shipping dimensions, padding, insurance...


I design, build and ship furniture. I am moving towards having the designs built in quantity overseas and I have a question about shipping.
The questions revolve around what I need to know about maximum box size of the carriers and insurance claims. I currently ship (fed-x, ups, whoever is cheapest) with a 1 1/2 inch styrofoam layer around the furniture. On the rare occasion that I file a claim, they have declined payment for improper packaging. I have since moved to no insurance, eating any damage myself.
1) What would a large retailer require for padding if they were to purchase these products and ship them from their own warehouse?
2) I have heard that the shippers are considering expanding the foam requirement to 3 inches all around. Is that true?
3) Is there any fudging in these dimensions.... in otherwords, do the large retailers get better service from the shippers because of the volume they deal with, and therefore not require such stringent padding?
Thanks so much for any help you might have, or to where I could read further on the topic.
Tor
http://www.musicalfurnishings.com
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The amount of packing is determined by the weight of the product, the fragility, and the environment it will be handled in.
UPS has testing labs to help you determine this.

See above. Perhaps another type of material is better for your particular needs. Polyurethane and polyethelyne foams have different characteristics, but cost more.

No, large shippers will be denied as fast as the small shipper. If it passes the UPS drop test, it will be certifed and claims paid.
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Thanks so much, I did not know that there was a weight consideration with the foam buffet amount. Looks like I will need to reseach further. I am trying to get to a maximum size so I can begin redesigning these products. It appears as though I am in a bit of a bind, how do I test the products if I don't know how big t make them. I am trying to make them as big as possible, as every inch counts.
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You have other considerations with size. Shipping UPS, you have certain dimensions to work with. Go above them, you pay extra for shipping. There are three categories of Oversize.
As for testing, you have to come up with a size, put a pack around it, then test. If you are buying from overseas, you may also want to consider the dimensions to fit inside of a container with no wasted space.
You also have to consider fragility. I worked with a computer company to come up with a package for their unit. They had a lot of damage in shipping and we came up with a $20 pack that worked. But, by adding a 5 screw to an internal power pack, they eliminated the source for damage and then only needed a $5 pack to do the job.
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That is excellent info, thanks so much. The product (a coffee table) is selling for around $500 bucks and I am trying to keep the shipping within the 130 inches oversize. It will ship in three packages, the legs, the table rim/apron, and the surface insert. It is the table rim that is huge (36 x 36 x 4.5) but it is very light and tough. It sounds like if I can get it to pass some tests, that I could perhaps get it done with less than 2 inches of padding, where I initially thought it was a set foam cushion of 2 inches. This is hopeful, as I do not want my table to get much smaller.
Tor
ps, thats quite a story with the screw, $15 saving is tons of money. http://www.musicalfurnishings.com
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How much did it cost to come up with the 5 screw solution?
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A few people came up with the idea, but some moron that did the original design insisted it would take too long to assemble compared to his system. Just a lack of common sense and empire building on his part.
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