Packaging Advice

Protective packaging: 4 common mistakes and how to avoid them

4 mins

When it comes to shipping products as a business, protective packaging is an essential part of the process. The right packaging solution can mean the difference between a safe, undamaged delivery and a costly return or replacement.

Unfortunately, protective packaging goes far beyond the selection of a sturdy cardboard box. From custom packaging inserts, through to void fill and corner protection, there’s a lot more to think about than you might’ve first imagined.  

With that said, here are four of the most common protective packaging mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Mistake 1: Overpacking

Overpacking can be just as problematic as under packing. When you use packaging that is too large or bulky for the product being shipped, it can lead to increased material wastage, as well as shipping costs.

Excessive packaging materials often don’t add much value to the protection of your products. They’re essentially a waste in resources, money, and time, that ultimately hinder your brand reputation – especially in the eyes of eco-conscious consumers.

Solution: Ensure that every component of your protective packaging solution serves a functional or aesthetic purpose. Make sure that the packaging you choose is appropriately sized for the product being shipped and that there is no more than an adequate level of cushioning. If you’re struggling to find packaging that fits, bespoke packaging can help prevent overpacking with an optimised solution that meets your needs.

Mistake 2: Under protecting

Another common mistake is not providing enough protection for the product being shipped. Even if the right packaging materials are used, if there isn't enough cushioning, the product can still become damaged during transit.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, be sure to choose appropriate cushioning materials that are suitable for the weight, size, and fragility of the product being shipped. This can include using foam inserts, air pillows, or paper wrap to provide additional cushioning. It's also important to consider the type of shipping being used, as different modes of transportation can result in different levels of shock and vibration during transit.

A great way to record and monitor damage during transit is through the use of impact labels. When applied to your packaging solution, analytics enable the diagnosis and elimination of pain points within the supply chain. For more on how impact labels could benefit your business, view our ShockWatch page.

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Mistake 3: Neglecting the quality of packaging materials

The quality of packaging materials that you use can have a significant impact on the safety of your products during shipping. Using low-quality or substandard packaging materials can lead to damage during transit. This is because lower quality materials may not be able to withstand the impacts of shipping and may not be able to adequately protect the product from potential hazards such as moisture, vibration, or shock.

Solution: The solution to this common mistake is simple – don’t make your purchasing decision purely based on price. Whilst, of course, you’ll be looking to save money, selecting the cheapest protective packaging solution is likely to cost you more in the long run. Not only through countless damaged returns, but a poor reputation. Be sure to do your research and find a balance between quality and cost.

Mistake 4: Leaving our clear instructions

Another common issue seen in protective packaging comes with packages that are labelled with fragile or handle with care instructions, but without clear instructions on how to actually handle the package. For example, a package containing a fragile item may be labelled "fragile," but without specific instructions on how to handle it, such as "keep upright" or "do not stack." This can lead to mishandling during shipping and result in damage to the product.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, be sure to provide clear and concise handling instructions on the packaging itself or in accompanying documentation. This can include instructions on how to open the package, how to handle the product, and any other important information that the handler(s) and recipient needs to know.

Protective packaging from the experts at Swiftpak

Does your highly sensitive or valuable item require protective packaging? At Swiftpak, we pride ourselves on delivering the very best protective packaging solutions. With over 45 years’ experience and a trusted in-house packaging design team, we can ensure a successful solution that your business deserves.

If you’re interested in making the most out of your packaging, get in touch with our expert team today. We’d love to show you how our packaging solutions can drive business growth.