Popular Mechanics tested 3 day shipping stress loads

Harlock

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Something I thought most people here would be interested in. In their latest issue (December 2010) Popular mechanics hid a data logging device from National Instruments that would gauge and record vibration, temperature, and orientation. The package was sent on 12 3-day trips from New York City to Santa Monica, CA to Austin, TX.

Some benchmarks: a moderate jostle registered as 2g's, and a 2.5 ft drop as 6g's.

The Results (If I had a scanner, or could find it on their site I'd link that):

USPS handled the package the gentlest, with an average of only 0.5 spikes over 6g's per trip. UPS-2 spikes average, and Fedex 3.

Orientation wise, USPS fared the worst, with an average of 12.5 changes, Fedex 7, UPS 4.

Temperatures always stayed between 47-80 degrees Fahrenheit, with Fedex having the least fluctuation by .79 degrees less shifts on average.

Marking the package as 'Fragile' or with 'This end up' ended with the packages received more abuse than normal.

If you want to read the full article, pick up the latest issue of the magazine, but I figured this would be some data to all give us an idea as to what happens to our packages in the mail.
 

zonbonzovi

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Marking the package as 'Fragile' or with 'This end up' ended with the packages received more abuse than normal.
I cringe every time I get a package with this written on it. I have relatives that work for shipping companies and this is an open invitation for the yahoos that work there to give your package a swift kick.
 

Alex G

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I cringe every time I get a package with this written on it. I have relatives that work for shipping companies and this is an open invitation for the yahoos that work there to give your package a swift kick.
Why??? The people sending the package haven't done anything to them. I don't purposely overcook people's food at my work when they ask for it lightly cooked, why would you intentionally damage another person's things?
 

Kathy

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That's terrible, I always write fragile, guess I won't do that anymore.
 

zonbonzovi

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Why??? The people sending the package haven't done anything to them. I don't purposely overcook people's food at my work when they ask for it lightly cooked, why would you intentionally damage another person's things?
Why do some humans commit to a number of senseless acts that the rest of us find despicable? My overly simplistic answer would probably have something to do with intelligence below the norm, primitive ideas about vengeance against an unknown specter(the man), overtime, frustration, etc.

In short, I don't know, Alex. They just do. I'm just suggesting that maybe marking your package 'fragile' is an invitation for unwanted attention.
 

Treynok

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I've worked at Fed ex ground for about a year while I was in college. I worked load, unload, and smalls. Basically every T would go through smalls sort which to get the job done at the pace were supposed to do would not be gentle on them at all. I've thought about this before but when I worked there I hadn't given this hobby a though and never thought of there being anything living in the packages. We've had packages blow open all the time when they get stuck on a belt or something they are pretty much toast. A package only ever got stuck from being incorrectly packed in the first place but still, you wouldn't believe the way some people ship things lol. Anyways what I am trying to say is that we were expected as a smalls sorter to sort 2200 packages an hour into metal bins that go in a circle around where you stand and they are about 7 feet tall. Each of these bins is another hub/region destination.

In my experience we never "abused" a package but at the same time writing anything on the box did not change anything about how it was handled. Every package was handled with the same amount of "care" and treated in the same way from my experiences. It really does nothing extra to put these things on a package but I suppose it could make it a "target" for some ignorant, immature person .

I don't know how USPS and UPS handles their packages as I only worked for Fed ex and I don't know what differs. I do know that a properly packaged T should be able to survive any of the companies as the vial, paper towel in the vial, and the material around the vial in the box all greatly reduce the shock but there is always a slight chance when shipping.
 
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aquaArachnid

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Every T I've gotten in the mail has been packed correctly, But still I worry about its safety while going through the shipping process because you never know what could happen.
 

curiousme

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We've had packages blow open all the time when they get stuck on a belt or something they are pretty much toast. A package only ever got stuck from being incorrectly packed in the first place but still, you wouldn't believe the way some people ship things lol.
Care to elaborate what incorrectly packed means, because my brain is thinking of absurd things and I am hoping the real version isn't........ How hard is it to pack a box?



After our last slings were sent in straws, I hope that is how we receive them from now on. We couldn't figure out a way they could have gotten hurt they were so snugly and efficiently packed.

This is an interesting study though, thank you for sharing!:D
 

CAK

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My post office knows me very well and they openly know what I ship and receive. I have had long conversations with some of the folks there and I did learn a couple of interesting facts on Express USPS versus Priority USPS.

Express is going to be handled by very few machines in the sorting process. Many of your packages are sorted, bundled and shipped via FedEx air to the next connection and then USPS gets them from there. Primarily human hands touch your package and because of the timing and the process to get your package there, there is very little idle time that your package just sits.

Priority mail is run through many machines and scanners and devices that kick your package around a lot more. There is also a much greater opportunity for connections and routes to get missed as they are under no real obligation to get your package by a certain time.

The other cool advantage (and I have used it a few times) is if your package show up later than the guaranteed delivery time, take your receipt and go back to the PO and they fill out a sheet and hand you all your money back.
 

LirvA

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Imo much shouldn't be put into these results. If PM simply tested the device one time per carrier, the results are basically useless. 3 tests is an incredibly tiny and insignificant sample size to try to determine for example which carrier was the most gentle and if marking fragile results in abuse.

They would need to test probably at least 50 times per carrier to have any sort of chance at ruling out variance.
 

Protectyaaaneck

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A friend of mine was a long time postal inspector and knows of stories where the sorters used to play catch and football with only the packages that were marked fragile. :)
 

2oCHEVYo0

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I'm guessing the reason fragile packages have it so bad is because there are alot of people in the shipping industry that hate there jobs... When they see a package labeled fragile, they tend to be more careless and may actually intentionally try to destroy it. I work in recieving of a store, and that is honestly just the way things go. People that work in our backroom, sometimes intentionally break things just to "Relieve some stress". One reason I like buying my little ones from locals and not from out of state.
 

