Freight claims and damage are impossible to avoid altogether; every single company that ships products will encounter them eventually. While a zero percent claims ratio is unheard of, this doesn’t mean companies can’t reduce the number of freight damages and claims they have to deal with, thus reducing their losses, conserving their resources, and better serving their customers. Ultimately, you’ll want to aim for a claims ratio of well under one percent. How can you achieve this? Follow these tips to bring your claims ratio to an all-time low.
Review Your Packaging
While it’s hard to control what happens after freight leaves your warehouse, you can control how well it is protected. Reducing freight claims and damage begins with choosing the right packaging and ensuring that freight is properly protected while in transit. Packaging best practices include:
- Including adequate impact protection: use the right types of foam, bubble wrap, dunnage, etc. If you are shipping fragile or high-value items, consider custom cut foam for adequate protection.
- Choosing the right size box: using boxes that are too small does not offer enough impact protection; boxes that are too large allow items to shift too much.
A common mistake for shippers is cutting costs when it comes to packaging. This is a risky area to try and cut corners, so don’t skip out on your packaging materials.
Label Shipments Properly
Improperly or inadequately labeled shipments result in delays, lost freight, and increased handling of items, all of which can increase freight claims. To avoid having shipments lost, delayed, or rerouted, ensure that they are clearly and properly classified and labeled, allowing carriers to quickly and properly find their destination without having to excessively handle the freight and shift it around to find the destination.
Labels can also be used to denote fragile items as well as instruct carriers on how to properly handle them. If there are specific ways in which your freight should be handled, noting that on the packaging can help reduce damage while in transit.
Follow Palletizing Best Practices
Pallets may seem simple enough, but they are a bit more complex than most people believe. They can also be the root cause of freight damage if they are not used properly. When working with pallets, follow these best practices:
- Choose the right material. Plastic and wood pallets are the two primary choices and are best for different applications. If you are shipping an oversized, awkwardly shaped, or particularly high-value item, considering using custom pallets to protect it.
- Ditch old pallets: pallets should be routinely inspected for damage before being used in shipments. Discard and replace old pallets to avoid having them break.
- Follow proper stacking procedures: stack items on pallets so that the weight is equally distributed. Also, consider the weight of boxes when stacking them. Avoid stacking heavier packages on top of lighter ones that can easily collapse.
Reduce Dock Congestion
Accidents happen when freight is being loaded and unloaded onto trailers. These accidents are more likely to happen when warehouse workers are working quickly to alleviate congestion at the loading bays. One of the best things a warehouse can do to reduce the amount of freight damage that occurs at their loading bays is to reduce dock congestion.
For a more detailed look at what you can do to reduce dock congestion, read our guide.
Consider Your Method of Shipping
The method you use for shipping can increase the amount your freight is handled. While LTL shipping has its uses and benefits, these shipments tend to stop more than a partial or full truckload, which means your freight will be moved on and off the trailer more times than usual. If you are finding that your freight is being damaged while in transit, consider changing to a different, more direct method of shipping.
Work with a 3PL
One of the benefits of working with a third-party logistics provider is gaining access to a reliable fleet of carriers. At King Solutions, we keep our freight claims ratios low because we understand how to optimize packaging, palletization, and loading and unloading procedures. We also work with reliable carriers and customize our shipping programs to help our customer’s freight get to its destination on time, and in one piece.
Ready to talk about reducing your freight claims ratio? Get in touch with our team today.