One size doesn’t fit all – in clothing – or in shipping crates. The one-size-fits-all concept was developed in the garment industry in the 1970’s. By the 1990’s those that didn’t fit the norm began to push back and demand clothing tailored to fit the wider variety of people shapes and sizes. In today’s world, that wording has changed to one-size-fits-most and we all know that doesn’t work with anything but disposable gloves (kind of). This certainly wouldn’t apply to a custom crate.
It doesn’t work in the shipping crate world either. There are a few stock options available to purchase online for a basic container in a set of standard sizes. These may work in an emergency or a one-off situation but are certainly not ideal for even companies using a small amount of crates per month. Just like the rubber gloves, they kind of fit, but not really. Something will be off, whether it is in the form or the fit and the function will likely be compromised.
A custom crate is the better choice for optimizing and protecting your shipments. In this blog, we will identify the steps to optimizing your crates in terms of form, fit, and function and conclude with the premise that Ecorrcrate is the better custom crate compared to all other options available.
Optimize Your Custom Crate’s Form
In most cases the outside form of a custom crate is a square or rectangle. It has to be that way to optimize the strength of the container and would be too costly otherwise. On the other hand, The issue is that the your product may not be in a simple square or rectangle form. You simply start by choosing the size that will accommodate your part.
- Start with the square/rectangular format. Determine the length, width and height that will accommodate your part with a little room around it, we suggest a minimum of 2” from the inside of the walls and ends, and 2” from the inside top of the crate. With products that require shock absorption, consider the amount of room needed for underneath the part and add that in to the height needed.
- Determine the best material for the outside of the crate. You will want the outer layers to meet your in-house demands, (stackable, easy to move around, sustainable, etc) and your transportation demands. We typically recommend that a shipping crate have a minimum stacking strength of 2000 lbs.
- Optimize the base of the crate. Do you need to access all four directions with a forklift or a pallet jack? You want handling to be easy but must balance that with the right cost, since a 4-way access base does cost more than a 2-way access base.
Now let’s add other packaging necessary to secure the product inside of the crate. This may be as simple as some brackets that are screwed into the bottom base or may be as complicated as a custom fit, engineered packaging foam solution.
If your product is relatively square or rectangular, you may be able to simply secure it inside of the crate. In custom wood crates, additional lumber is often used to secure a product in place. However, this additional lumber adds quite a bit of shipping weight so you will want to limit its use to the bare minimum needed.
If your product is odd shaped, then all of the previous options apply but you may have to apply additional materials for the product to remain immobilized throughout the ship cycle. Often, packaging foam is used in addition to lumber but foam is not a renewable resource or easily recycled, so most companies want to limit its use as well.
We will review better options to secure the product below.
The function of your shipping crate is an important consideration. The best custom crate will be optimal for both you and your customer.
- Ask yourself, how easy is it to load my product into the crate? If it is easy for you to load, then it will likely be easy for your customer to unload, and the opposite is also true.
- Ask yourself, how easy is it to close the crate and secure it for shipment? Again, if it takes a long time to screw the lid onto the crate, or there are difficult latches or other hardware, then your customer is likely experiencing the same frustrations.
- Consider disposal. Wood crates are not recyclable, so the only solution is for your customer to break them up and throw the pieces in the dumpster. Although the parts of plastic crates are technically recyclable, the focus is on their reusability not their end-of-use disposal. Since it is very difficult to find a place to recycle them, most also end up in the dumpster.
Consider the End User
This final issue of disposal is one of the most difficult to overcome, but to truly optimize your custom crate, the need for a sustainable crate is crucial. The only sustainable custom crate to hit the market in recent times is Ecorrcrate.
Ecorrcrate is a revolutionary, patented, fully functional shipping crate that is sustainable. Both the crate and any internal packaging made from renewable Ecorrboard are easily recycled. Simply place the pieces in your standard corrugated / paper recycle stream.
Other Benefits of Custom Crates
So, are there other ways that Ecorrcrate gives you the best custom crate in terms of form, fit and function?
Yes there are!
The form of the Ecorrcrate is nearly identical to any other custom crate but the Ecorrcrate materials have proven to better protect product than those used in other standard shipping crates. Ecorrcrates are stackable, easy to move around, and arrive in a compact, knockdown format. The minimum transport stacking strength of our lightest Ecorrcrate is typically 2500 lbs+.
Considering a change to Ecorrcrate often results in more creative thinking in terms of the most efficient fit of the product. It is not uncommon to only use a couple of strategically placed straps inside of the crate to secure the product. Where a more robust solution is required, sustainable Ecorrboard can often replace the use of lumber and foam for blocking, bracing, and securing odd-shaped products for their trip through the rigors of the supply chain.
The function of the Ecorrcrate is where this revolutionary custom crate really stands apart. The Ecorrcrate is the most optimal for product loading. The product can be loaded on the Ecorrcrate base prior to constructing the walls of the Ecorrcrate or the Ecorrcrate can be set up first and then the product can be loaded. Finish by capping with the reinforced top and strap closed. There is nothing easier than that.
Finally, whether you receive a product in the Ecorrcrate or ship your product to your customer in an Ecorrcrate, it is optimized for sustainability. Every Ecorrcrate custom crate is made from renewable resources, are reusable and are easily recycled.
Our customers consistently report that Ecorrcrates are designed in optimal form, fit, and function and are excited to tell us that it is the better custom crate compared to their previous choices.
Want to right-size your shipping crates? Contact us now to start on your project.