MEMPHIS – Thousands of packages endure drops, vibrations, altitude changes and more each year at the FedEx Packaging Lab in Collierville, Tennessee. Lab engineers and technicians test and design packages for a range of products, seeing if the packaging can hold up to FedEx transportation by air and ground.
“Our top priority is to make sure your product arrives safely,” said Tyler Kenney, package design and development manager at FedEx Services. Twenty-one employees are based at the lab, with help from 19 engineers who work remotely. These employees typically work with customers shipping fragile or high-value products like electronics, medical devices and perishable goods, Kenney said.
One of those customers, Fort Collins, Colorado-based Otter Products, wanted to test a box designed to hold wine bottles while keeping them cool. Working with FedEx wasn’t uncharted territory for Otter, which ships solely through the Memphis-based logistics giant.
“We’ve always had a partnership with FedEx,” said Rachel Lee, senior product innovation manager at Otter. “Since Otter was started as a company, we’ve used FedEx as our shipper.” Otter’s Liviri brand develops shipping containers that allow perishable goods like groceries to be delivered sustainably. Liviri debuted in 2019 with its Liviri Fresh box focused on meal kits and other perishables.
Liviri introduced the Vino box to ship wine last year after testing from FedEx, but Lee said 2021 is the product’s “first big year where we’re seeing interest and traction in sales.” Direct-to-consumer wine shipping has been growing at a much faster pace amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she added. Lee said Liviri saw the wine industry as “a really good fit” for a better, more sustainable container because of the challenges in shipping wine. Wine needs to stay between 35 and 75 degrees to prevent spoilage, she said, meaning the industry doesn’t ship many bottles in the summer and winter.