Corporate
01/07/2019

Wine Distributor Finds an Out-of-the-Box Shipping Solution

Chose Traxens smart solutions to quickly and cost-effectively remediate packaging damage

The Challenge

  • Replace packaging damaged by high humidity and heat before delivery to customer
  • Gain better insight to preempt damage along shipping route
  • Reduce costs of printing and shipping last-minute box orders

The Solution

  • Traxens Smart Containers and data analysis

The Results

  • Pinpointed exact causes and locations of damaged packaging
  • Improved box production efficiency with data-driven insight
  • Avoided rush charges and delivery delays while remediating damaged boxes

Maintaining Packaging Strength

Although the vast majority of beverages are bottled in plastic, products like wine, beer, and spirits simply maintain their quality and taste better in glass bottles. A wine importer and distributor ships cases of wine to customers around the world. Cases are stacked and shrink wrapped to create a pallet prior to being containerized and sent via truck to the port. 

On the journey from the original winery to destination retail shops, wine boxes can suffer damage from heat or humidity. Up to 40% of cardboard box strength can be lost in the first 30 days of storage. Boxes can become up to 71% weaker in 95% humidity versus 50% humidity. High moisture levels also can soften adhesives and cause boxes to fall apart. At the other extreme, heat can reduce a box's moisture content, making it brittle and susceptible to tearing1

Weakened boxes also can create malfunctions in automated handling equipment. Damaged boxes must be moved manually, which adds cost and takes more time. There was always the risk of broken bottles and spilled wine if a box completely failed.

Monitoring Humidity and Averting Damage

The distributor decided to ship a portion of its products using Traxens smart containers with humidity and temperature monitoring. This test would provide better insight into humidity levels across the distributor's supply chain and enable it to pinpoint specific problem areas. Traxens monitored containers from the distributor's warehouse to the final delivery destination, continuously recording temperatures and humidity levels throughout the journey.

Traxens smart devices automatically sent location, time, temperature, and humidity data over global cell and satellite links to the cloud-based Traxens hub for analysis and reporting. The distributor logged into the Traxens platform from his smartphone daily to check progress. 

Pinpointing Problems

It quickly became clear that most packaging failures occurred on routes that routinely encountered high moisture levels on land—during truck transport to and from port. With data from each pallet at every point in the journey, the distributor now had specific information needed for taking preventive measures.

New Boxes, No Losses

Traxens data enabled the distributor to quickly compare options for changing the type of packaging used or replacing damaged boxes. The most cost-effective solution was to reorder boxes from the packaging vendor and have them drop-shipped to the receiving terminal, where only the damaged boxes would be replaced. 

Stronger Supply Chain Relationships

Traxens data also enabled the distributor and packaging vendor to collaborate more closely. Knowing that a certain percentage of boxes would be replaced, the vendor slightly increased the volume of boxes manufactured during packaging production runs. Extra boxes were held onsite, ready to be shipped when needed. Adding more boxes to a production run delivered a lower cost per box for the distributor, avoided rush charges, and expedited box delivery. Boxes arrived when and where needed so that contents could quickly be transferred and deliveries made on time.

With Traxens, everyone won. The distributor maintained packaging quality cost-effectively, the box vendor avoided rush jobs, and wine retailers received their shipments with the level of quality they expect.

1Temperature and Humidity, Package Engineering datasheet, UPS
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