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A Simple Hack Helped This Dutch Bicycle Company Cut Down Its Shipping Damage

The company's logistical handler did not seem to handle the packages very carefully and this was resulting in huge shipment damages.  (Representational image).

The company's logistical handler did not seem to handle the packages very carefully and this was resulting in huge shipment damages. (Representational image).

Dutch bicycle manufacturer Vanmoof was looking for a way to stop their products from getting damaged when they were shipped.

Don’t judge a book by its cover- you might have come across this clichéd line but the fact is, most people judge the content inside the package by its cover and this was proving to be very costly for Dutch bicycle manufacturers Vanmoof. But how? The company began shipping their bikes to the USA back in 2015 to tap on the emergence of online market space. While the sales were going good, Vanmoof’s problem came from its logistical end. The packages carrying the bikes were damaged on their way and most of the customers in the USA  received the bikes in broken condition.

The company’s logistical handler did not seem to handle the packages very carefully and this was resulting in huge shipment damages. While the financial losses of it were one aspect, the damaged product also affected the customer experience.

Vanmoof managed all its processes on its own. From design production to sales, everything except the logistical handling, was done by the company in-house. However, the continued shipment damage losses were forcing the company to mull over plans of managing the logistical end of their business as well. To come with a solution, the brains behind the company sat down to find an idea and every aspect was discussed. From using tougher boxes to changing the shipment partner, every idea was discussed but nothing seemed to fit in their scheme of things.

Vanmoof’s shipment boxes obviously did not get the priority treatment fragile items like LED TVs got. Vanmoof’s co-founder Ties Carlier realised this fact and that’s where their solution came from. Vanmoof’s packages were similar to that of a LED TV, so the company decided to print an image of TV on their boxes hoping that the handlers would take care of them like TV boxes.

And voila! it worked. The small idea did wonder for the company and its shipping damage dropped by over 70-80 per cent. The company sold nearly 80 per cent of its bicycles online and this small change had a very huge positive impact on their business.

However, the company chose to keep this idea a secret fearing that revelation might impact their business but the word soon got out.

Journalist Jason Gay Tweeted about Vanmoof’s genius hack and the story was followed by many others. People were surprised to learn that this simple but innovative idea worked out so positively. The packaging was later used by other bike companies to cut down on their shipping damage.

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first published:September 12, 2021, 12:30 IST