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clerks are sometimes careless, and may sometimes even be disposed to make affidavits a little freely as to goods which they are credited as having packed into certain cases. This at least, was true when the writer in his cub days served in this department of a factory. He is afraid that he and his fellow shipping clerks may perhaps sometimes have sworn to having packed goods which customers declared were missing on arrival when accident ultimately discovered the self-same goods still in stock at the factory.

How peculiarly irritating such an occurrence is to foreign exporters can hardly be realized by Americans who have not had business experience thousands of miles away, or on the other side of the globe. On one occasion the writer was engaged in business in a foreign country, and personally saw unpacked a case of goods from an American manufacturer of tools, when a dozen of a certain article invoiced by the manufacturer was found to be missing. The case was absolutely full, and repacking the same goods in the same case and in the same manner left not a spare inch of room into which the missing gouds could have been placed.

A claim transmitted to the manufacturer resulted in the usual affidavit that the goods had been packed and shipped. This was not all. The manufacturer went out of his way to insinuate first, that the missing goods had been stolen in transit and, second, and more injudicially, to insinuate dishonesty on the part of the consignee himself. That is to say, on the part of the consignee's employee. The manufacturer, naturally enough, never received a repeat order. In the writer's opinion it would have been far wiser for a manufacturer to have replace the missing dozen, or credited its value, no matter how thoroly convinced that he had actually shipped the goods.


A problem of the utmost importance is that of space, particularly in transportation by water. Rates are computed on a weight or a measurement basis, according to which yields the greatest revenue. Practically all merchandise is taken on the measurement basis, and the use of needlessly bulky containers results in a direct loss.

It is the function of the traffic department in such cases to make a survey or analysis of the firm's output, and to determine the most economical style of packing. In fixing the standard to be employed, the safety of the goods should be of paramount importance. If a customer, for example, purchases a saw, and if it be shipped loose, unprotected by packing, and consequently is so damaged as to be unusable, the purchaser would be more inclined to censure the shipper than the carrier.

On the other hand, if the saw could be affixed to a stout board, it would be sufficiently protected to withstand the ordinary hazards of transportation, and the customer, assuming him to be liable for the freight charges, would be called upon to pay a transportation bill materially less than if a box were employed. Moreover, the industry would save money, because a board costs much less than a box.

The packers should be provided with a complete invoice of the order, indicating the various items that comprise the shipment. This list should be carefully checked with the actual goods received from the order pickers, and any discrepancy should be verified before the packing is undertaken.

After the goods are packed, the packer should be required to insert a slip, indicating that the goods were packed by a designated packer (numerals may be used to indicate individuals). Thus any subsequent contention as to what was or what was not in the package, or any question as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the packing, may be taken up with the employee at fault.

These, however, are details which will have to be worked out to fit special cases. Often a satisfactory system can be evolved only after long observation of various shipments to determine what type of packing is the most satisfactory.


Freight and express rates are sometimes lower on boxed or on crated articles, and sometimes no lower. For example, castings, forgings, and parts of agricultural implements enjoy the same rates loose as boxed, because they are practically unbreakable under ordinary transportation conditions. The cost of packing may therefore be eliminated or greatly reduced by shipping in bundles or burlap sacks.

Standardized Packing Instructions

For the guidance of packers, and for shipping room employees in general, the traffic department should prepare a chart, indicating the various items that are handled by the industry, the ratings applying on these articles under the various classifications, and the packing specifications that are to be observed.

If the classification provides that a shipment must be made in a box, and if it is shipped in some other form, a heavy penalty attaches. In such a case, if a crate is used, the customary classification provision is that the next higher class rating applies; in some instances this may mean an added cost of $1.50 or more, which, in all probability, more than offsets the saving effected by the use of the less expensive crate.

Sorting Shipments

Where a large shipment consists of miscellaneous items, goods should be sorted according to the rating assigned to their classification. That is, all goods falling in the first class should be assembled in one lot, all goods falling in the second, third, and fourth classes should be assembled in corresponding lots, and separate containers should be provided for each lot. The industry and its patrons will then be sure to get the benefit of the lower rate for the lower classes. If goods belonging to different classifications are shipped in one package, the charge is assessed on the total weight, at the rate for the highest rated article contained in the package.


Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan, rivals for the trade supremacy of the world, have long specialized in efficient packing methods and the development of damage-proof containers. A visit to any one of our seaports, where containers which are made in America can be compared with those which are made abroad, is sufficient to convince our captains of industry that we must make giant strides in this direction if we are to share the world's trade after the war ends.

This general complaint is perhaps not so true of the specialized or one-line industry. For example, we ship canned goods, or any commodity that lends itself to a very compact and condensed form of pack

ing, with some success, tho in this case, too, the ironstrapped or wire-strapped case employed by foreign shipping interests has proved better.

Conserving Space

Complaints arise chiefly from inefficient methods employed in packing shipments comprising a variety of articles ranging, for example, from anvil to curling iron, with hosier, foodstuffs, and ostrich plumes as part lots. In a great many cases little or no attention is paid to the strength of the outside container, nor to the efficient utilization of the space within. Consul General J. A. Britton, Sidney, New South Wales, reiterates a complaint of long standing. He says:

In speaking of strapping cases of merchandise for export, the Sidney Chamber of Commerce says in some instances the cases are found with wire one way only, the wire running with the boards, securing one board and leaving others unpro. tected. It is suggested that the cases be bound both ways, that is to say, at right angles to the line of the board and another band of wire running with the boards and thus insure a better safeguard against pillaging.

The question of pillaging at the Sidney wharves is a very serious one. It is alleged that the annual loss from this cause at the wharves and in transit amounts to $500,000.

Owing to the constant advance in freight rates, many importers here have called attention to the necessity of conserving all space in packing various kinds of merchandise. In certain instances, it is claimed that a saving of ten to thirty per cent in space can be effected thru closer packing. This applies not only to the packing of the merchandise in cases too large for the contents, but equally as well to the pasteboard boxes containing merchandise. It is said there is frequently twenty

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