Packing parcels on pallets makes it easier to move large quantities of goods, but it’s important to carefully plan how pallets will be packed to reduce shipping costs and to make sure they fit on warehouse shelving.
Pallets can be made from wood or plastic and it’s important to choose the right one. Wooden pallets might need to be fumigated before shipment as they can attract beetles and fungus. The way in which some pallets are constructed also prevents them from being accessed on two sides by forklifts. It’s worth checking with your customer to make sure you send products on the right kind of pallet.
Pallets are made in standard sizes for warehouse shelving, but stacking them too high could prevent them from fitting. It’s also important to calculate the ideal volume of pallets, particularly if they are being transported in a container as, by fitting more products in, the transportation costs are proportionately reduced.
Software solutions are available to help you calculate the perfect pallet configuration and these can be useful when you create new or alternative case sizes, improve material and cube utilisation, or if you’re creating in-store displays. But it’s possible for you to do the calculations yourself if you’re willing to spend the time getting it right.
Parcels can be packed on pallets individually, but if they’re small it’s likely that additional boxes will be needed to hold several parcels. These boxes will need labels to indicate what can be found inside. Pallets also need to be properly wrapped and strapped to make sure boxes don’t tumble off while being transported. Special machinery is made for wrapping pallets, but, unless you have financial economies of scale, it’s easy doing it neatly yourself. Make sure a Packing List is attached to the pallet so that customs officials know what’s inside.
At the very least, you’ll need a pallet jack to move pallets around. If they need to be loaded onto the back of a truck or into a container, you’ll also need a forklift. If you’re not going to use a forklift often, then it might be worth investigating the possibility of renting one for a few hours when needed rather than buying one, thereby freeing up capital that could potentially be better used to grow your business.