At my old company, I used to like to visit the loading dock on occasion if I needed a coffee break or to stretch my legs. The rest of the office referred to the group as “the shippers” and they were a fun group to say the least. Always quick with a self-deprecating joke or a good-natured prank, the loading dock was a nice change of pace from the halogen lights and cubicles that engulfed the rest of the office. One shipper liked to sing songs as he wrapped products in bubble-wrap and wielded his tape gun like an artist would a paintbrush – like an extension of his hand. He called the songs “ship shanties” and even named his tape gun because of the speed in which he boasted that it worked (“Red Lightning” or “Quicksilver” I can’t remember which). It was a sight to watch when during the busy season when hundreds of boxes would be loaded onto trucks every day, packaged by this merry band of shipping brothers while singing whimsical, silly songs to help pass the day. Despite their proclivity towards tomfoolery, this department was arguably the most effective in the entire company’s operation. I came to realize that a big part of why they worked with such speed and efficiency was because they had the proper tools for the job – high-quality tape, cushioning and durable bubble wrap, sturdy boxes and mailers. These items not only helped the shippers get products out quickly and protected against potential transit damage, but also made their jobs much easier to accomplish. Hence why they were such a jovial group.
Perhaps your shipping department is similar or maybe it is a bit different, either way, I’m willing to bet it is crucial to the success of the company. It doesn’t matter how expensive or fragile your items might be, if you can’t get your wares to your customers safely and on time – they won’t be your customers for very long. This month’s “Fabulous Four” focuses on conceivably the most important items in any commercial operation: shipping and packaging supplies!
Most Versatile Item: Carton Sealing Tape
Let’s face it, if your box opens in transit, all your careful packaging will be for naught. Therefore, a high-quality packing tape with great holding power is essential to any shipping operation. Wrap Tite makes a variety of light, medium and heavy-duty tapes that will stand up to the varying temperatures of your loading dock, and the truck the package will end up on. In short, make sure your tape is reliable and can be used on just about any package so you can ship with confidence!
Unsung Hero: Scotch™ Flex and Seal Shipping Roll
This has to be one of the coolest products I’ve come across in recent memory. This roll of material requires no bubble-wrap, no box, and no tape to safely ship small non-fragile items. I know what you’re thinking… “what exactly is it then?”. Well, the folks at Scotch™ have seriously outdone themselves this time. They have created a padded roll that is self-adhesive and can be cut to size to fit any small product you’re looking to ship. This saves space in your warehouse, takes less time to package, and uses up to 50% less material than a conventional box. I just sent the link to my old warehouse friends!
Most Valuable Product: Sealed Air Bubble Wrap
The month’s MVP is the godfather of shipping materials. Without it, nothing remotely breakable would be able to be shipped even across town, much less across the country. Sealed Air bubble wrap comes in a variety of bubble sizes, roll widths, and roll lengths creating a wide, versatile product set for just about any shipping setup. It is essential for any warehouse operation. Creating a barrier of air between the product and the wall of the shipping box provides far more protection than loose fill or paper. In addition, it is lightweight, perforated and super fun to pop if you feel stressed! Bubble wrap is so important that we recently dedicated an entire blog post to it – check it out for more information.
Product Most Likely to be Found in My Home: Slice® Safety Cutter with Ceramic Micro-Blade
Oh Slice® Safety cutter – where have you been all my life? I was recently introduced to this incredible safety blade by a very frugal neighbor who loves to clip coupons. He showed me first-hand how fast he could work while his hand never cramped or tired. My mind was immediately blown. As somebody who has cut themselves on more than one occasion with a utility blade, this handy little substitute is a welcome sigh of relief. Made from ceramic, the blade is just sharp enough to cut through paper and cardboard, but much less sharp than a conventional blade. Therefore, making it inherently safer for my fingers – which I value and want to keep intact! Great for home use and strong enough for the heavy-duty work of the pros.
I hope these products shed some light on how important your shipping tools are. A warehouse’s speed and efficiency leads to fewer returns, fewer breakages, happier customers, and ultimately – higher profits. Set up your merry band of shippers with quality materials to work with and you just might hear the hum of a newly crafted “ship shanty” emanating from your loading dock too!