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How to Minimize Shipment Damage With Metal Prices Still Sky High

With e-commerce sales at an all-time high and the price of shipping materials quickly rising, companies are at a crossroads when it comes to delivering packages and avoiding damaged freight.

Executive Summary:

  • In 2020, e-commerce hit an all-time high. At the same time, logistics and supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic sent materials prices skyrocketing.
  • As a result, the cost for replacing metal items damaged during shipping and manufacturing has gone through the roof.
  • For manufacturers looking to protect their bottom line, adequate protection is more important than ever.
  • Pregis works with metals manufacturers to design films that are specific to each application. This takes into account the material, finish, transportation, storage concerns (like exposure to the elements,) manufacturing process, how long each film will need to be applied for, and who will be removing it.

In 2020, e-commerce hit an all-time high. At the same time, logistics and supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic sent materials prices skyrocketing. As a result, the cost for replacing metal items damaged during shipping and manufacturing has gone through the roof. For manufacturers looking to protect their bottom line, adequate protection is more important than ever.

 

The Rising Costs of Metals

The source of the metal price hike comes from supply chain disruptions and low inventory while demand remains steady or, in some cases, increasing.

Some materials, like hot-rolled coil used for vehicle frames, were clocking in at $1,320/st— a price not seen since the Great Depression. Steel distribution has been disrupted to the point where some companies are unable to complete in-house operations.

Aluminum, which is used for everything from license plates and laptops, has also been the source of a huge shortage, and with so many industries trying to get some of the material, this shortage may continue long after the pandemic is over.

 

Protecting Metals Poses Big Problems

Protecting this increasingly valuable commodity is challenging. Metals are complex materials that pass through a long supply chain before ending up in customers’ hands. There is a lot of opportunity for damage between the initial supplier, secondary suppliers who may add coatings or otherwise modify the metal sheets, then to manufacturers, retailers and distributors, and finally consumers.

Each step along the way, each set of hands that touches the product or material, and each process adds opportunities for damage. It only takes one loose piece of scrap to dent, scratch, or otherwise mar a new sheet.

Added challenges come from the sheer variety of ways metal sheeting and other raw materials are used and the overall finish on the metal sheets. A highly polished panel that will be bent into shape has far different protection requirements than a matte brushed sheet that will be laser-cut or heat-formed or stamped or punched. And that’s without getting into the wide variety of alloys and metals, each with unique adhesion and damage-resistance properties.

 

Unique Solutions for Unique Challenges

So the challenge is clear: Metal prices are quickly rising, their supply chains are long and complex, and there is a huge range in manufacturing processes and metal properties. Each product has unique needs and characteristics, and the solution needs to be perfectly tailored to address them.

Pregis works with metals manufacturers to design films that are specific to each application. This takes into account the material, finish, transportation, and storage concerns (like exposure to the elements,) manufacturing process, and how long each film will need to be applied for, and who will be removing it.

These considerations can affect the thickness of the film, its composition, and its adhesion properties. All are tested thoroughly during the design phase to ensure that the final application provides maximum protection from damage while minimizing direct costs and indirect costs like time spent removing films between steps. For instance, Pregis PolyMask® films, including water, and solvent-based protective film solutions, protect the bottom line by making sure metal surfaces arrive intact and unblemished to both retailers and consumers. Great care is also taken to ensure the adhesive used does not remain on the surface once removed, metal or otherwise.

There are numerous Pregis PolyMask solutions for both coated and uncoated metals. Coated metals like roofing panels need to be protected through fabrication, assembly, storage, and shipment. Pregis’ portfolio of PolyMask protective films has solutions for every type of coated metal. Manufacturers and distributors can choose from films that provide extra oil and water resistance, or from those that can better adhere to high-gloss paint, among others.

Pregis PolyMask films can provide protection to uncoated metals, too. For instance, those with diamond plate or textured surfaces should use films that can prevent damage to a mirrored or bright annealed surface. With a variety of thickness, adhesive type, and abrasion resistance, Pregis PolyMask offers protection at every stage of production.

 

Why Protective Packaging for Metals Is Critical

For manufacturers, the bottom line is that Pregis film products provide peace of mind that their products are protected from start to finish. A stray piece of metal or an unexpected rainstorm won’t result in hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. Keeping products intact in the factory and during transport improves their overall sustainability as well. Fewer reships translate to less energy and resources needed to fulfill the same order.

Steel, aluminum, and other metals are in short supply and breaking price records around the world. That’s unlikely to change significantly in the short term, even while companies and governments work to shore up supply. And even when prices stabilize and begin coming down, providing the right protection ensures that costs stay low and customer satisfaction stays high.

It’s impossible to prevent all potential damage during manufacturing and shipping, but Pregis films help metals manufacturers get as close as they can.

 

Learn more about how protective films can help your organization.