A small business can hit a growth spurt in a hurry, and far from shipping out orders of two or three boxes of goods, finds itself scrambling to figure out how to fill pallet-sized orders. The ABCs and 123s of pallet shipping start with pulling the goods from the shelves and racks and end with the pallet being moved onto the truck of an LTL carrier.
The Importance of a Fast, Accurate Pick
If a picker has mis-picked an item, tunneling through box after box is a pain, but imagine the chaos that might ensue when the mistake is discovered when the item is already on a pallet. Using the best of live inventory and pick-to-light technology helps to speed packing and keep errors to a minimum. Returns are more costly than most companies realize, not only over the cost of return shipping, but the labor needed to receive and return items to stock.
The ABCs: Pallet Handling Equipment
FIrst of all, it is possible to lease instead of purchase new equipment, and good deals for used equipment are available. At a minimum, you will need a pallet jack and a floor scale. Depending on what materials you are moving, you may need to decide between a plain wooden or plastic pallet, bulk containers and crates, or even pallets of aluminum or steel. Accessories such as strapping or wrap secure goods to the pallet and other items such as honeycomb dividers make it possible to stack items atop one another by evenly distributing the load over a larger area. If you are shipping a single pallet with crushable items, it also pays to have a small device atop the finished shipment that tells the freight handler not to stack another pallet on top of it.
The 123s: Loading the Pallet:
After items are pulled and prepared for shipment, placing them on the pallet is a matter of loading the heaviest items in the first layer. The bottom layer should be kept as even as possible, then covered with a layer of cardboard honeycomb, and another layer applied. This means that the center of gravity for the pallet is lower, and makes it less inclined to tip or shift while in transit. Pack the boxes as you would brick, and only pack to the edge of the pallet – do not let boxes overhand the pallet, as this makes the load harder to secure. Some of the best tips come from FedEx and can help to make sure that the carrier will accept your shipment for delivery.
Pick to Light is not a new system. However, Voodoo Robotics offers a new take on creating a more flexible IoT picking system with wireless PTL devices. These units can be deployed anywhere with little more than two AAA batteries. Adding Cloud Display Devices to shelves and racks helps pickers to find line items faster and more efficiently, but adding the devices to pick carts, pallet jacks, and even to the pallet itself assures that there’s a straight line from the shelf to the loading dock. Five lines of information can stop so many mistakes from an erroneous pick to loading the wrong items, to loading the wrong truck. Find out what Voodoo’s new take on pick-to-light can do for your operation today by scheduling a demo.
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If the system avoids just a few mispicks, it’s paid for itself!