As the world continues to “go digital,” the information technology (IT) equipment and infrastructure that companies use continues to grow in importance. Consequently, it is critical that these items be handled, packaged, crated and shipped with great care. This includes assets like:
- Computer servers
- Server racks
- Telecommunications systems
- Desktop and laptop computers
- Printers and other peripherals
Not only can damage caused by IT equipment shipping be very costly, issues like delays or logistical miscues can have significant business consequences as well. This is especially true if these problems affect project timelines or frustrate clients who are counting on the items arriving undamaged and on time.
IT Equipment Shipping Considerations
Keep these important IT equipment shipping considerations in mind as you prepare to ship large, fragile or high-value IT equipment:
- Talk with your technology equipment shipping company first. Your staff may be able to handle many of the tasks below. However, before you dive in, you should talk with your IT shipping/logistics company. Doing so can prevent situations where you have to unpackage and repackage assets to properly protect them.
- Assess the inherent damage risks for each item. Is the asset particularly fragile? Does it need to maintain a particular orientation as it makes its way through the shipping stream? Does it have components that could be removed or individually secured to provide better protection? The answers to these types of questions will be helpful for you and your IT equipment shipping company.
- Review the manufacturer’s instructions for preparing computers/servers for shipping. If the company that produced an IT asset provides information on safe shipping, be sure to read the instructions, follow them and provide them to your technology equipment shipping company if they will be handling any of the packaging and crating.
- Have reusable containers made if appropriate. If IT assets will be shipped frequently, a custom-designed case, crate or other packaging can help protect them and make it easier to prepare them for shipping. However, be sure to assess the condition of these containers regularly and replace them if they show signs of weakening or damage.
- Ensure technology equipment is packaged in a way that addresses any environmental concerns. For example, if you are shipping servers overseas via ocean transport, they can be affected by corrosion and must be vapor-barrier bagged with moisture-absorbing desiccant added to the packaging. A humidity indicator card can also be placed inside the barrier bag to provide information on moisture levels.
- Understand Most IT equipment has data loaded on the hardware. Whether it is an entire server rack or just a printer, almost all this hardware comes with some form of software. This is important to understand because this data can become corrupt due to electrostatic discharge. Please speak to your IT/Shipping logistics company on how to mitigate these risks.
- Consider whether data security is an issue. If the IT equipment you are shipping holds sensitive data, it is important to ensure that it is properly protected from the time it is picked up, through the packaging and crating process, and while in transit. Companies that ship IT equipment should have secure facilities and be able to provide around-the-clock monitoring of items in their possession.
- Follow all packaging, crating and shipping guidelines of the destination country. Your logistics provider can help you understand restrictions like the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15) requirement that all solid wood packing material be heat treated and stamped with an official mark to prevent pest infestation.
- Get adequate insurance. When shipping computers and other IT equipment, be sure you know the value of the items and then obtain insurance through the shipping company, your own insurer or both that is sufficient to cover loss of or damage to the assets.
- Ensure that accurate tracking is used. Your IT shipping and logistics company should be able to determine the location of your shipment at any stage of its journey.
- Train your staff. Anyone involved in IT equipment shipping should be well-versed in the strategies above. All it takes is one misunderstanding or mistake to greatly increase the risk of damage.
IT Equipment Shipping Logistics Expertise Is Critical
The transport of oversized, expensive, or sensitive IT equipment is something that must be done carefully and with full knowledge of all the risks involved. Preparing assets for shipping using a “best guess” approach can lead to items being damaged or destroyed en route or when they are unboxed by the recipient.
Ideally you should work with an IT equipment shipping logistics provider that specializes in moving IT equipment like servers and server racks. The skill and experience of their packaging engineers, freight handlers and logistics experts can help ensure that valuable assets make it to their destination on time and free of damage.
How will you know if a specialty packaging, crating and shipping company has the IT equipment shipping expertise you need? In a quick phone call or exchange of emails, they can demonstrate that their offerings align with your needs. If you have questions about our technology equipment shipping capabilities, please get in touch with the Craters & Freighters location near you.