It happens all too often, and it did again last week. We received a set of gage blocks for calibration and upon opening the packaging, found the case in pieces. The blocks were all over the place. This set probably cost the customer close to $1,000 and for want of proper packaging, it could have become a box of precision paperweights.
When we report receiving gages or instruments that are damaged, the first reaction from customers is to blame us for dropping them. When things settle down and we explain the details, most customers realize that we probably didn’t drop their treasures on the floor. But the question remains: What went wrong?
In the absence of forklift truck tire marks on the box, the problem is usually caused by inadequate packaging on the customer’s part. What’s adequate? A large courier company representative once told me that packaging should be able to withstand a drop of 30 feet or more onto a concrete floor. This was due to multi-tiered conveyor systems at their distribution centers where boxes are not always neatly placed.
One way around this problem is to hand-deliver critical items to the laboratory for calibration. Next best would be a direct courier: one that goes from your facility directly to the laboratory. For most folks, these are not practical options, therefore regular couriers or trucks are used.
If your company is shipping instruments or other fragile products on a regular basis, your shipper will know how to package your gages or instruments properly. If this is not the case, a box of thread plug gages will look like a box of shiny bolts and be treated accordingly. The best way to prevent problems is for someone in the quality department to prepackage items. Here are some tips that may help you.
If in doubt, get someone who uses these items to keep an eye on the packing to be safe.