Delivery Company Protects Vehicles With Cushioning Material

For delivery company Airborne Express, asset protection is crucial. Every day, thousands of packages and envelopes are entrusted to Airborne. However, one asset they’ve had trouble protecting has been their own vehicles – at least until recently.

Airborne, a full-service leader in overnight delivery, freight handling and ground delivery, recently installed BumperWrap™ to protect their vehicles. BumperWrap™ is a flexible, vinyl cushioning material, which Airborne installed on poles and columns within several of Airbone’s warehouses.

“There has been a need for a product like this for some time,” says David Hunter, Director of Facilities Development for Airborne. “I manage 350 buildings of a variety of sizes, with about 10,000 delivery trucks that drive around in these buildings, dodging columns and pillars as they go,” he says. “Inevitably, we have a lot of scratches and dings in the trucks. Airborne has high image standards for our trucks, so this damage is repaired continually.”

“These repair bills can really add up when you’re dealing with 10,000 trucks,” adds Hunter.

“Part of the problem is that there is a lot of traffic going in and out of the warehouses at exactly the same time every day,” says Hunter. “Packages will arrive via plane or line haul and are unloaded onto conveyor belts with delivery trucks backed up to them. Our drivers know their routes and pull their packages from the conveyor and place them in their trucks. After that, all drivers leave for the delivery at approximately the same time. With tight configurations, they must maneuver around the other delivery trucks, columns or poles to exit the building. At the end of the day, the drivers are back to unload packages picked up along their route. Again, trucks must maneuver in the freight delivery area all at once.”

Hunter says he wanted a permanent, low-cost solution to reduce the repair bills. “About a year and a half ago I looked on the Internet for a solution, and found Thermoprene,” he says.

Thermoprene is a Cleveland-based company specializing in custom extrusions. “I approached them to see if they could meet my needs,” says Hunter. “I told them I wanted a highly flexible, highly visible, non-marring, cushioned material that could pad columns of any size. We went through a couple of iterations of the product, mostly on paper, and eventually perfected BumperWrap™.”

The product was first installed at Airborne’s New York City facility in January of 2001. “Our repairs at the New York location had been about $4,000 per year,” says Hunter. “In the first quarter we tried BumperWrap™, the repairs went down to what would have been about $1,000 to zero. We estimate the return on investment to be only four to five months at the New York site.”

“Some of our warehouses have a greater history of repairs than others, and I foresee installing BumperWrap™ anywhere we’ll get a return on investment of a year or under”, says Hunter.

Hunter notes that BumperWrap™ has been installed at other Airborne locations, including Boston, Chicago, and Elizabth, NJ.

“Our drivers report complete success with the product,” says Hunter. “They’ve found it very easy to see and very useful in preventing damage. Inadvertent sideswipes are eliminated and we no longer have chips on doors being opened against the adjacent column.”

The 12 inches wide by ½” thick BumperWrap™ comes in standard 40 foot rolls for customers to attach themselves. Hunter found that column wrap installation wasn’t a problem. “It was pretty easy to do,” he says. “We tried affixing it using a couple of different methods, but found that basic pallet strapping worked great and held up very well.”

“It’s a good product,” says Hunter. “It’s an excellent cushioning material. I would recommend using it anywhere you’re . Trying to protect inadvertent sideswipes or scrapes For instance, if you’re moving valuable cars or boats in and out of an area, it would be ideal. Many columns and posts are protected by sheet rock, but that leaves marks if hit or scraped. This is a better buffer because it protects without leaving any marks on the product.” BumperWrap™ can also be used for protecting any fixtures in high-traffic areas, such as public traffic facilities, drive-thru facilities, and parking lots. Custom sizes and colors are available.

Reprinted with permission, Material Product Handling News, Reed Business Information.