Warehouse Slot Optimization 101

Slot OptimizationDoes your warehouse adhere to any sort of slot optimization practice? Slot optimization refers to the strategic placement of inventory to minimize loading times. Remember, time is money; more time in the loading dock means more overhead spending and, possibly, surplus fees from the carrier. We’ll go over some best practices for placing inventory in your warehouse.

Why Slot Optimization Matters

Here are some eye-opening statistics: staff spend 55% of their time traversing the warehouse. They waste another 15% searching for items. These are fairly large percentages that can be drastically reduced with slot optimization. Strategic slotting comes into play regardless of the carrier or line haul shipper you use. Continue Reading →

3 Tips for Shipping Perishable Goods in Warm Weather

Warm Weather ShippingTransporting perishable goods often require reefer shipping, which we discussed in a previous post. Regardless, transporting perishable goods in warm weather requires more diligent packaging on your end. With summer in full swing, we’ll go over some tips on how to properly pack your temperature-sensitive goods when temperatures are through the roof.

1. Be Mindful of Shipping Time

Arrange for a shipping time later in the day, preferably late afternoon or early evening. This way, the starting temperature is lower once the freight is in transit. You should also arrange for a shipping date earlier in the week to reduce the likelihood of the freight sitting idle in a warehouse over the weekend. This is especially the case with LTL shipping. Continue Reading →

Correct Pallet Preparation for Transportation

A carrier’s job is to transport freight; prepping the freight for safe shipment is your job. If it becomes the carrier’s job due to poor preparation, then expect surplus charges. Correct pallet preparation procedure is the same whether you’re arranging for an LTL or dedicated truck transport. We’ll go over the steps to palletize your freight for shipping.

Pallet Preparation 101

Fortify Individual Boxes

Individual boxes on the pallet should be full. Fill excess space with packaging peanuts, bubble wrap, or air pillows.

Stack Boxes Evenly

Boxes should be perfectly aligned and not extend beyond the pallet’s edge. Keep heavier boxes at the bottom and lighter ones on top. Solidify loose boxes by placing a flat cardboard piece every other row. Do the same for the very top row. Be sure any boxes with labels face outward. Finally, we recommend the use of cardboard corner beads to keep boxes from protruding beyond the pallet.

Don’t Be Conservative with the Shrink Wrap

Shrink wrap isn’t expensive, so don’t be stingy with it. Wrapping the pallet once or twice isn’t enough. You should wrap over the pallet three times at a minimum, though we prefer four to five times. As you wrap, twist the wrap every now and then to increase its strength.

Secure the Freight with Nylon Strap

This is optional, but you can secure the freight to the pallet by using sturdy nylon strap. If not, then at least use shrink wrap the top part of the pallet.

Ready to Transport Your Freight?

Once your freight is ready, give Machine Transport a call to arrange for a carrier or line haul shipper to haul your goods. Preparing your pallet the right way not only saves time but ensures your freight remains safe during its lengthy transportation.

Edited by Justin Vorhees

Freight Brokers for Manufacturers and Suppliers

Serving Manufacturing Industries Throughout North America

Why Manufacturers Should Use Business Intelligence Solutions

Business Intelligence Solutions

Business intelligence solutions are viable for all industries, not just office environments. We highly recommend that manufacturers and suppliers in warehouse settings adopt this form of data storage. Cloud integration for manufacturers provides real-world solutions for reducing downtime, increasing productivity, and increasing revenue.

Business Intelligence Benefits for Manufacturers

1. Assess Trends in Real Time

It’s time consuming to review lengthy spreadsheets full of numerical data. Most cloud vendors also provide the latest business intelligence (BI) tools that compile data and convert them into meaningful reports. Automatically compile data into easy-to-read charts or graphs to instantly determine the latest trends.

2. Store Data in a Single Location

Stay organized by keeping the data in a single location. This means all of your data: ranging from supply logistics to invoices and bills of lading for the company’s outgoing dedicated truck shipments. Continue Reading →

How NOT to Fasten a Tarp on a Flatbed

flatbed truck tarp safetyA tarp is necessary in many instances for securing freight on a trailer. Think safety when fastening a tarp on a flatbed or step-deck truck. Flatbed truck tarp safety requires special care. Otherwise, you risk serious injury, not to mention improperly fastened freight that can become loose during transport. We’ll explain what NOT to do when working with tarps to secure cargo.

The WRONG Way to Fasten a Tarp

1. Neglecting Safety Gear

Every staff member fastening a tarp should be wearing the following safety gear:

  • hard hat
  • safety goggles
  • reflective vest
  • work gloves
  • long trousers
  • steel-toed work boots

2. Manually Lifting the Tarp Onto the Truck

A standard-size tarp weighs about 80 pounds and should never be lifted by hand onto the truck. Always use a forklift to get the tarp onto the trailer bed. Continue Reading →

Understanding Freight Classification

freight classificationEvery piece of freight receives a classification before being loaded onto a common carrier or line haul shipper. These classifications are defined by the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) and range from class 50 to class 500. This sets a universal standard for determining shipping costs. We’ll explain the concept of classifying freight and define the four parameters that determine the correct freight classification.

