Somewhere in your business model is a chapter on how to ship your product. You've already determined that your product is either too heavy, too large, or too fragile to rely on the trusty old cardboard box. The question is now, how to choose quality wood crates? Deciding on which crate to use to ship your product to your customers so that it arrives undamaged is an important decision not to be left to the bean counters in the back room.
There are many wooden shipping crate suppliers out there vying for your business. Here are a few tips to help you through the process of how to choose quality wooden crates from a manufacturer to suit your shipping needs:
'Kevin's Crates' may sound like a crate company near me that specializes in creating wooden crates, but what do you know about Kevin? How long has he been in the crate business? Can he handle the volume of crates you need on a weekly basis, or does he order from another supplier and re-sell to you? Do your homework and make a few calls before deciding on a crate maker, and don't sign a volume buying agreement before you see a sample of their work.
If you buy crates in volume, will you have enough space in your warehouse to store them all? Stacking them outside until needed in some areas of the country is just not an option. 'Assembly Required' may sound like extra labor on your part, but crates that arrive broken down and ready to assemble will take up less room in your warehouse. Also, it will give your shipping department something to do during down-time.
If your product is relatively small, and you do have the storage capacity, then stocking a supply of ready-to-use crates can be a viable option for you.
Take a look at the materials used in the wood crate you are considering. Is the wood free of knots and blemishes? Are the sides loose, or firmly attached to the corners and braces? Did the builder use thin metal staples to tack the components together? Steel screws, bolts and ring-shank nails mark a quality wood crate that won't loosen up during the rigors of shipment. Kiln dried, and preferably chemically treated or painted wood, are preferred over inferior grades of untreated lumber sheathing and framing.
Quality wood crates that have steel reinforced corners and a durable lower assembly can be reused over and over again. Consider charging a deposit on your shipping crates, it may save you from having to purchase new shipping stock in the future.
Look for a supplier that gets their materials from local, sustainable sources. Crate suppliers that do not have to import their materials may have lower overhead, and pass their savings down to their customers. Advertising that your shipping crates are made in the U.S.A. can be the deciding factor in whether or not a buyer chooses your products.
You could ask for a sample to be shipped to your office, or schedule a factory tour to see for yourself if the crate maker takes pride in their product, and produces a quality wood crate.
The International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 requires that all shipping crates that are used to transport goods overseas be treated against insects and diseases. If you plan on international sales, make sure your crates meet these requirements.
The same applies for MIL-STD packaging and shipping crates. If your product needs extra protection, and the price point/profit margin allows, you can't do much better than MIL-STD standard wood crates to ensure safe delivery of your product to your customers.
If you only plan on shipping within your own country, save the extra money spent on crates that meet these standards.
Before going on a buying spree, or interviewing potential wooden crate suppliers, you should educate yourself on the terminology of wooden crates. That way, when the salesman from Kevin's Crates talks about an unsupported span, a batten cleat or the lower assembly, it won't sound Greek to you.
If you don't understand just what you are ordering, the quality of the wooden crate doesn't matter if it doesn't suit your needs. Contact EWC with any questions you might have because we aim to be a good source of quality wood crates.