Business decisions are often about the practicality of the situation in addition to the bigger picture. Shipping, receiving shipments, and packaging are all parts of a system of constant movement and exchange.
Especially if your business is making larger shipments, it might seem like there’s a lot to know and lots to learn. Regardless of what you’re shipping, what your resources are, and what your experience is like, using pallets for shipping can be a great choice for moving large amounts of merchandise.
No matter what you’re shipping, pallets can be a convenient transportation method. But if you don’t have much previous experience with them, you might find yourself asking a lot of questions about shipping with pallets. If you’re looking for some tips for your business, look no further. Here are five need-to-know tips for pallet shipping.
1. Know the Difference Between Pallets and Skids
One of the first things to know about shipping with pallets is learning the difference between pallets and skids. While they’re similar in appearance and serve similar purposes, pallets and skids are different from each other.
While pallets have a top and bottom deck, skids do not have a bottom deck. Pallets are overall more stable and secure, as skids are essentially the oldest type of pallet.
2. Bracing and Padding
Pallets can hold all kinds of items, including those that might require a bit of extra bracing, padding, and stabilization. Foam cushioning can provide more fragile shipments with a bit of protection, whereas wood blocking can prevent movement in those items.
Often, these techniques are used together to create a secure system of protection for whatever you’re shipping. Alternatively, bracing, banding, and stretch-wrapping are great options for items that could move or roll away during the shipping process, and strapping them down gives an additional layer of protection.
3. Consider the Weight
When it comes to moving and transporting the pallets, another detail worth considering is the weight — both of the pallet itself and the shipment. On average, the typical pallet can support anywhere from 3,700 to 4,600 pounds. However, pallet strengths can vary widely due to construction details, so it’s best to look at the exact specifications of the brand and manufacturer that provides your pallets when planning your shipments.
Additionally, remember that the pallets themselves can weigh anywhere from 30-48 pounds, so they are relatively lightweight.
4. Consider the Height
When it comes to fitting everything into the truck or trailer you’re packing, the height of the shipments and pallets matters. Fitting everything into the space you’re filling can be a job in and of itself, and working out the dimensions can sometimes be a game of catch-up until you find the right combination.
When planning this out, it’s important to remember that the pallets themselves add to the height of whatever you’re shipping. Even though they’re small in terms of height, an added few inches can mean the difference between fitting and squeezing. A standard pallet is 6 inches tall, but that can vary based on the type and manufacturer. Make sure you measure as you plan.
5. Use Stretch Wrapping
Stretch wrapping is a great way to keep shipments anchored in place without risking damage to the merchandise inside. Essentially, stretch wrapping is just plastic wrap placed tightly around the shipment so it stays together.
The tightness is important, as that keeps the shipment from shifting and moving. The plastic should capture the pallet itself when wrapping to ensure the shipment doesn’t slide off or detach. The plastic wrap can also be twisted like rope for a bit more strength and security.
What to Know When Shipping Pallets
If you’ve never shipped a pallet before, the sheer size and shape of it can be enough to overwhelm. But don’t worry! There are so many ways to make your experience run smoothly and to get everything shipped with ease.
By knowing the specifics of pallets — and the pallets you’re using — and considering details like the padding, weight, and height of the shipment, you can learn the ropes in no time. Like many things, shipping is a business process that requires learning and getting used to, and you can adjust however you need to.