Using the shake test to prevent shipping damage

17Feb11

When you’re packing a box that’s going to be shipped somewhere, or designing a product package, there’s a very simple test to verify that you’ve done your job correctly. Shake the box, and listen whether the contents are moving around. If they move a lot, there’s a significant chance that they’ll be damaged in transit. If they barely move at all, the odds are good that things will remain intact during the journey.

Obviously, there are many other factors in play here. For instance, items that aren’t very fragile can bounce around quite a bit without risking damage. But it still amazes me that so few retailers, shipping companies, and package designers ever bother to shake their containers and see what happens. By using this simple test at various stages in the design and fulfillment process, inexpensive changes can be made — like adding more bubble wrap — to ensure that products still look great when they finally end up in the customer’s hands.



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