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20 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Designing the Perfect Shipping Solution - Robinson Industries

Plastics are a part of the Robinson family DNA. My childhood was spent playing with my cousins in and around our factory (before our current strict MIOSHA regulations, of course) and listening to family members discuss projects and business over holiday dinners. By the age of 11, I was “helping” my grandparents in the office.

Because I grew up around the family business, I am familiar with a number of important questions to ask when designing custom, reusable plastic dunnage.

Here are 20 to get you started:

  1. Will this tray be handled manually or robotically?
  2. Will the packs be transported by rail, truck, ship or air?
  3. How large is the work space in the warehouse, factory or store where the tray will be used?
  4. Will the trays be stacked on a pallet, in a knockdown, as part of a rack or maybe in totes?
  5. If using a pallet, how will the pallet/tray pack be secured? (We offer seatbelts to replace banding or shrink wrapping.)
  6. Will the pallet be transported via forklift? If so, how long are the forks and does it need to be two-way or four-way accessible?
  7. How much weight will there be in each tray and on each pallet?
  8. How high will the pack be stacked in the truck or in the warehouse?
  9. Will the tray travel down a belted or roller conveyor?
  10. Does the pack need to be a certain color? Many trays look alike. Colors and stripes can be used for trademark branding or as visual aids on a directional or rotate-to-stack design.
  11. Are there sensitive areas on the parts being packaged that need to be protected or avoided?
  12. How many parts will be packaged per tray, per layer and per entire pack?
  13. Can the parts being packaged withstand weight, or should the weight be distributed throughout the trays?
  14. Do the sides of the trays need to be enclosed for dust protection?
  15. How clean do the parts being packaged need to be upon arrival? For example, transmission components need to be free of plastic shavings. Urethane inserts can be used in the trays to prevent the sharp edges from shaving the plastic.
  16. What kind of heat and cold will the pack be exposed to?
  17. What kind of labeling is needed and what information is required?
  18. What material will work best for the trays and pallets? (We offer HDPE, PP and ABS.)
  19. Would a blend of recycled material help reduce costs? A 50/50 blend can save money, yet still be strong.
  20. Will the shipping system be RFID traceable? If so, a space for RFID must be designed into the trays and pallets.

Considering these 20 questions ahead of time will not only help us design the best custom shipping solution for you – but will provide you with a packing solution that meets your specific needs.

So ... ”Why Wood You” start the design process without thinking about these 20 questions first?


Ronda Robinson Ronda Robinson Marketing Manager

The granddaughter of company founders Fred and Ardis Robinson, Ronda Robinson is committed to growing the family business. An employee since 1981, Ronda began her career at Robinson Industries in sales and now works as the company’s marketing manager. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in labor and industrial relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.