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Finisher did a poor job with packing parts customer requests remake

roman_esmant

Plastic
Joined
May 26, 2017
Hi all,
I'm having an issue like this for the 1st time and i've been running a one man shop for more than 3 years now.

We recently had a larger( for us ) order of aluminum heatsinks. We put parts in used boxes and dropped off at the finisher and i specifically asked to pack parts individually to protect from damage during shipping.
They packed each part in bubble wrap and just dumped all parts back into used boxes and shipped it out. The weight vs volume of these were critical and of course boxes got torn and 30% of parts are unusable now and customer requests new parts.

This was the 1st time i worked with this finisher and they seem very adequate at first.

Any suggestion on how to handle this situation?

Thank you!
 

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BugRobotics

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 22, 2015
Location
Denver, CO
Disregard all of this if you don't intend to work with them in the future. Take the pics over to the management/owners and speak in person if possible. Detail the issues in a professional way, letting them know the method of packing/outcome isn't acceptable. The pics you posted above make it clear that whoever packed that shipment out did not care. If you get the vibe that the people you speak to also don't care, then never use them again. If they are decent humans I imagine they will work with you to make it right. If you need them to pay for it and they refuse you may need a lawyer...which would suck.
 

boosted

Stainless
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Location
Portland, OR
I've had this happen once before. Anodizer didn't do anything about it. Really falls into that "shit happens" category.

I have a few thoughts.

1 - Generally it's a sign of how your parts will be handled. Some of our outside processors never send parts out packaged like that, and others will have a crappy packaging job escape every once-in-a-while. The place that occasionally does a bad job packaging is also much more likely to drop a part or forget it in the etch tank as well.

2 - The quality of incoming packaging is critical. When your parts come in pristinely packaged, they have a much higher likelihood of going back out in the same condition. We now package everything like it's headed to the customer, even if it's just being driven up the street to a vendor. It's an extra hassle on both ends, but it demonstrates a clear expectation.

3 - Last thing. We try to get parts back here for a final inspection whenever possible. Too many escapes over the years that were caused by the vendor. Even with all of the paperwork required for our aerospace parts, they still come back the wrong color sometimes.

Finding good vendors is hard. Once you have places you can trust; keep them happy!
 
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13engines

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Location
Saint Paul
Sorry to say that your first mistake was handing over the final look and care of your parts to a third party. Especially when shipping is involved. I would not ask my plater to handle final shipping to the customer. No way. Also it gives a I-don't-care feel to things when you drop parts off in a well used box like that, and then expecting the plater to come up with proper packaging materials and shipping techniques.
 

dkmc

Diamond
Any finishers/platers packing slip I've ever seen.....on the reverse side is a legal document in fine print that clearly states in many more words:

>We really don't care about your parts
>Our process can be hit-or-miss
>We may wreck your parts in some way, oh well, we do not accept any responsibility for damage.
>You are taking a chance doing business with us.
>Best of Luck
 

Vancbiker

Diamond
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Location
Vancouver, WA. USA
Any finishers/platers packing slip I've ever seen.....on the reverse side is a legal document in fine print that clearly states in many more words:

>We really don't care about your parts
>Our process can be hit-or-miss
>We may wreck your parts in some way, oh well, we do not accept any responsibility for damage.
>You are taking a chance doing business with us.
>Best of Luck
Same for heat treat outfits.
 

Mud

Diamond
Joined
May 20, 2002
Location
South Central PA
Everybody in this business has sucky plater/anodizer/heat treater stories like this. Now you do too. I'm on my 6th plater/anodizer and 4th heat treater. Listen to the posters here carefully, and up your subcontract game to deal with the issues caused by sending parts out for finishing. Your customers are having you do it so you are stuck redoing the parts instead of them.
I had special boxes made to transport our parts in by a local one man box maker, that solved a LOT of handling problems. He closed up and I couldn't find another so I found and bought small used manual box machines on ebay so I could make my own. You don't need the machines, you can make them by hand, but you definitely need appropriate containers
 

Rob L

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Location
Staffordshire, UK
I know this may not be an option for you, but I prefer to pickup and drop off parts personally when possible.
This, poor packaging is one thing but even poorly packaged things handled carefully will normally be ok, the problem is couriers just cannot be trusted to do that.

I also agree with all the above comments of packaging to your finisher being important, I mainly do small turned parts and they all go into cardboard egg trays stacked tightly in a box so no part touches another, whenever I go and drop off and pick up their delivery area is always full of either custom made boxes full of parts from other shops or parts in boxes made for other uses that turn out to be a good fit for what they're making.

One shop that used to do work for me did a job which they bought large plastic crates with dividers and layers which I believe were sold for beer bottles, they were pretty much perfect for the job and made repacking idiot proof, from what I remember they said they factored the cost of the boxes into the first batch they made.


From the sounds of it they did pack each part individually in bubble wrap but the boxes you provided were insufficient so while they could have done a better job it seems to me a lot of the damage was caused by the courier.

