Shipping Boxes and Product Security Notes

Businesses that are shipping items to their clients should not dismiss the power of security. Security is not a matter of the delivery service provider, but the shipping boxes that you utilize. This seems odd at first, but truly is an element of shipping that should not be dismissed.

If you own a small business and are shipping on a regular basis, consider a few key elements of your supply chain. Boxes can either make or break security elements, and there’s a few key things to remember.

Preventing Loss and Damage

When making decisions about boxes, you’re going to often look for the lowest price. There’s nothing wrong with that. Price matters as it effects the bottom line of your profit. But before you go with something cheap, take into consideration how it may help or hurt the consumer.

The packaging and shipping of products needs to be rethought. Small items that are put into similarly sized boxes, can be stolen with ease. It also may limit the display, which can help consumers understand some simple benefits that come with their purchase. The size of boxes and product packaging can work hand in hand to deter loss, and even damage. Don’t dismiss this notion.

Protecting Against Damage

Aside from just shipping, consider the design of the package being shipped often. Design should not dismiss the need to protect the item inside. Adding an extra packaging for shipping can help deter breakage, in case of dropping, pressure, or weight. Once you give a package to a shipping source, they are going to treat the package like others, stacking, sorting, and moving it around without care.

Even items labeled “fragile” take a beating. To protecting against damage requires specific thought to the interior package design, as well as extra sleeves for items. Reducing movement and pressure is one of the keys to ensuring a product doesn’t arrive broken or unusable for the consumer.

Tracing Packages Easily

Tracking can make or break your supply chain. Consumers are more demanding today, and if they cannot trace packages easily, they will be very upset. It’s up to your business to ensure that tracking information is easy to utilize, read, and display. Using modern technologies can help with ink-coding, and other elements that help with this process.

New labeling systems, automated labeling, and larger displays for shipping companies to scan and read is critical. Without these in place on your shipping boxes, you can expect consumer complaints mid-way through the shipping process.

Never Overlook Packaging

It is important that small business protects their products from damage, theft, and other elements. It’s easy to overlook packaging due to cost. It’s for that reason that the above elements are so critical. Think about these as you marginalize your supply chain. Saving money by cutting corners on packaging, shipping labels, and technology is never a good idea. Doing so will come with a variety of complaints from consumers. It will also cause theft, damage, and production problems. It’s better to spend a little more to ensure packaging is secure, easy to trace, and safe, then to replace items over and over again due to theft and damage.

Storage Options

People find a need for storing their stuff for lots of reasons. From a temporary spot for shipping boxes to downsizing living space to making extra room for a growing family, there are various options one can choose from, four of which are covered here.

Classic Storage Units
Most people are aware of self-storage units, and these make a great choice for keeping stuff out of the way. It’s a common choice when consumers are in between homes and need a place to centralize their belongings.

On the positive side, self-storage units typically provide users with around-the-clock access. They also frequently have security monitoring as well as coded gates that allow only customers to get in via a personal code that’s been assigned. On the downside, customers have to get their items to and from storage using their own vehicles.

The cost of renting a self-storage unit is dependent upon factors including location, features, and size. Larger units that are suitable for storing the contents of an entire home may cost, on average, $150 to $230 each month.

Pods
Another option for storage is what’s known as a “pod”. These offer the convenience of bringing the storage directly to the packing location which makes it easy to fill. Once full, the pod is relocated to a new place. The pod company will haul the pod via truck on behalf of customers. The downside to pods is that they’re not as large as a stationary unit.

Quotes for pod rental can be obtained online. On average, a pod with space for three or four rooms’ worth of stuff runs around $175 per month. In addition, there’s a transporting fee for both delivery and relocation, and that runs approximately $65 for each.

Concierge Storage
Concierge storage is simply a complete service in which the company takes care of both packing and storing. They’ll also bring customers items they may discover are needed after they’ve been stored. This means that customers don’t have to be concerned with transporting items.

This service is very convenient as the concierge company performs a complete inventory of the contents. The finished list that’s given to the customer has numbered labels with a description of what each number represents.

On the downside, items that are needed can only be gotten during company hours. The cost of concierge storage depends on the location’s general cost of living.

Peer-to-Peer
This simple storage method is just what it sounds like. People in need of storage can search for someone who’s offering to rent out home space, such as an attic or cellar, for storage.

There are benefits to the peer-to-peer approach because it’s more personalized as far as amount of space and cost. There’s more flexibility than there would be with a firmly-structured company. On the downside, the peer-to-peer storage trend is still new and only available in a limited number of places, so it may not be convenient.

The cost of peer-to-peer storage is determined by a number of factors including location and negotiations agreed upon by the host and the renter. However, the overall cost for this type of storage is about half the cost of commercial storage.

Five Tips for Sending Holiday Packages

We are coming up no the holiday season, and that means lots of packages.  Lots of receiving packages, but also lots of sending them!  That means lots of time dealing with boxes, packaging tape, lines at the post office, and just plain old the cost of it on top of the cost of everything else…  Now is the time to start talking about all of the tips and tricks out there for shipping holiday packages.

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Tip #1) Don’t procrastinate!  Sometimes we think we have plenty of time left to send our gifts but then we get to the post office and realize that everything ships slower during the holiday season because everyone is sending stuff.  Be sure to send your packages out extra early.  You should make sure that you already have a nice stack of shipping boxes off to the side so that you can pack your boxes at home, minimizing the amount of time you are going to need to spend in the post office.  By leaving yourself ample time for shipping, you can save a lot of money by choosing the slower routes.

