How Unit Loads Can Save Your Business Money

Shipping your goods in unit load quantities can benefit your business in many ways. It is more efficient to ship one 3,000 lb. load than it is to ship 1,000, 3lb loads. In this article we will go over some of the ways unit loads can benefit you and your business.

A unit load is often placed on a pallet for shipping. The pallet offers a platform for the goods to be placed on and forklift tines to easily slip underneath to be able to lift and move the goods. Some common pallet sizes are listed below.

  1. 48”x48”
  2. 48”x40”
  3. 42”x42”
  4. 48”x42”

There are several other pallet sizes that could be pointed out, but we wanted to provide a short list to inform people of some common pallet sizes. Approximately one third of all pallets are 48”x40”.  Most pallets are made of wood; the type of wood used has an impact on the price and durability of the pallet.

Loading a unit load efficiently and effectively will help to save your business on transportation and storage costs. Area and cube utilization should be a concern when preparing a unit load. The primary packaging dimensions of a product should consider unit load packaging when being designed. The ability to properly calculate the primary package’s dimensions during design of the package is paramount to help attain efficient cube utilization.

Miscalculations in cube utilization during primary packaging design can cost your company more for pallets, stretch wrap, warehouse space, and shipping loads.

Once proper cube utilization is attained, stabilization of the unit load should be next. There are different methods used for stabilizing loads, the most common are stretch wrap and strapping. Some companies also choose to use shrink wrap pallet bags for the entire pallet load, which is often more expensive and less efficient than the two options listed above.

Before the stretch film or strapping is applied to the load, the load should already have a reasonable amount of stability. This stability is essential for after the stabilization material is removed the goods will not fall causing damage and injury to workers.

There are a variety of tests that can be run for unit load stabilization and efficiency check the references below for some of them.

American Society for Testing and Materials

International Safe Transit Association

National Motor Freight Traffic Association

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