Before putting a plan together to aid the reduction of package damage in transit, you first need to examine how damage occurs, and how to track such damage before ultimately deciding how best it can be prevented.

Let’s face it, no supply chain is perfect, and as a result items can shift during loading and transportation, causing dents, rips, and perforations to products. This may sound relatively harmless but consider the significance of an entire unit load being rejected at a distribution centre, costing in excess of £1000, and this sum of waste becomes far more significant.

With such loss of revenue, the issue of damaged and wasted stock – which is a problem for most, if not all, supply chains – requires urgent attention. So, just how widespread is the problem, and is there a practical solution? Below we discuss ways to track damage to stock in transit so that your supply chain doesn’t suffer…

Is the Supply Chain Full of Potential Risk to your Stock?

The supply chain sees hundreds of thousands of products of all types, sizes, and purposes make the journey from a manufacturing plant to a distribution centre to a retail store, and yet despite the repetitive nature of this journey, the level of risk remains relatively high in regard to product damage.

Each element of the supply chain from the material and strength of packaging to manufacturing, transportation, distribution, and retail operations, can be a potential cause of damage. And therefore, thought is required into each of the processes that goods sustain upon their journey.

From the consideration of packaging design to unit load design – is there overhang or under-hang? To palletiser performance (are there any gaps between cases that are stacked on top of each other?), to stretch-wrap effectiveness – you’ll be amazed at how big a factor this is in whether a product sustains damage!

Then there’s influences such as your loading pattern (ideally, you’ll have a structure in place where loading decisions are made based on the type of shipment), productivity, safety procedures, equipment, costs, and transportation.

Should you Be Tracking Stock Damage?

Confronted with the manufacturing-industry standard of a two-hour unload window (or risk hefty detention charges), retailers habitually reject entire unit loads at the dock, despite typically less than 1% of the products within the cartons being damaged.

Is this really a practical, or affordable option for the retailer? And, more importantly, are they aware of the sheer cost as a result of such a practice?

It may be unrealistic to eliminate damages completely from supply chains, but it is still possible for a business to approach the issue logically and launch a system that will help to measure and monitor the process more closely, in a bid to make improvements.

Executing an Improved Stock Tracking Strategy…

In order to execute an improved tracking strategy towards waste and damage of products, development must start with a system that helps to determine where efforts should be more focused.

Following the steps below will help;

  • Ascertain when the damage took place; was it during manufacturing, distribution or in transit?
  • Foster a more in-depth understanding of how each of the processes affect the other. For example, is loading completed thoroughly enough at the distribution stage? Is the product appropriately secure and stabilised during transit? Are incidence rates detected, captured and tracked accordingly?
  • The more detail you can uncover, the more precisely you can identify the sources of the issues, and therefore, the greater you’ll be at developing and executing a remedial plan of action
  • A root cause analysis can help significantly and should ideally be a key element of your strategy. Why? Because it reveals the “what, where, and why” details of damage to your product, allowing for effective, money-saving improvements throughout your supply chain.

Improving your Supply Chain with Tech-Fuelled Tracking

Ambling around in the hope to locate problems isn’t an effective strategy when so much money is at stake. Instead, you require laser precision on specific targets, so you know precisely where improvements need to be made.

At EDG, we can help you to embrace workforce solutions and software that can help. Why not alleviate the natural day-to-day stresses of your supply chain operations with the help of mobile solutions, where you can better track your deliveries and ultimately, save money by preventing waste and damage to your stock?

Contact us today to learn more or call us on +44 (0)1245 380 009.