Friday, June 15, 2012

Crating - It's Important

It doesn't matter how fabulous a wood door manufacturer is if, during transit, one or more doors are damaged.  All the hard work from getting the door swings correct, reviewing the acknowledgement & having the doors ship on time go out the window with door damage.  Since wood doors are typically one of the last items to be installed on a job it can cause a real issue on a jobsite.  

We have a system here that as soon as a truck pulls up and the guys in the shop realize  wood doors are being delivered they come and get me.  It doesn't matter what I am doing I grab my iPhone (w/camera) and head outside.   We off load via forklift and I watch every single move.  After the forklift has picked up the door load and it has cleared the truck the crate is raised so I can see underneath. In this case the door manufacturer put two sheets of thick cardboard between the pallet and the finished door not hardboard and this is what often happens.

Material can be loaded and unloaded 4-5 times between the time it leaves the door manufacturer and arrives in my shop.  Speed not care is often the driving motion with freight companies.  As you can see the cardboard didn't stop a forklift tine from putting a nice big scrape in the door.  This damage was done at some point along the travel route.  The customer for this particular order paid extra for a 3 day quick ship so he wasn't happy when I called to inform him the door came in damaged.  Before I placed that call I had already talked to the door manufacturer and sent pictures.  A replacement door was in the works but, in my opinion, we failed the customer.

I had had several freight damage issues with this door manufacturer over the past several months and it was agreed upon that a note would be attached to my account so that every quote included an extra crating charge to prevent damage.   Because of this I had been documenting each delivery with photos and even a video of unwrapping a single crated door.   

I typically work with smaller manufacturers that provide great products and even better customer service.  At this point I was very frustrated that no hardboard was being used and expressed this to my inside sales rep. on several occasions.  I have a 2nd door manufacturer whose doors were not getting damaged in transit and was seriously considering my options.  This is what their crating looked like.

You can see the hardboard used on top and there was also a piece on the bottom.  The sides are fully crated - not cardboard corners and stretch wrap.  This is a good crate and what I expect from all my wood door manufacturers. 

I have to say my inside sales rep. came through for me.  She took all my emails, pictures and the video to management and kept the conversation going.  To their credit after much discussion within the company the president emailed me apologizing and thanking me for my input and documentation.  Their policies and crating have changed and so far (knocking on wood doors) I haven't received anymore damaged doors. 

As a lead lined wood door manufacturer we also ship out wood doors and my Production Manager gave me a tip: don't use nails to build a pallet use screws.  Because of the rise and fall of a trailer through the course of travel a pallet made with nails can come loose and separate.  That won't happen with screws.

Of course this is just my take if you have further suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Your post provided a lot of insight, Ginny. Occasionally I have experienced similar frustrations when damaged tiles arrive on freight shipments for my customers. There is nothing more discouraging than hearing a customer finds damaged tiles after waiting six to eight weeks for a custom design and they can't finish their job. Kudos for taking steps to help mitigate those problems that are outside our control directly! Great ideas for anybody that stands to have a tarnished reputation from careless freight handling.

  2. Thanks Bill for reading and commenting. I imagine tiles are very fragile during transit!

  3. Are you thinking about posting more? I like this blog.

  4. Thank you Soffit Installation for asking. Yes I am - been tied up with a few projects but will get back to it soon. I do value your support and a post should be up before weeks end.