Penske Logistics Discusses Packaging and the Supply Chain
When it comes to shipping costs, many companies focus solely on the weight of the package, but to truly cut costs, they should also look at a package’s size and shape. A package’s density dictates its ease of handling, how easily it can stack within a trailer and how much room it takes up, which carriers all factor into their overall rates.
Industry experts agree that by optimizing packaging, shippers can sometimes reduce their supply chain costs by up to 20 percent.
To truly cut costs, shippers should look at the National Motor Freight Classification book, which carriers can use to set their rates. Included in the book are more than 100 pages of packaging rules, which many shippers are not aware of.
It includes general packaging information and what the specifications are for commonly used packages like bags, crates, drums, and fiberboard boxes. It also provides specifications for hundreds of packages that are authorized specifically for the transportation of certain commodities.
In addition to the size and weight of a package, shippers should also look at its overall dimensions. Certain box shapes are inefficient, like a cube box. The world of logistics is made up of rectangles - truck trailers, rail cars and pallets are all rectangular in shape. Cubes just don’t fit the system. They are more expensive to handle and use more material.
Packaging can sometimes be a difficult thing to pin down within a company because so many people are involved in the process. Besides logistics, departments across companies like marketing and quality, all have a hand in packaging. The best companies get everyone’s input and then look at the total impact.
When obtaining input, industry experts recommend shippers talk with people who work on the shipping dock or the warehouse, since they have hands-on experience with the packages daily.
Visit nmfta.org for more information about the National Motor Freight Classification book.
By “Move Ahead” Staff