It is crystal clear, optimized loading of products saves money. Whether you fill a box, stack a pallet or load a complete container, the goal is to fit as many products as possible in as little space. However, the crucial point is that loading or stacking is not an action that stands alone, but a step in the logistic process.
In practice, I see that companies miss opportunities when they only focus on smart stacking. Based on examples from recent cases, I will explain myself:
Broaden your view
It is often forgotten that a logistic process begins with an order. When it is clear what your shipment looks like and how much volume needs to be purchased, you already have additional opportunities. Imagine you could instantly offer your customers to send more products without extra charge because there is still space on the pallet or in the truck.
I can go even further: one of my customers books the required number of pallets immediately after the order to minimize the lead time. With a reliable loading plan it is easy to prevent booking too much or too little space.
The next step in the process is constructing a pallet or loading a container. When working with homogenous packaging, your process is probably automated. But the shipment profile of most companies is less homogeneous than you might think. Both in terms of shape and size, there are many exceptions. Most companies approach these 'package exceptions' manually. The products are literally drawn out of the automated logistics processes.
Therefore you should consider loading as part of the entire logistics process: some actions may be unnecessary and can be skipped, making the entire operation more efficient.
Faster processing of orders
The processing of orders after transportation is often not considered. When the stacking and loading is done in a structured way, one can estimate in advance how to unload in the most efficient and fastest way.
Your pallet does not need to be unpacked, except maybe for an inspection of incoming goods. Think of the benefits that are achieved by cross-docking and putting away the goods directly in the right warehouse aisle. Especially in case of machine installations it will result in enormous advantages.
Is investing in loading software useful? Yes. But it is important that you keep the entire process in mind. Don’t look at loading software only as a tool to make an optimal stack of products or save transport costs! Look at it as a tool to gain insight in your supply chain and to implement adjustments along the line.
Do you want to know more about StackAssist and our way of working?
Bart van Dijck can tell you all about it:
Bart van Dijck
Project Manager FPC