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PALLET OPTIMIZATION 101: 5 BASIC RULES

August 23, 2018

header_pallet_5_rules

For a start, pallet optimization happens way before your product is on the pallet: it all starts with a packaging strategy curated for your product. No matter the industry you’re in, there are some basic elements to take into consideration when establishing your approach.

FIRST RULE

Be conscious of fully adapting and using your packaging to the most of its design. Your product must occupy most of the package dimension, so it’s condensed and stable in its packaging.

SECOND RULE

Whether it’s cases or bags, make sure the packaging material you choose is resistant enough for your product. It might seem simple, but it is core to a good practice. Keep it in mind that your pallet will go through different conditions and will be stacked with other pallets; individual packages within the pallet will also go through these situations.

THIRD RULE

Speaking of various conditions, a pallet will sustain a great number of them, from the moment it’s stored in your plant or moving to a client. You must prepare your packaging and your pallet in prevision of the 4 most frequent causes of damages: pressure, shock, vibration and environmental.

pressure, shock, vibration and environmental icons

  • Pressure: Your pallet will be stacked amongst other pallets. The pressure that will create a potential charge must be taken into consideration when choosing the type of packaging, the type of pallet, the stacking pattern and so on.
     
  • Shock: Your pallet and its content can suffer from a great knock at any given time during your shipment process. Keep it in mind that you never know how your pallet will be handled; that way, you can prepare it for any unpleasant situations that might arise. Don’t forget to tighten it with straps and corrugated pads.
     
  • Vibration: From the forklift to the truck, your pallet will endure constant vibration that the load will amplify. If you are packing high-density products in cases, you might have some sort of isolation to prevent this situation. Also, the usage of anti-slip sheets in-between layers can bring more stability to the overall package.
     
  • Environmental: A loaded pallet will be stored and transported often, and the environmental conditions in which it will happen will vary. It might be at the mercy of the elements for a while or transported in a -10°C trailer or a 45 °C humid container. No matter what, your products need to be safe with some sort of protection like a stretch wrap.

straps, sheets and wrap palletizing protection examples

FOURTH RULE

Choose the right pallet for your needs, as well as your client’s. There are 6 types of wooden pallet that are ISO Standard 6780. Some industries or clients might prefer certain models or even go for plastic pallets that offer other kinds of advantages. The key is to be settled as to what is expected of you and your shipment once it leaves your plant.

FIFTH RULE

Think of your pallet as a block. It needs to be compact, solid and perfectly square so it can reach its optimum strength. A condensed and packed pallet will be much more stable, and your product will consequently be far more protected. It’s important that your product is either aligned or staggered on the pallet. You must avoid pyramidal shape or any overhanging product from the pallet to obtain that perfect block. A flawless pallet well configured will decrease chances of harm to your product during handling, but it will also allow your pallet to be stacked and stored properly.

examples of optimal pallets

Finally, the secret of the optimum pallet is simple: it’s the sum of all the details and attention you put through your entire packaging line that will make it happen. By keeping in mind that you must protect your goods against uncontrollable variables while optimizing every little step, like the packaging material to the choice of the pallet, all the efforts you put into your product will be safeguarded until the end of your line and beyond. Once you reach the palletizing step, the last determinant you will need to figure out, to master your pallet efficiency to the fullest, will be to select your favored pallet configuration.

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