Tip #2) Shop online!  Shopping online is one way to completely avoid post office lines and shipping costs.  Most online retailers off free shipping during the holiday season, and a lot of them even offer gift-wrapping at a small cost.  You could probably save money on the same item by buying it off the internet, too.

Tip #3) Choose well!  The shipping boxes you choose are going to set the tone for your shipping experience.  You want ones that are new and strong.  The USPS offers flat rate shipping boxes that will ship anywhere in the United States for the same amount, and these are a fabulous option during the holiday season.  You can stuff them to the brim and not wonder how much it’s going to cost you in the end.

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Tip #4) Pack smart!  Choose packaging supplies that are going to work in your favor, and don’t skimp on them.  Make some investments in bubble wrap or packing peanuts.  There is no point for the gifts you are sending to wind up broken in transit simply because you skipped a step.

Tip #5) Be prepared!  If you are sending perishable items, send them at the beginning of the week so there isn’t a chance of them sitting around over the weekend.  Make sure that whatever they are can handle the extreme temperatures that will come from being shipped.  If you are sending expensive items, spend the extra money by sending them next-day.  Make sure the box is small, and get it insured through your own insurance company.  Obviously, don’t advertise what is inside of the box.

Homemade Candies and Boxes for Valentine’s Day

Homemade candy is a perfect gift for any occasion, but you can really seal the deal if you wrap that sweet treat up in DIY candy boxes.  People are really getting into homemade stuff these days.  I remember when everything was DIY in the 80s because no one had much money.  I still don’t think people have much money but credit cards have really been embraced so I wouldn’t be surprised if all those DIY supplies have been charged and the whole thing has become, yet another, popularity contest.

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Wow!  Way to be a Debbie Downer about homemade candy… I apologize.  Regardless of the socioeconomic implications of homemade candy boxes, they are super fun to make, super adorable, and super appreciated by anyone from any walk of life.  Here’s how to get ‘er done:

You can buy some plain, heart-shaped candy boxes at your local craft stores or you can even find some at department stores like Target.  If you really aren’t interested in the scavenger hunt for the perfect boxes, you can buy ones that already have chocolate in them (you can get them for like a dollar at most stores) and then just give the original box a makeover.

Materials you will Need-

  • Small candy boxes
  • Craft paper with cute designs on it
  • the normal stuff like scissors, pencil, glue, tape…
  • paint and paintbrushes
  • small candy papers or crepe/tissue paper

If you bought prepackaged candy boxes from the grocery store, remove the candies and the plastic liner.  This will be the starting point for the empty craft boxes.  Paint the sides of the top and bottom pieces.  You can paint the inside of the bottom box, too, if you any form of OCD (like myself).  When the paint has dried, place the lid upside down on the decorative paper and trace it.  Cut it out and glue it to the top.  Once again, if the OCD is singing to you, you can do this to the bottom of the box.

Once you’ve made your candy, use the candy papers or cut out circles of crepe/tissue paper to use as candy papers.

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I personally recommend that you try making White Chocolate Cereal Truffles.  These are just amazing, and that’s probably because you put crushed cereal inside of them.  Fruit loops tend to be my favorite because they are colorful.  These are so stinking easy to make!  You need five simple ingredients.  After you’ve prepared the truffle insides and it is setting in the fridge, you prepare the outer shell.  When the inside has hardened and you can form it into a ball you dip it into the melted chocolate, cover with sprinkles, and put back in the fridge.  Can I get a “voila!”?

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Moving Tips You May Have Never Heard Before

There are a lot of blogs and websites offering moving advice, mentioning everything from shipping boxes to unpacking, but there are probably some helpful hints that you may have never heard before.  I have searched high and low for those tips that don’t seem to make a regular appearance, and probably should!

  • Some movers will put your beds back together for you.
  • Unpack the kitchen first, so that you can feed your hungry helpers. Then unpack a bathroom, because you are going to need it sooner than you think you will.  Then unpack at least one bedroom so that you can collapse after you eat and have a shower.
  • Having moving supplies is obvious, but having the right quantity and everything you need is not. Have a range of shipping boxes with a lot of small (for heavy items), the most in medium, and some large.

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  • If you are moving more than a hundred and fifty miles away, and your moving truck can’t be delivered in less than twenty-four hours, there are going to be quite a few things that a moving company are not going to be allowed to transport. Federal, state, and local laws prohibit a moving company from moving guns, ammunition, and fireworks.  Those are obvious, right?  What is not so obvious is that they are also not allowed to move things like household batteries, nail polish and remover, and even liquid bleach.
  • Download a moving checklist that starts eight weeks out and tells you what to do each week.
  • Do not use newspaper to wrap fine china with! The ink will transfer to the china and stain it.  Use clean packing papers and pack them in small, sturdy shipping boxes to ensure the safest journey.
  • Wrap your furniture with plastic wrap to protect against dirt and damage.
  • When packing a moving container, start with appliances and distribute weight evenly from side to side and end to end.
  • If you have extremely valuable and antique items that are going to be moved, get them appraised beforehand. Properly photograph and video document these items in case something gets damaged and a claim needs to be opened.
  • Did you know that your shoes probably contain some moisture and should be aired out prior to a move so that they don’t develop mold in the process?
  • Do some research and prepare your children ahead of time for the move. So often we forget to really sit down and explain to our kids what is going to be happening, and after a long day of unloading the moving van they start asking when you are going to go back home.  Say what?  Preparing them can alleviate so much stress for both parties involved.