Packaging and Shipping Fragile Items

Packaging Materials

Classic Brocante has invested in packaging systems and materials to help ensure our customers receive their purchases in the condition they left us. Unfortunately, items can get rough treatment in transit, be thrown and dropped into delivery vans, sorting crates and trolleys or stacked with many heavy parcels piled on top. We all would like to think our parcels and packages are treated with respect, however this doesn’t always happen. It is our job to try our best to protect our items so that they get to the buyer in one piece.

Investment in Systems and Materials

How do we ensure our customers receive their purchases in the same condition as they left us? Investment in materials and systems to help achieve a good level of protection is worthwhile. This creates a safe and efficient process, that enables us to cope with packing and dispatching many items a week to meet customer demand.

Shipping Costs

Shipping costs can be absorbed within the item selling price or by making an appropriate charge. In most cases, we charge for shipping. It is important to ensure your customers know that shipping cost is not just the cost of postage. We prefer to use the term `Shipping’ instead of `Postage’ for that reason. The shipping charge will include postage, packing materials and time spent, although we mostly absorb the cost of time spent packing on small items.

The Early Days

In our early days, we spent very little on packaging materials, obtaining used boxes from local supermarkets and using scrunched up newspaper to pack around items. This was fine when we were dispatching 3-4 items a week, but soon found we were spending a lot of time, collecting materials and cutting boxed down to acceptable sizes. We also used to hand write labels and stick them on using a Pritt Stick glue.

How Things Have Changed 

We now buy in most of our packaging materials. This includes cardboard boxes of various sizes, padded envelopes, large and small bubble wrap, parcel tape, sellotape, labels and shrink-wrap film. We have invested in two label printers, one for small self-adhesive labels and another for larger labels. There are many other systems and materials available, Classic Brocante are always evaluating alternative packaging materials, based on protection effectiveness, cost, weight, environmental attributes and storage capacity required.

Brother label printers

We have also invested in an air cushion machine and a selection of different size air cushions. This is a great tool as the cushioning or wrap comes deflated on rolls and we are able to inflate the desired size and quantity as we need them. This keeps the space needed for storing packaging materials to a minimum. Air cushions give good protection with minimum weight. You soon realise that keeping the parcel weight down saves money.

Environmental Consideration

It is important to give consideration to environmental issues with packaging materials. We always try to ensure most of our materials are recyclable or can be re-used. We have an arrangement with a local pharmacy to collect their used cardboard boxes. They also provide us with bubblewrap pockets which were used to ship medicines. This arrangement is good for the pharmacy as they save on waste disposal charges and are shown to be recycling. We also save money by avoiding buying in larger size boxes, and the bubblewrap pockets which we use to store and protect small fragile items.

Packing & Shipping Fragile Items – A How-To Guide

  1. Starting with the item you need to dispatch, gather the required packaging materials required. Select a suitable cardboard box, large enough to ensure a good space to add energy-absorbing packaging.
  2. Fill any voids or air spaces to help reduce shock waves. Take care not to distort the item or put too much pressure on thin-walled items by packing too tightly.
  3. Add cushioning around the outside and tape into place. Cover the air cushioning with pallet wrap film to bind together.
  4. Use extra cushioning between the wrapped item and the sides of the box for added shock absorption.
  5. Make any alterations to box if necessary and add the packing slip.
  6. Finally, tape up the box and label it ready for dispatch.

Packing & Shipping Glass – A Visual Guide

Packing & Shipping Glass - A large glass carboy
Large glass carboy
Packing & Shipping Glass - Assorted packaging materials
Assorted packaging materials
Packing & Shipping Glass - A large cardboard box used to pack items
A large cardboard box used to pack items
Packing & Shipping Glass - Filling the voids or air spaces
Filling the voids or air spaces

 

 

 

 

Packing & Shipping Glass - Item surrounded with air cushioning
Item surrounded with air cushioning
Packing & Shipping Glass - Adding different size air cushioning to suit contours
Adding different size air cushioning to suit contours
Packing & Shipping Glass - Tape to fix in position
Tape to fix in position
Packing & Shipping Glass - Bind tightly together with pallet wrap film
Bind tightly together with pallet wrap film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Packing & Shipping Glass - Making alterations to a box
Making alterations to a box
Packing & Shipping Glass - Add packing slip
Add packing slip
Packing & Shipping Glass - Return address label
Return address label
Packing & Shipping Glass - Parcel ready for dispatch
Parcel ready for dispatch