Here in the UK, we all love summer until it gets unbearably hot. It’s the best chance we’ve got each year to enjoy some proper sunshine and maybe even experience some Mediterranean-esque temperatures. But as this summer gets into full swing, additional challenges are presented for companies that ship perishable goods.
For businesses, ensuring perishable items successfully withstand hot temperatures during shipping is the key to keeping their loyal customers happy every summer.
With that in mind, follow these steps to help protect your perishables during shipping in hot months:
1. Choose a shipping company with perishable experience
First and foremost, you should look to partner with a company that has experience in shipping perishable items like the ones you are sending. That’s because no matter how well you package your goods - and how much care you take to ensure they are able to withstand hot temperatures - a carrier that’s ill-equipped to handle them, or cannot guarantee timescales, could result in all your careful preparations being for nothing.
Look for a shipping company with expertise, guarantees and a good reputation for dealing with perishables. This is particularly important if you are shipping specialised items like pharmaceuticals and other medical goods.
2. Pick the right day to ship
Items sent on Thursdays and Fridays sometimes run the risk of being left sat in a shipper’s facility over the weekend, which can lead to your perishable items perishing. That’s why it’s always best to ship perishables at the beginning of the week.
A great way to manage the expectations of your customers is to advise them that any orders placed after Thursday won’t be shipped until Monday morning. Be sure to explain why you do this and your customers will come to regard you as a company that really cares.
3. Choose the most appropriate packaging for the job
To keep your perishables at a consistent temperature, you have to keep the heat out and the coolness in. It all comes down to refrigeration and insulation.
While corrugated boxes are excellent for protecting items during shipping, they usually lack the required insulation perishables demand. Moreover, if anything leaks or melts during shipping, corrugated boxes can turn soggy and lose their protective properties.
That’s why it’s always best to use the most appropriate packaging for the job in hand.
Thermal liners, foam insulation and thermal bubble wrap can all help insulate perishables during shipping, while watertight plastic will ensure products that thaw or leak won’t make a mess and damage the packaging they are in.
4. Choose an appropriate coolant
Traditional ice, dry ice and frozen gel packs are the three main options for keeping perishables cool while they are being shipped. However, they all have limitations.
Traditional ice is heavy and will melt if the insulation of the packaging isn’t good enough. Gel packs are often not enough to keep goods frozen, become damp as they thaw and don’t boast the longevity of dry ice. Dry ice, however, does have safety risks. It can burn skin if handled incorrectly and releases carbon dioxide, which must be allowed to escape or the whole package could explode! Dry ice should also never come into direct contact with food items.
5. Label as perishable and time sensitive
Use labels to tell whoever is handling your packages that the contents are perishable and time sensitive. It may just be enough to ensure your package gets the attention it deserves and is dealt with as efficiently as possible.
Another consideration is that dry ice requires packaging to be specially labelled and sometimes come with specific shipping restrictions. This is something your shipping partner should be able to advise you about further.
6. Consider using a temperature-monitoring device
Temperature-monitoring devices do exactly as their name suggests: they monitor temperatures. Placing one (or more) inside a package can help you track its temperature throughout its entire journey. This allows you to guarantee that the goods inside haven’t been exposed to extreme heat or cold during shipping/storage.
Some shipping companies can actually provide temperature monitoring during shipment, so it’s worth checking beforehand.
The key to protecting perishables during summer shipping is really all about the packaging, insulation and refrigeration methods you use. Contact Direct Packaging Solutions today and find out how we can help you ensure your products are delivered safely whilst retaining all their original glory.