BrettG

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Well,I was a Sup. at UPS for years,and here is my take...if it is Air cargo( which I dealt with,loading planes) most of the stuff is packed into huge cans,and then loaded onto the plane with a k loader. The rest ends up being packed by hand into the belly/bellies of the plane. Anything marked fragile is not even noticed by the ramp workers,honestly. They are on such a strict schedule to adhere to that they have NO time looking for anything other than Hazmats.The planes have to get out at certain times,or UPS catches fines for every minute that a plane goes "red"Inside the sorting facility is the same story. no one has time to notice fragile boxes,and those that DID,actually treated them with care,and packed them into cans accordingly.Yea there are horror stories out there,but this is how things went at the 2nd largest UPS hub in the country( Rockford Illinois)If you get a flat out crushed box,odds are it was packed by hand into a belly,where you JAM boxes into the smallest gaps to maximize the load.
 

Harlock

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Imo much shouldn't be put into these results. If PM simply tested the device one time per carrier, the results are basically useless. 3 tests is an incredibly tiny and insignificant sample size to try to determine for example which carrier was the most gentle and if marking fragile results in abuse.

They would need to test probably at least 50 times per carrier to have any sort of chance at ruling out variance.
They mention that it is too low of a sample to make major correlations, but it is still worth looking at (also 12 trips/3 carriers = 4 trips on each carrier)
 

Bill S

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Care to elaborate what incorrectly packed means, because my brain is thinking of absurd things and I am hoping the real version isn't........ How hard is it to pack a box?
I've seen some packing jobs that were amazingly bad. A guy in Africa once sent me some spearheads - big heavy iron Zulu spearheads. When the package arrived at the local post office it looked like a Zulu equivalent of a Swiss Army knife - blades sticking out from several directions. Don't know how it made it all the way to my post office without someone freaking out.

I've also seen some boxes full of breakables that arrived in ruins because the sender never thought of packing items so that they couldn't shift and move.
 

Treynok

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Care to elaborate what incorrectly packed means, because my brain is thinking of absurd things and I am hoping the real version isn't........ How hard is it to pack a box?

It's harder for some people apparently, some people try to ship heavy items just wrapped in paper. Some people re-use boxes which isn't a bad thing unless they are badly damaged before they are even shipped out. not constructing a box properly or taping it shut, you wouldn't believe the way some people ship things expecting them to reach their destination. It's not like they are loaded into a mail truck and they see only that one truck and no one else handles it until it gets to the destination. We got boxes not taped all kinds of things like that, you wouldn't believe how often it happens either.

I think that's why they started having places like the UPS store so that stuff like that is cut down on. I imagine it costs the shipping company a good bit of money. If something isn't outright destroyed when something like that happens they have to re-box it, pack it and label it, sometimes gather the stuff up because some boxes have thousands of items in them. Sometimes the belt or the machines can even get damaged. The belts running through the building move those packages at a pretty good speed.
 

AgentD006las

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Why??? The people sending the package haven't done anything to them. I don't purposely overcook people's food at my work when they ask for it lightly cooked, why would you intentionally damage another person's things?
"Rebel without a cause." Thats what comes to mind here. :p

"Those people put fragile on the box thinkin we dont know how to do our job?!?! Well show them!! {D"

Imo much shouldn't be put into these results. If PM simply tested the device one time per carrier, the results are basically useless. 3 tests is an incredibly tiny and insignificant sample size to try to determine for example which carrier was the most gentle and if marking fragile results in abuse.

They would need to test probably at least 50 times per carrier to have any sort of chance at ruling out variance.
The OP originaly worded it "The package was sent 12 times on 3 day trips." Were those the exact words in the article? To me it sounds like each package made 12 trips..
 
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LadySharon

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Care to elaborate what incorrectly packed means, because my brain is thinking of absurd things and I am hoping the real version isn't........ How hard is it to pack a box?



After our last slings were sent in straws, I hope that is how we receive them from now on. We couldn't figure out a way they could have gotten hurt they were so snugly and efficiently packed.

This is an interesting study though, thank you for sharing!:D
I looked and looked and looked, and can't find the thread. But at one point on this board people were sharing packing/shipping horrors. One person told a story about receiveing a MM in a beat up package, when they opened it the MM luckly was still alive - mad but still alive, and in fact he marched out of the packageing when she opened the outer box.

Inside? A jewlery box. Wood and glass - he must have been packed inside but the glass was broken so he got out of the inner box into the outer box. Lucky to be alive. I WISH I could find the thread - it was an :eek: story.

- Sharon
 

Protectyaaaneck

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I looked and looked and looked, and can't find the thread. But at one point on this board people were sharing packing/shipping horrors. One person told a story about receiveing a MM in a beat up package, when they opened it the MM luckly was still alive - mad but still alive, and in fact he marched out of the packageing when she opened the outer box.
Not to derail the thread but this is how one of my recent packages got to the intended recipient. All t's were alive and healthy even though the box was squashed. 7 slings in all. :)











Hopefully Rich doesn't mind me posting these.
 

Treynok

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That was a very well packed box, I wouldn't hesitate buying from you, anything less and that thing wouldn't have made it at all. That's kind of what I'm talking about but people use less sturdy boxes, no foam etc and that thing would have been disintegrated under the same conditions that packaging deserves a :clap:

That is a worst nightmare for someone receiving a package glad everything was okay.
 
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