Although bearings are the workhorses in motion, they need to be treated with kid gloves during shipping. Why? The slightest nick can damage the bearing’s performance. Here are five questions you should ask your bearing supplier when it comes to shipping:
How do you secure the boxes?
Boxes shipped through parcel shippers, such as UPS and FedEx should be packed with the appropriate amount of corrugated cardboard between the inner and outer box lining, bubble wrap and fully tapped on the exterior. Taking this extra step removes some of the friction bearings receive during shipping.
How much will the bearing shipment weigh? How will they be shipped?
Shipments over 150 pounds should be placed on a pallet for even weight distribution and proper packaging, such as shrink wrapping, to keep tight control over the boxes. Parcel shippers are generally not equipped to adequately handle bearing shipments of this weight without using a freight service.
Based on my location, when will the bearings arrive?
As with all shipments, where you are located in relation to your supplier determines the length of time between when the order is placed and when it arrives. Knowing up front if a bearing supplier can replenish inventory based on your timeline will alleviate a lot of headaches. Ask to see the supplier’s delivery scorecards to verify their record.
Also, learn about fast shipping options before they are needed. For example, ask if the bearing supplier offers overnight or next day shipping.
Can the box be labeled with internal part numbers?
Make it easy on your internal receiving team by adding your part numbers to the package labels. Many bearing manufacturers can easily accommodate this request, which can streamline inventory management and warehousing.
Do you have barcoding, specialized packaging and labeling capabilities?
Placing your internal barcode on the shipping label can improve internal logistics’. When receiving departments are able to scan inbound shipments and automatically refresh internal databases, everyone wins. Talk to your supplier about this option.
Many OEMs have strict labeling and shipping instructions. Advanced Shipping Notices (ASN) help to detail the flow of the physical product once it arrives at your warehouse. Finding a bearing manufacturer who is already skilled in adhering to these requirements will lessen the learning curve.
If you have specialized packaging instructions, such as treating aftermarket bearings different than machine bearings, ask how the company works with other OEMs on packing. For example, some shipments may contain loose bearings in boxes alongside bearings that are prepacked for distributor displays.
However you choose to avoid shipping failures, know that many bearing suppliers are happy to accommodate advanced requirements.