Palletization software is a vital part of supply chain operations and is the process of placing items to be shipped onto pallets. The pallet provides a flat, stable base, allowing goods to be securely and safely stored and transported using forklift trucks or pallet jacks that move the entire load. When pallets were originally introduced, the impact on material handling was dramatic.
Advantages of using pallets include:
Using pallets as a base for goods allows them to be loaded and unloaded far more quickly and efficiently, saving hours of human resources, reducing labor costs, and enabling a faster turnaround and transportation of products.
More Efficient Handling
Operators can insert and remove pallets more effectively, as handling equipment can stack products, reducing the number of movements required.
Lower Labor Costs
Labor requirements are reduced dramatically. Moving fully loaded pallets allows warehouse workers to move a greater volume of goods during each shift.
Protecting Perishable Goods
Palletization is particularly important for perishable goods that must be kept refrigerated. Using pallets allows these goods to be moved more quickly across unrefrigerated areas, and they can be loaded and unloaded more quickly.
Less Risk of Damage to Goods and Losing Freight
Proper palletization reduces damage to goods, protecting items and ensuring products remain in perfect condition until the pallet is unloaded and ready for the next part of the supply chain. Items secured on pallets are bound together with plastic wrap, strapping, or both, so the chances of items falling off are low.
Protecting Warehouse Staff
When items are palletized correctly, the pallet is stable, and there is less chance of injury to workers.
Optimizing Warehouse Storage
Material handling is more efficient, enabling better optimization of warehouse storage since one key factor is stackability and optimizing transportation.
Better Inventory Control
Palletizing loads enables better inventory control, as it is easier to monitor each SKU. Logistics managers can gauge a product's stock level at a glance since they will know the number of products stored on each pallet.
Usually, goods loaded onto pallets are stacked on top of one another in columns, resting directly on the item below. However, load strength and stability considerably increase when pallets are loaded in an interlocking pattern. Achieving the best loading pattern is not easy. Additionally, some goods are not suitable for palletization. These include long and thin items or irregularly shaped items that will not stack easily.
Choosing the Best Way to Palletize
There are several ways to palletize a load, but all products must be stacked uniformly. A load that is stacked unevenly or which bulges outward will be less stable. While it is possible to load goods directly onto pallets, using cartons or boxes ensures a more even loading as their regular shapes ensure they can be neatly stacked on to of one another. Once the load is complete, the results should be a compact structure, and it is normally wrapped in transparent film and can also be secured with strapping to protect the goods and help bind them together.
Pallets are available in several standard sizes, helping optimize supply chain operations. A standard pallet is 40 x 48 x 5 inches, and most shipping companies base their freight charges on pallet volume. Using pallets can add 20-30% volume to a shipment, so proper optimization is essential to ensure pallets achieve maximum volume. Most companies use standard-sized boxes that are easier to stack without wasting space, but this isn't possible for every order.
Pallets can be made from different materials, depending on the goods to be shipped. These include pallets made from wood, metal, or plastic. Pallets can also be selected according to the storage systems available in the warehouse, the handling equipment that can be manual or automatic, and facilities available at suppliers.
Using BlackBox Logistics Software for Palletization
MagicLogic BlackBox software includes a separate optimization engine developed specifically for palletization, including complex mixed-case pallet stacking. Our software can build layers and semi-layers or has an automatic switch to free stacking when required. The main aim of our palletization engine is to achieve excellent pallet stability, maximum fill quality, and maximum load stability. It supports manual pack stations and robotics.
Nowadays, more companies are choosing to automate or semi-automate their logistics operations, and BlackBox can provide packing sequences suitable for robotics. Robotics is especially useful for packaging pharmaceutical goods and the food industry, ensuring goods remain clean and hygienic during palletization.
Our BlackBox palletization software includes configurable parameters for different end-of-arm tools and approach points, allowing users to achieve true mixed case robotized palletization; our R&D team spent considerable time solving this difficult problem effectively and is rightly proud of this achievement.
Easy to Integrate with Your WMS/TMS
We designed our BlackBox to be configured to work with any system that generates data to a standard schema, using powerful APIs that ensure system integrators will be up and running within a few days.
Custom Solutions Available
Over half of our business focuses on providing custom solutions to meet customers' specific requirements. Many of our customers need to ship products that must be packed in a certain way to ensure they arrive in perfect condition and are accepted by the end-user. We specialize in finding solutions for tricky problems using our decades of experience and knowledge gained within the supply chain industry.