Reduce breakages when shipping goods

Customers get frustrated with receiving broken goods. They also get annoyed when they have a lot of packaging to dispose of and it is perceived to have a negative impact on the environment.

Getting the balance right

With the increase in online buying, more and more parcels are being shipped via the parcel courier network. Delivery lead-times are shortening due to competitive pressures, and couriers have to handle the parcels faster than ever. Parcels travel at up to 35 miles per hour along conveyors, rapidly changing direction and velocity.

The cost of damaged goods

The costs incurred by a customer taking delivery of a damaged parcel are partly financial but, more importantly, will damage your brand reducing future revenues.

This graphic shows some of those tangible and intangible costs which can directly affect your business.

The Causes

There are various challenges facing a parcel during shipping

As the parcel travels to its destination the packaging has to protect the products being shipped from the following:

  • Parcel being dropped
  • Vibration and repeated handling
  • Compression
  • Temperature and humidity variations
  • Pilfering

In this article we suggest a number of ways you can reduce breakages in transit and the possibility of your customer receiving damaged or pilfered goods.

Gummed PaperTape

Reduce the risk of pilfering and improve the security of your parcels

Gummed paper tape gives a very secure seal. The adhesive is applied wet and it soaks into the fibres of the corrugated board, once it has dried, it is almost impossible to peel off. This makes it tamper-evident so that your customer will be able to confirm if the parcel has been opened during transit.

Gummed paper tape is available with reinforced fibres, and due to the strength of the bond less tape is needed when compared with standard plastic self-adhesive tape.

The gummed paper tape is 100% recyclable.

Protega Cushioning

Eliminating movement in transit is essential to reduce breakages

Protega paper padding ‘locks’ a product in position so it cannot come loose inside the box and get damaged.

Paper padding is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic air pillows and polystyrene loose fill chips. Protega paper padding is 100% recyclable and is made with 70% of recycled paper.

There is a possibility that your product could ‘migrate’ or move inside the box when using plastic air pillows, bubble wrap or polystyrene loose fill chips, and compromise the protection it is supposed to have. Also, plastic air pillows can deflate in transit.

Retention packaging

Drastically reduce your average packing times, reduce ancillary packaging, and enhance your brand’s perception.

Dynasafe retention packs give a foolproof, secure package which is reusable.

By using a flexible retention film your products can be packed in seconds, held extremely securely in transit, and is 100% recyclable for the end user.

Dynasafe can be optimised for returns to ensure your product arrives back with you in a grade ‘A’ saleable condition.

Design in handholes

If you are designing a box to your specification you could add in handholes. This will help couriers to handle your parcel correctly and keep it the right way up. There are three styles of handholes as detailed below.

Standard size off-the-shelf cardboard boxes

If you purchase off-the-shelf standard size cartons, they will typically be the lightest corrugated board grades, whether single or double flute corrugated board. The packaging industry is competitive and cardboard box manufacturers have consistently reduced board weights to maintain a competitive edge in the market. This need not be a reason to reject off-the-shelf cartons. They be adequate for your requirements providing sufficient protective packing is used inside the box.

Bespoke boxes made to your specification

If off-the-shelf boxes are not strong enough for your needs then you will have to get your cartons made to your specification. Depending on the size you require you may be able to get a corrugated box convertor to make a relatively small number for you. The advantage is you can specify the exact size you need which means you can use the optimal amount of protective packaging, not too much, not too little, and in a board grade that meets your requirements.

The advantage of standard off-the-shelf boxes is you can purchase a wide range of sizes in small quantities giving your packers a wide choice of box sizes to choose from.

Why do online retailers use boxes that are too big?

A common complaint nowadays is about the oversized boxes that are used to ship goods, and the excessive packaging that is used. There are reasons for this, as e-retailers such as Amazon are selling a huge variety of product sizes, so it would nearly impossible for them to have the optimal box size for each product. In order to maximise the numbers of parcels shipped per day, the packing process needs to be simplified to a limited number of packing options which minimises choice and minimises space used for packing materials. (However, there are limits…!!!)

A clever solution

An online bicycle seller had a problem with damage in transit, so they came up with an idea that solved the problem. On the side of their boxes they printed a large picture of a wide screen television!

Click on the link below to find out more.


If you are having significant breakage problems there are many possible solutions, and finding the best method may involve asking for expert help from a packaging consultant. An expert will have considerable experience and will be aware of many solutions tailored for your situation. 

A packaging consultant should also complete a comprehensive audit of your supply chain including consideration of the end user experience, the environmental impact, and recommending the cheapest, fastest and best solution.

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