When you order a book and it arrives at your home, office, or warehouse, there's nothing like that moment when you pop open the box, open the book’s cover, and smell that new-book smell.
We rarely consider all that happens between that moment and a book’s printing, but many steps and dedicated people are involved in the packing and shipping process.
Consider, for example, the many details that must be taken into account by Bill Fierro, Logistics Supervisor at Sheridan Books. His job is to make sure your order is optimally packed and shipped to arrive in prime condition, on time, at its destination. "We ship many different sizes and types of books, so we're set up to accommodate any request. No matter what our customers need, we can handle it. We just need to know their requirements."
To ensure an exact fit for safest transport, Sheridan’s planning department reviews each job to ensure the correct cartons are chosen to provide optimum handling during transportation.
Factors to consider when choosing the perfect packing for each project include:
- Destination and shipping distance
Large shipments versus small package deliveries
Whether there will be drop shipments
Type and requirements of the destination distribution center
"Publishers have so many different types of distribution centers they use, and certain distribution centers may only take a certain type of packing," explains Fierro.
Every book in perfect condition
Factoring in the distribution center requirements is just one of many considerations for selecting the right packing to avoid damage and ensure every book arrives in perfect condition.
At the Chelsea, Michigan production and packing facility, Sheridan stocks 50 different types of cartons. Such a large inventory is maintained to ensure a snug fit for any size or quantity. If they need a carton that's not in stock, they simply special order whatever is required.
All cartons are 275# ECT — an industry measurement of strength. To avoid even minor shifting, corrugated pads can be placed on the top and sides of carton interiors. And slip-sheets and individual shrink-wrapping can be used as an additional measure to protect covers.
Even the size of the shipment makes a difference. Small shipments that will be individually handled by UPS or FedEx require additional thought, says Fierro. "If you're shipping books from Michigan to California via FedEx, for example, you should definitely use a double-walled carton. Paying the extra cost for a double-walled carton is worthwhile because small parcel shipments will not be as balanced as uniform cartons in a truckload — and they are handled more."
To strike a balance between the best possible carrier customer service and price, Sheridan negotiates annual contracts with carriers, giving publishers who work with Sheridan the advantage of an in-place best-price agreement for shipping.
With all this attention to detail, Sheridan is obviously doing something right: they see damage claims on only 1% of shipments.
In the end, publishers can rest easy knowing that Sheridan truly offers the full package: They have deep experience, attention to detail, and incredible customer service embedded in every book shipment.
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