It is crystal clear that the optimal loading of products generates savings. Whether you are filling a box, stacking a pallet or loading a complete container, the aim is to fit as many products into as little space as possible. However, the important thing is that loading or stacking is not an action in itself but a step in a logistical process.
In practice, I see companies miss out on opportunities if the focus is only on smarter stacking. I will explain this in more detail using examples from recent cases.
Expand your view
What is often forgotten is that the process starts when an order comes in. If, at that moment, it is already clear what the shipment will look like and how much volume must be purchased, this offers extra opportunities. Imagine that you could immediately offer your customer to send more products without extra shipping costs because there is still room on the pallet or in the truck.
I can go one step further: At one of my customers, the required number of pallet spaces is booked immediately after the order is placed to keep the lead time as short as possible. A reliable loading schedule therefore prevents over- or under-booking.
The next step in the process is the assembly of a pallet or the loading of a container. When you work with homogenous boxes, everything is probably automated. But the shipping profile of most companies is less homogeneous than you think. Both in terms of shape and dimensions, there are many exceptions. Many companies approach these ‘packaging exceptions’ manually. They are pulled out of automated logistics processes, as it were.
You should therefore consider loading as part of the entire logistics process: some operations may be superfluous and best skipped, making the whole operation more efficient.
Faster processing of orders
What often is not considered is the processing of orders at the customer’s premises after transport. If stacking and loading is structured, it is possible to estimate in advance how you can unload most efficiently and quickly.
The advantage is that not everything needs to be unpacked, except for an entry check. Think of the advantages that can be gained from cross-docking and putting goods away directly per aisle. This offers enormous advantages, especially in machine installations.
Does investing in loading software make sense? Yes, it does. It is important to keep the whole process in mind. So don’t look at loading software merely as a tool to optimise stacking and save on transport costs! Look at it as a tool to gain insight into your entire supply chain and to make adjustments across the board.
I can tell you much more about optimal loading. We have developed a handy tool for this purpose: StackAssist. StackAssist already helps many companies with optimal loading.