Key Challenges in Shipping and Transportation
10 Sep 2016
As modern life evolves, so too has packaging. Contemporary packaging encompasses many improvements, such as the use of plastic pallets, but businesses still face a number of challenges in delivering goods on time, at the right cost, in good condition and using materials that have a low environmental impact.
Many of these challenges can be faced effectively by looking at the process as a whole, by understanding the entire distribution and shipping service and being able to plan ahead to overcome any aspects of the delivery process that may not be as efficient as the rest.
Understanding the Network
Before packaging can be designed, there must be a thorough evaluation of the shipping process for the goods, and how they will be distributed when they are removed from their shipping containers. Engineers who specialise in packaging need to look at transportation via a wide range of variables, from a load comprising hundreds of pallets to one simple item. Great packaging is all about the details. From how pallets are loaded to how they are stored, every aspect of the process needs to be accounted for and understood. Two major trends have also had a significant impact on packaging issues: the rise of smaller shipping loads, and e-commerce.
Damage to goods can result from a number of factors, including underestimating the weight of a load and handling that causes breakages. Gaps in packaging are often a problem, as this presents opportunities for crushing, such as when mechanised clamps are used during unloading. It is vital that packaging fits snugly and provides a buffer at vulnerable points such as corners.
Catering for the Lone Parcel
While a load may consist of thousands of the same items that fit snugly together, what of a single purchase from a website that needs to reach its buyer in prime condition? Packaging engineers internationally have expressed concern about the breakages that occur when small items are transported on pallets and during single deliveries. Interlocking plastic pallets and top pallets can be valuable in protecting single items to make sure they does not get squashed at any point of the shipping process. Plastic containers offer significant advantages for packaging small items, being easy to produce in a range of sizes and unlikely to be affected by differences in temperature. Plus they offer superior protection from damp conditions and water damage.
Plastic pallets offer many benefits over wood. These include no splintering and less weight – being so much lighter, there are big savings on fuel costs. And they are durable and ecologically sound, as they can be reused many times. Additionally, they can also be designed for smart stacking and to take up minimal space at distribution terminals. Full protection can be ensured by sealing the item with a layer of pallet wrap.
As e-commerce grows in popularity, it seems there will be a greater need for creative packaging solutions that keep costs down and keep small deliveries in good condition. Plastic containers, top pallets, adjustable pallets and pallet wrap all provide extra security for a package in transit, no matter how big or small.