One of the biggest issues we are asked for by first time importers / buyers is on the is how to securely package the goods for shipping. If you are buying FOB then it is up the shipper to ensure the goods are packed suitable for transport. However it is always good to check how they are doing it. It is no good opening the container to find after 4 weeks at sea all you have are broken crates and unsellable goods.
Language is an important consideration when dealing with this area. While often English is the default business language frequently it is not a person native language. Often when western countries are dealing with far eastern countries and India, confusion can arise over the interpretation of conversation. Photo’s, diagrams all help to ensure the finished packaging is correct. Even little things such as location of the packaging barcode should be considered. It is no good if it is put in a location which is later going to have saying a hanging hole punch through it or and additional price/information label on top of it. This may then render the barcode unscannable and useless. You then end up of having the cost of relabelling all stock.
Packaging Check List
- Does the product packaging comply to how you want it prepared. IE is the colour correct, is it packed in the correct units, is the artwork on the packaging correct?
- Number of inner boxes per outer box
- Is Artwork needed on outer box
- Does the outer box need a different barcode to the inner for stock control purposes
- What should the maximum weight of an inner or outer box? (Most couriers have a maximum weight of 27 kilos) So if your boxes weigh 29 kilos it may mean more expensive courier costs if you distribute individual outers.
- Should goods be packed in bubble wrap or just polythene bags
- Should cardboard boxes be used, if so what ply ratio should be used – 1Ply,2Ply,etc.
- Do outer boxes need stronger cardboard then inner boxes
- Do outer boxes require straps around them.
- How are boxes to be sealed? Sellotape, Glue or Stapled
- Are goods to be packed on pallets for shipping or shipped loose?
- If goods are to be palletised do they just need straps or shrink wrapped or should both be done?
- Do your boxes need to pass an Edge Crush Test or a bursting strength test. If so who is going to do the testing and how is compliance going to be enforced.
- Who is going to do the final quality check. Ensuring that the final packaged product is clean, no scratches or marks on the packaging, all looks the same and does not smell? Will some of it be done by a person on site? Are they independent? Will it photographs be ok.