Pallets are the foundation (literally) of the distribution and storage of your products—they’re called upon every day to transport your products safely to market. And they’re growing in popularity. The demand for pallets is expected to reach 1.4 billion units by 2019.*
Today’s most innovative companies are placing greater focus on pallet optimization. They know it can help improve their cost, especially when it comes to warehouse and truck space.
Grant LaPierre, Creative Packaging Design Engineer with Veritiv, says that pallet optimization is evolutionary. “The goal is improvement, and new packaging technologies move the industry forward. Materials and design influence logistics, so it’s important to engage packaging experts early,” LaPierre says.
From overpackaged to optimized
For a consumer electronics customer, LaPierre and his team of design engineers used math, science and out of-the-box thinking to create new packaging for their computer product. “Package design is a balancing act of materials, protection, costs, logistics optimization and consumer experience,” LaPierre says.
The customer’s existing packaging was not pushing the envelope of innovation. It was was made primarily of fabricated foam, a strong and reliable material with a short development cycle (how long it takes to calculate, design, assemble and test).
However, protection was a recurring issue, and additional additional layers of foam kept being added to the design. This extra material increased packaging dimensions and reduced the number of units that could fit on a pallet, in turn increasing freight costs. The company was able to increase product protection in the short-term, but they needed to find a long-term solution that balanced all aspects of their supply chain to become more cost-effective.
The answer was found in molded fiber and structural packaging engineering.
Geometry and packaging design intertwine
Thanks to recent advancements in material technology, LaPierre’s team created a molded fiber solution that improved logistics without compromising protection.
LaPierre explains, “When you apply certain geometry to molded fiber designs, it lengthens the protective life of the cushioning and offers more resilience through multiple impacts. This can result in fewer load containment failures, helping you meet demand and improve profitability. In addition to the molded fiber, a better engineered, more optimized foam design was created as a backup solution.”
By adding molded fiber technology to the design, fewer materials were needed overall. This shaved off space from the pallet and a tighter pack-out was achieved. In fact, 21% more units were added to each pallet (from 57 to 69), which optimized freight and warehouse space downstream. Pallets optimized to boost your bottom line: how’s that for exciting?
*US Pallet Market. (2015). US pallet stock to reach 2.6 billion units by 2019 [Press release].
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