Earlier this year, American Freight Service announced a new dry dock facility with the capability of receiving palletized and floor-loaded product. With both options to work with your 3PL partner of choice, you may be wondering which is the best opportunity for your business. We’re here to help:
Advantages of Palletized Product
In case you don’t know, palletizing is basically a cube stack of products on a pallet encased in plastic stretch wrap to keep everything in place while in transit. This organizational method of shipping and the protective wrap decreases damages by creating one strong unit out of many parts as well as keeping everything from shifting in transit.
Quicker Load and Unload Times
By organizing your product into loads upon pallets, you have created the optimal orientation to load and unload with forklifts and other supply chain machinery. Not only that, it allows you to pick up many pieces of product all at once, which is a perfect combination for quick loading and unloading.
Great for Double Stacking
Pallets give you a standard sized stack of product that can be picked up at once, but they also evenly distribute weight upon the single solid plinth. This means you can stack different palletized products one atop the other with little fear of damaging the lower goods.
Disadvantages of Palletized Product
Bulk Distribution Only
Though the wrapping method protects the product inside, it also creates a situation where product can only be moved in bulk, making this solution irrelevant to direct-to-consumer and other low-inventory business opportunities.
The Need for Pallets
It’s also worth mentioning that you have an added cost in the pallets, which can occasionally be difficult to source. However, pallets are sturdy materials that can be used again and again if you have a reverse logistics strategy in place for them.
Another complication that comes with palletized product is the difficulty to quickly fix a dumped load. Instances where the product may arrive with the wrapping cut and boxes tossed will require additional time and materials to be re-stacked and wrapped by a rework team before the product can be moved.
Advantages of Floor-Loaded Product
Granular Distribution Opportunities
The key difference between palletized and floor-loaded product is the individual products or a set of a few products are packaged into cardboard boxes and loaded piecemeal into a shipping container. This capability to load individual products allows for granular distribution for customers with individual needs.
Decreased Packaging Costs
The lack of stretch wrap and pallets involved in this orientation means a decrease in packaging costs. Not only that, most boxes used for floor-loaded product are fully recyclable cardboard.
Increased Cargo Space
Not needing to account for the cubic footage pallets take up in your shipping container typically means you can fit more product in each shipment, thereby decreasing shipping costs overall.
Disadvantages of Floor-Loaded Product
Longer Load Times
Because floor-loaded product must always be moved piece by piece, there will naturally be longer load and unload times across your supply chain. However, timelines can be moved up in a pinch by working with lumping service providers.
Increased Labor Costs
Longer load times can also increase labor costs sharply particularly because product cannot be loaded using machinery like forklifts. So, many of the savings from decreased packaging will be absorbed by your supply chain team’s expanded workload.
Hard on Delicate Products
Without the added stability provided by pallets and stretch wrap, each product is more likely to shift in transit. This can lead to an increased rate of damage for delicate products like glass and electronics if not packaged carefully.
Which is Right for Your Business?
As you can tell, there is no immediate winner when it comes to your shipping method. There’s a reason why businesses are choosing and our new location is serving both. The right solution for you may vary from product to product or customer to customer. Make sure that you’re getting the best advice on choosing a shipping method that is right for you by working with a knowledgeable 3PL partner that provides value to your business.