Shipping, packing, and transporting cargo can be challenging. If done improperly, certain factors can negatively affect cargo and cause untold damage. Impacts, vibrations, and shocks throughout transport can cause damage to shipments, ultimately leading to lost or delayed cargo. On top of that, poorly planned shipping routes, exorbitant fuel costs, and myriad other problems can affect the safety of cargo during transport. What this leads to is the need for mitigation and preventative measures to reduce the risk of damage to cargo during transport. Here are five ways to do that along your supply chain.
Use Impact Monitors
Impact monitoring is a unique way to track your cargo’s movements and what happens to it while it’s in transit. Using various monitoring techniques, you can identify the cause, source, and location of damage that happens along your supply chain (even if it’s not damaged you can readily spot it visually). Impact monitors are incredibly useful for determining whether damage is caused by rough handling, tampering, improper packaging, poor quality control, or other external factors. There are plenty of different impact monitors, including devices that monitor GPS, g-forces, shocks, and time stamps for any potential impacts. Using a state-of-the-art impact indicator in conjunction with other tools and systems will help you take swift action, make quick assessments, and eventually help prevent future damage along your entire supply chain.
Proper Storage And Temperature
One of the most important things you can do to prevent cargo damage is to properly store your goods, specifically if they’re time-temperature sensitive. Some goods need to be stored in a safe place, under optimal conditions. Otherwise, spoilage and other significant problems can occur without warning. Protecting cargo from the elements, typically at a temperature range of 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity range of 40-60% is key to ensuring it’s usability once it reaches its destination. Different types of cargo will have their own unique temperature needs. To protect sensitive items from shock or damage (predominantly due to extreme changes in temperature), it’s wise to use chillers, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, and temperature sensors to keep track of these vital elements when it comes to your cargo.
Prevent Condensation, Moisture and Humidity
Three of the worst things that can happen to cargo are condensation, moisture and humidity. Moisture is the natural enemy of any vital piece of equipment. To keep these dangerous vectors under control, you need to use various tech gadgets and have a strong plan in place to manage them. The best way to control humidity is with a combination of using refrigerated storage units and humidity sensors. Refrigerated units are designed to keep cargo at the right temperature and humidity level. That way, goods don’t absorb water from the air. Humidity can cause severe damage to cargo, so reducing and preventing it is critical. Packaging is another good way to help control moisture (mostly by using shrink-wrapping techniques or other packing methods to make your shipments airtight). Preventing humidity can also help keep condensation bay. By following some simple procedures and using the right tools, you can prevent condensation and moisture buildup during transport—without risking damage to your cargo!
Plan Better Routes
To ensure that your freight reaches its destination in the best condition possible, routes are super important. Companies need to carefully plan routes in order to optimize their savings and get cargo to its destination without any failure points. The process begins with planning optimal routes. Choose less traveled roads if possible, reduce the amount of right turns, and plan to avoid rush hour. Rush hour is the bane of existence for non-supply chain travelers and it can be even worse for logistics. Rush hours are usually the busiest times of day on roads and highways. That means more traffic, higher fuel costs, slower speeds, and plenty of significant delays. If you want to keep your cargo safe as well as save money on transportation costs, try avoiding rush hour. It’s also good practice to avoid holidays and route around any known construction so you can avoid problems along the way.
Maintain Your Fleet and Vehicles
It seems obvious, but the most common cause of vehicle damage is not properly maintaining your fleet. If your team isn’t keeping up with routine maintenance, you’re putting any potential profits—and your precious, valuable cargo—at risk. It’s vital that you check fleet vehicles before and after every trip. That way, you can ensure everything is in good working order and keep it that way. Always check vehicle tires for proper inflation and any possible damage. Proper tire pressure is crucial to preventing accidents and moving along the road smoothly (not to mention preventing severe damage to the vehicle). Always make sure lighting is up to par as well. Double check the brakes (they shouldn’t be squeaking or making odd noises), top off all vital engine fluids, and be sure to do additional check ups on any refrigeration equipment you might be using on your fleet vehicles.