Shipping in pallets is a very efficient and cost-effective strategy for those shipping several items to the same location. However, in order to truly keep the cost down and make safety a priority, you need to make sure that the pallets are properly packaged for shipping.
Here are 8 steps to avoid damaged goods, and ensure the shipment is delivered safely to its destination.
1.) One size does not fit all. Choose the right size.
The size of the pallet is very important. In this case, it is not just about the size of the package, but the weight. The standard pallet size is 48’’ x 40’’, but this might change depending on the industry. However, it is highly recommended to keep the height of the package under 48’’. It is also best to adhere to the standard sizes, as this will also make transportation easier when arranged in the truck.
Once you determine the size, weight is the next important factor. The material of the pallet depends on how heavy is the shipment. Heavier packages might require pallets made out of more durable material. As a standard, 48’’ x 40’’ pallets weigh on average 33 to 48 pounds.
Once you have determined the weight of your packages, and the material needed for the pallet, don’t forget to take into consideration the weight of the pallets when calculating your shipping cost.
2.) Packaging Supplies
The key to ensuring the shipment is not damaged falls in big part on the quality of the packaging supplies. It is imperative to use quality supplies. Yes, this can potentially be of higher cost, but you might end up saving a lot of damage costs later.
Big, weirdly shaped, and fragile items need particularly sturdy packaging supplies.
Tape is another secret weapon to keep the shipment safe. Choose a wide, high-shear strength adhesive tape to secure each box and keep it from opening. This will help ensure the package does not come apart while being transported.
When securing the pallet, choose straps and bands made of strong material, such as rayon, polyester, polypropylene, or steel. For the stretch wrap, a linear, low-density polyethylene stretch film is recommended to keep everything in place and protected.
We must mention that there are sustainable packaging supplies that can be used and of great quality as well.
3.) Packing is Key
Pack your boxes carefully. For a successful pallet shipment, the packaging begins from the moment the boxes are packed individually. Make sure that individual items are packaged properly before being put in the box. Skin packs, blister packs and clamshells are great options when packing in order to protect the goods.
It is also important to eliminate any space inside the box. Use bubble wrap, anti-static peanuts, bags, and paper to eliminate any air space in the box.
Using bubble wrap around the box is another practice to keep the boxes protected.
4.) Distribute Weight
Distributing weight in the structure is essential to keep the shipment intact, and the roads safe. If a pallet tilts inside a truck, this could potentially cause an accident. Therefore, it is important to keep the weight distribution top of mind.
A rule of thumb is to place the heavier boxes at the bottom of the structure, and the lighter ones on top. Also, a good practice is placing to place a piece of cardboard between each layer to help distribute the weight.
5.) Cubic Shape
Stacking your boxes in a cubic shape will keep your shipment safer. As you put it together, build columns. If you have smaller boxes, do not place them at the top as a pyramid structure. This will make it difficult to transport and will potentially be damaged. Instead, distribute small boxes within the cube structure.
As you build your structure, remember that the pallet will be placed in a truck that will most likely have other pallets. It is essential that it fits nicely with the others, to avoid pallets shifting and damaged shipments.
6.) No Empty Space
To keep boxes and items from shifting and falling during transportation, eliminate all air space in your pallet. If necessary, place empty folded boxes or cardboard in between the boxes to ensure there are no spaces left.
7.) Pad Corners
Stabilize the entire structure and add an extra layer of protection to your shipment by adding padding on the corners. Use cardboard to cover each edge, and place corner protectors made out of plastic, foam or bubble wrap.
8.) It’s a Wrap
One of the most important steps when preparing a pallet is the wrapping. If properly placed, this will protect the pallet when being transported, and from any elements.
A key first step before wrapping is ensuring that the boxes are sturdy on the pallet. Using straps or bands, tighten each side. Make sure to include the actual pallet, so that this is attached and secured with the structure.
Begin wrapping in one of the corners, then twist it around itself to make sure it adheres. Then, you are ready to continue wrapping slowly and throughout the entire pallet, making sure that the stretch wrap is going under every corner. Focus on overlapping the stretch wrap at 50%, and pay special attention to the mid-section of the structure, and then the top twice.
Use the stretch wrap as another layer of protection for the pallet itself attached to the structure.
If the structure is wobbly, give it another wrap downwards towards the base. Once done, tear the film and secure it by tucking the end to the stretch wrap. This will ensure that it does not come apart during transit.
Pallet shipment offers several advantages, and once you have the basics down, it becomes a straightforward process. Because you put so much thought behind the packaging, choosing a third-party logistics partner is just as important. At Atech, we make sure it gets safely to its destination.