you might be making right now, and how to make sure they become a thing of the past.

Mistake #1: Not paying attention to DIM weight (and racking up oversize charges)
The recent and relentless rise of e-commerce means that carriers are sending an increasingly high volume of shipments through their networks – which is why dimensional (DIM) weight is so important. Applying rates based on DIM weight allows a carrier to better optimize the use of their vehicles, fuel and other resources. A carrier will always bill for the higher of the actual weight and the dimensional weight of a shipment, and ignoring the DIM weight of your shipment is a guaranteed way to ensure you're hit with oversize charges.

Here are a few quick tips to help lower your shipment's DIM weight and avoid extra charges:

  • Use smaller, tighter packaging
  • Avoid over-boxing
  • For larger, lighter items, pack more into your box, if possible
  • Always enter the correct weight and dimensions of your shipment

Mistake #2: Not using sufficient-quality boxes, cushioning and packing tape
Always start with a new, rigid box designed to hold the weight of your shipment, and use adequate cushioning material inside the box as a buffer. Reinforce the opening and seams of your boxes with a minimum of two-inch-wide packing tape. Trying to save a few cents on packaging, insulation, padding or tape will inevitably end up costing you dollars due to lost or damaged goods.

Mistake #3: Failing to label clearly and correctly
UPS can't deliver what its systems can't read. No matter how carefully you package your shipment, if the label is unclear or not properly affixed, it will never reach its destination.

Here are a few fundamental labeling tips:

  • Whenever possible, use a clear plastic address pouch to affix the label to your package
  • When applying your label and taping your package, make sure you don't obscure or damage any bar codes or addresses on the label
  • Make sure there is only one address and one bar code/QR code on your box. If you're reusing a package (something we never recommend), make sure you remove or black out any previous shipping labels.

Mistake #4: Not considering potential regulatory packaging requirements for certain types of shipments
If your shipment contains dangerous goods or hazardous materials, there are almost always regulatory packaging requirements that must be followed. UPS's requirements can be found here.

Generally, UPS always requires that these types of shipments include:

  • New or like-new packaging
  • No more than three compatible hazardous materials in the same package
  • One type of material alone if it's a highly reactive chemical
  • No mixing of regulated items of different hazard classes

Efficient and effective packaging is a foundational element of a successful shipping operation, and avoiding these four common mistakes discussed above is crucial.

Fortunately, Worldwide Express is here to help identify smart packaging solutions for frequently shipped items. Our longstanding partnership with UPS allows us to help you take all the guesswork out of packaging your shipments.

Reach out to our shipping experts to get started with your custom UPS quote today!

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*UPS Disclaimer: Offers and UPS® services through WWEX are available to new UPS customers only.

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