By Trevor Hoyle, Vice President Operations UK & Ireland, FedEx Express & FedEx UK Ltd
The festive season brings with it increased anticipation, for consumers and businesses alike. Whether this is an opportunity for increased sales or the excitement of receiving that perfect present, everyone is looking forward to what the next month will bring.
Individuals will be sending packages and parcels to friends and family, in the UK and across the world. However it’s important to help make these deliveries arrive on time and undamaged. Whether you are a customer or a business, safe delivery is important to avoid disappointment on Christmas Day. In the run up to 25 December, it’s sometimes easy to forget about packaging and transportation requirements, but getting it right can be crucial to a successful delivery.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled some practical tips which can be followed, especially important if your parcel is travelling overseas:
• Tip 1: Choose a suitable box
Use a new, sturdy box that’s a few inches larger than your gift on all sides to allow for plenty of cushioning. If reusing a box, make sure it’s still strong enough to stand up to shipping (no torn flaps, no holes or corner dents, no water-damage, etc.) and be sure to remove all old shipping labels. This is important as leaving an old label on the box could cause confusion and result in your package being delayed.
• Tip 2: Cushioning is key
The shape of your gift is key to prudent packaging. Use packing peanuts, air sealed cushioning or firmly crumpled paper to fill hollow items, and “square off” any odd angles to protect your gift during shipment. Use at least one inch (preferably two inches) of cushioning around the item — top, bottom and all four sides. Top Tip: Use bubble wrap instead of newspaper, it is lighter and more protective.
• Tip 3: Consider doubling up
When you’ve got a particularly fragile item to ship, use two boxes to help your gift survives the journey unharmed. Cushion your item with at least three inches of cushioning material and seal it in a box. Place that box within a second, slightly larger box, with another layer of cushioning. All that padding is added protection for your fragile item.
• Tip 4: Label It Right
One of the best ways to help your package gets to its destination on time is with proper labeling. When using a FedEx shipping label or airway bill, be sure to fill it out completely and accurately. If using a pouch, ensure the peel-off strip has been removed and the flap is firmly sealed. Place labels or pouches on the largest surface of the box, avoiding corners, edges, and seams. Winter weather can streak or remove shipping labels - just in case, always put an extra shipping label, business card, or letterhead with the shipper and recipient’s address information inside your box, before sealing things up.
• Tip 5: Seal It Tight.
Bear in mind couriers have to deliver whatever the weather which means the final few yards from the van to the door also need to be considered! It’s important to make sure your box is sealed tight, to keep out rain, sleet and snow. Seal all the flaps and seams using proper packing tape, no duct tape or masking tape, please! Top Tip: Remember to make the shape of an “H” when taping seams to best protect your parcel.
• Tip 6: Send it in good time
If you want to help your gift make it under the tree in time, don’t wait until the last minute to send it — the sooner you send it, the better. This means ensuring you’re aware of the last delivery dates before Christmas, and ensuring you leave enough time for your parcels to be shipped.