My advise would be to look at what other options you have for different finishers locally, see if you can cut the courier out completely and then spend an evening looking at packing supplier websites for off the shelf options that could be repurposed to fit the kind of parts you make and invest a bit, some examples that could be useful,

https://www.bigdug.co.uk/storage-bo...-plastic-black-attached-lid-containers-p15264

https://www.bigdug.co.uk/storage-bo...ro-containers-c418/euro-stacking-boxes-p16602


Similar to what I mentioned above but the ones I saw had shallower inserts which allowed the box to be split into three layers.
 

Bobw

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2005
Location
Hatch, NM Chile capital of the WORLD
One shop that used to do work for me did a job which they bought large plastic crates with dividers and layers which I believe were sold for beer bottles, they were pretty much perfect for the job and made repacking idiot proof, from what I remember they said they factored the cost of the boxes into the first batch they made.

They didn't throw the boxes away?

One customer, years ago was making these big thin sheet metal(ali) pieces.. Formed, chem milled down to about .030 thick over most of the part. They were big, like 6 feet long, 2.5 feet wide, 18 inches tall. The packaging guy made a really big nice crate that cradled the part. Foam the whole 9. Really nice crate, specifically for this one part..

So they ship the part off to the painter or the plater, I don't remember which, it needed both. And they broke up the crate and tossed it.

And it comes back banded to a standard pallet, with a little bit of shrink wrap over the top.. Of course
they crushed it when they banded it, and because it was hanging out a mile, the ends got mangled in
shipping also.

By the time that job was done, he had to have made 5 or 6 new crates, because the plater/painter kept breaking them up, and throwing them out and sending the part back strapped to a pallet.

I don't know if they kept sending it to the same place or not.


Finishers are such a pain.. I think its because its a suck job. You'll get a place that's good, both
packaging and finishing, and all of a sudden, it just goes down hill.

Same with heat treaters. Had a guy here in town. Needed 50 good parts, sent him 96, he lost 60 of them.
 

Mud

Diamond
Joined
May 20, 2002
Location
South Central PA
By the time that job was done, he had to have made 5 or 6 new crates, because the plater/painter kept breaking them up, and throwing them out and sending the part back strapped to a pallet.
One heat treater I no longer use always returned my parts in someone else's boxes. They were often obviously custom made wood crates and had something like "Return To company XX" "For Job # 123456" stenciled on the outside. So I knew why I never got my fiberglass tubs or steel bins back.
 
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Larry Dickman

Titanium
Joined
Jan 30, 2014
Location
Temecula, Ca
if you shipped them in crappy boxes, you shouldn't really be surprised they were returned in crappy boxes.
Years ago we had the same problem so I ordered up some bin boxes with dividers. Worked well one time. Parts came back in used boxes from a grocery store. I called them up wanting to know what happened to our bins. Nobody knew where they went.
So I told the owner, hey no problem. I'll just deduct the cost of the bins from your invoice.
About ten minutes later, phone rings. Guess what? We found them.
To solve that problem, we engraved out name and address on some aluminum panels and riveted them to the bins.
 

Rob L

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Location
Staffordshire, UK
They didn't throw the boxes away?
Nope :D

Said shop also drove the parts to the anodiser they were using and drove back to pick them up though so I imagine there would have been a fuss if they'd got to the anodiser to find they'd binned the crates and repacked the parts in something else.

My local is pretty good on the packing front, they'll repack everything how you gave it to them.
 

latheman78

Cast Iron
Joined
May 28, 2022
Location
Southern Ca Mtns.
And polishers. I almost forgot polishers. They might be the most unpredictable.
Had a customer send out some custom aluminum heat sinks I made to enclose some inverters he designed. He wanted them looking chromed but still able to dissipate heat like they weren't plated. The areas that were cleaned looked fine, the rest of it was a black powdery and gooey mess. How anyone could drop those off and request payment is beyond me. Another lesson I learned early, if there is a process you outsource and it is the
last operation in the sequence of operations tell your customer he may pick who does the last op and you will gladly ship them there and include a few set up parts, but you bear no responsibility for their work.
 

rcoope

Stainless
Joined
Sep 25, 2010
Location
Vancouver Canada
Another lesson I learned early, if there is a process you outsource and it is the
last operation in the sequence of operations tell your customer he may pick who does the last op and you will gladly ship them there and include a few set up parts, but you bear no responsibility for their work.
I think this is key. It's the sort of thing where if you tell the customer that there is risk associated with these finishing processes, they can't really argue that you need to accept liability just because it's the next stage in the process. NB I say this just after we had in-house pivoting links for a newly invented piece of laboratory automation equipment come back from anodizing with a .003" etch. All shaft press fits and 5.5mm bearing bores were obviously ruined. Their laser etched labelling on our control boxes came back crooked too. I was, incidentally, inspired by Adam Alton on Instagram to 3D print custom holders for the small parts. The anodizer sent them back all perfectly packed in my boxes, except the parts inside were F'd. What a pain in the ass.
 








 
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