When shipping electronics, your first concern might be keeping the items safe from any undue damage in transit; after all, they can be pretty fragile! But did you know the majority of electronics — especially those with lithium batteries — are actually considered hazardous materials?
Shipping hazardous materials requires extra consideration due to various regulations that protect shippers, carriers, and consumers from potentially dangerous — and expensive — situations. Here are three tips to help you ship electronics that will keep people, products, and your wallet safe.
1. Label Correctly
Proper labeling while shipping electronics containing hazardous materials isn’t just nice to have — it’s required! While the U.S. Department of Transportation has federal regulations about labeling hazardous materials, countries and individual states also have their own regulations to consider.
As the shipper, it’s your responsibility to make sure your packages are labeled in accordance with the regulations along your packages’ routes. Otherwise, you could be liable for any damages caused by the electronics and/or subject to hefty fines for noncompliance.
The tricky part is keeping track of these labeling requirements when you have dozens, hundreds, or thousands of packages going out each day, each to different locations. In this case, having the right TMS for parcel is crucial; Logistyx, for example, automatically prints the correct label and ensures your packages are compliant with all of the regulations on the way to their destinations.
2. Optimize Carriers
When shipping electronics, you’ll also want to be strategic about how you manage and coordinate your carriers. Placing too many hazardous materials on one vehicle boosts its hazardous load, leading to increased fees and more robust — and expensive — carrier safety requirements (such as increased fire protection and carrier training).
To avoid this situation, it most often makes sense to split a parcel shipment up between multiple carriers. An intelligent TMS for parcel can help you by automatically dispatching shipments of hazardous materials across multiple carriers to optimize speed, safety, and cost savings.
3. Pack Smart
When packing electronics for shipment, you must ensure the goods are properly secured, preventing any undue damage or potential safety risks en route.
For electronics with lithium batteries, the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations states the following requirements:
“Lithium cells or batteries, including lithium cells or batteries packed with, or contained in, equipment, must be packaged in a manner to prevent: (i) Short circuits; (ii) Damage caused by movement or placement within the package; and (iii) Accidental activation of the equipment.”
In most cases, this means investing in packaging that encapsulates and protects the electronics from touching any outside metals (to prevent short circuiting), with tightly-packed filler materials (to prevent damage from movement), and protective coverings for on/off switches (to prevent accidental activation). Businesses should also use security seals to give peace of mind that the devices have not been tampered with during the shipping process in a way that would damage their hazardous components.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget the Returns!
As e-commerce continues to boom, consumers will keep buying — and returning — electronics online. While you might have your bases covered for your items’ outbound journeys, don’t forget to provide the appropriate labels and packaging for return shipping. You don’t want to be liable for any damages that are caused on the return journey!
Getting the Safety and Speed you Need
Whether you’re shipping electronics in bulk, delivering to the last mile, or facilitating customer returns, you need to ensure your carriers and customers are safe, and that your company is protected from any undue fines or liabilities.
Logistyx guarantees that your packages are correctly labeled and optimized to ship with the most efficient, cost-effective carrier service. For more information about choosing the right TMS for parcel, download our free checklist!