Freight Class Classification Explained

There is a total of 18 freight classes. Basically, the lower the category number the cheaper the shipment. The class may also determine what type of trailer or truck to expect. Each class lists specific parameters. Class 100, for example, is for freight that includes items like boat and car covers, caskets, and wine cases. The freight must also fall between 9-10.5 pounds per cubic foot. Continue Reading →

Reefer Freight Shipping at a Glance

reefer freightReefer freight essentially refers to freight that needs refrigeration or requires temperature-controlled storage during shipment. Cargo, such as perishable foods and beverages, requires reefer LTL trucks or an insulated transportation van. This short guide outlines the basics when dealing with freight of this nature.

Reefer Freight Shipping Is Harder to Arrange

Reefer LTL generally has more limited availability compared to standard LTL shipping. Most LTL carriers operate every business day. Reefer shippers, by contrast, may only run on certain days, depending on the region. For instance, a refrigerated LTL truck may only do pickups in the Seattle area Wednesdays through Fridays. By the same token, reefer trucks may only deliver to certain areas on certain days. If it only makes a drop-off in San Antonio on Tuesdays, then the drop-off cannot occur any other day of the week.

In addition, availability may be further limited depending on other freight already scheduled for shipment. Remember that you’re sharing the space with other cargo. All freight in a reefer truck must have temperature requirements within a set range.

There are, however, also reefer dedicated truck transports that have more flexible availability times. Continue Reading →

Freight Industry Adopts Platooning Technology

Platooning technologyWhen driving in fleets of two to five trucks, dedicated truck transport operators tend to drive in a tight formation. This is done to minimize the distance between trucks, which allows the big rigs to catch a slipstream and cut back on fuel use. Truck makers are currently investing in platooning technology. This allows truckers to tailgate in a fleet in a safe manner.

Platooning Technology at a Glance

Platooning technology consists of a combination of radar, active braking, and vehicle-control algorithms that digitally link the trucks together. For example, if the lead truck brakes, then the one behind it mimics the action by employing the automatic brakes. This keeps the trucks in close quarters to reduce wind resistance while also preventing the possibility of a collision from following too closely.

The Mastermind Behind Platooning Technology

Platooning technology is currently under development by Peloton Technology. The name “Peloton” is derived from the term that describes bicyclists who travel in a tight group to reduce wind resistance, thereby reducing energy expenditure. As of July 2015, the company has raised over $18 million from 13 investors. Continue Reading →

Driverless Freight Trucks on the Horizon

driverless freight trucksThe automotive industry has already stepped one foot in the door of autonomous technology. Early prototypes of driverless cars are already on the road and making small trips. The move to driverless freight trucks, in the meantime, is making less headway. Nevertheless vehicle manufacturing companies are doing extensive development work. In the near future, the common carrier or line haul shipper you hire to transport your cargo may not have a human driver.

The Implications of Driverless Freight Trucks

What does autonomous technology entail for the industry as a whole? For you, the customer, you could very well see a drastic reduction in cost. A dedicated truck transport with a full freight compartment, traveling from Los Angeles to New York, for example, costs roughly $4,500. Labor makes up 75% of that cost. A reduction in overhead will surly transfer over to the end consumers.

In addition, a driverless truck can also operate nearly 24 hours a day, compared to human drivers who are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours in a 24-hour period. Aside from increased productivity, this will also reduce truck-related accidents and fatalities. Continue Reading →

Save on Overhead Costs with Reusable Packaging

Reusable PackagingFreight needs to be carefully packaged before being shipped out. Are you using single-use or reusable packaging? More companies are transitioning to the latter. Before scheduling your next LTL shipping, consider following suit.

Reusable Packaging Defined

First, an explanation is in order regarding reusable packaging. For starters, it should not be confused with recyclable packaging. Reusable packaging is essentially defined as a container or pallet that has been reused at least three times for transporting goods. The packaging must also have been inspected and repaired if necessary before returning to the supply chain.

The Benefits of Reusable Packaging

Reusable packaging will cut down on waste management costs. This will have a trickledown effect that cuts down on total overhead. Money saved can be accepted as additional revenue or passed on to the end user.

Packages that are made to be reused are also more durable. They are better able to withstand elements like heat, moisture, and physical impact. This means your freight is more likely to arrive in one piece.

They’re also a huge space saver. You don’t have to allocate your limited warehouse space for all those extra one-way boxes and pallets that are used once and thrown out. Continue Reading →