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Dimensional weight vs damage: Finding the right balance of protection while reducing package dimension

For high-volume shippers, one key to success is identifying the line between tight packaging and inadequate protection - and staying on the right side of it.

Tight or Right?

With parcel carriers charging for dimensional weight and consumers pushing for less packaging waste, shippers can be motivated to minimise package size. This may steer businesses away from using the right amount of protective packaging materials to prevent damage, reduce shipping costs, minimise returns/claims, and ultimately satisfy customers.   

So, what happens when shippers sacrifice protection to downsize? Substandard and inadequate packaging materials are the main reason that one in 10 packages arrive damaged, leading to millions of re-deliveries each year, all of which has a considerable impact.

Damage rates create a lose-lose situation, eating into profits because shippers must replace damaged products and packing materials, and pay for shipping a second time. Customers, frustrated by a disappointing unboxing experience, may switch their brand loyalty. And the environment pays a considerable price too, since more energy and materials are needed to manufacture, package and deliver replacement products, not to mention the landfill accumulation associated with damaged items.


The proof is in the packaging

Fragile and breakable items need cushioning protection to be shipped through the parcel network, arriving safely and damage free to the final destination.  This seems intuitive but it is not necessarily the case. Too often shippers focus on one of their highest cost line items - freight. As a result, they begin to make decisions that may sacrifice protection, such as reducing the size of the box. 

Before taking the leap to remove protective packaging in order to downsize a box, it’s worth examining the following:

1. Is the current packaging material truly providing cushioning protection or simply reducing the amount of void space within the box? If the material is only there to take up space in the box, you may have the option to reduce the box size and use a less bulky material such as Quantum paper void fill or wrapping it in an AirSpeed Quilt air cushion pattern. 

2. Next, if the item is breakable and the current material is needed to cushion against vibration and impact, consider if there is a higher performing cushioning material that can provide the same protection, yet take up minimal space. A great example of this is Easypack’s multi-ply paper cushioning solutions.  The paper cushions will mould around the product to fit snugly and protect against damage.

3. Finally, look at the items that do not require protection such as soft goods or clothing. Consider packing those items into a poly mailer or bag to minimise shipping cost. 


Substandard and inadequate packaging materials are the main reason one in 10 packages arrives damaged, leading to millions of costly re-deliveries every year.

There are many factors that can impact your parcel shipping costs - from the various surcharges and delivery distance, to the size or weight of the box.  The good news is that Pregis is here to help you select the right solution while also making sure you don't experience a spike in product damage. 

To reduce damage rates, shippers need to take the guesswork out of packaging protection by putting solutions to the test. Pregis' packaging professionals can help do just that.


Shipping with confidence

Taking into account cost, product durability and delivery hazards such as drops, vibration and compression, the packaging engineers can recommend the right types and amounts of protective packaging materials.

However, the work doesn’t stop there - Pregis engineers are readily available to help shippers implement their packaging solutions, including training workers at warehouses and fulfillment centres in the proper way to use equipment and materials.

Pregis offers a wide range of training and educational resources, including on-site demonstrations, instructional placards and visual aids. The resources are invaluable to shippers dealing with high employee turnover or trying to get seasonal staff up to speed quickly. 


At Pregis, packaging is a passion, and data drives the decision-making. Once shippers have customised and validated shipping solutions, workers are trained to implement them - and then they're squarely on the path to right-sized packages, damage rate reduction, lower shipping costs and higher customer satisfaction.


To engage a Pregis packaging professional, contact us and let’s get connected!