A holistic approach to unit load containment
Finding new ways to reduce BD&L and increase efficiency
As load containment failures lead to higher breakage, damage and loss (BD&L) levels, the initial response is often to “wrap it a few more times.” That increases material costs and labor inefficiencies, and even creates extra waste for downstream supply chain partners. Often overlooked, the construction of your primary packaging, pallet layout and warehouse environment all play a role in the overall structural integrity of unitized loads
“Stretch wrap is just one part of the equation when working to improve unit load containment,” says Jeremy Kell, Load Containment Specialist with Veritiv. “Innovative companies are moving beyond just stretch wrap and are evaluating, improving and monitoring all aspects of their unitized loads in an effort to reduce BD&L and improve the overall efficiency of their packaging and operations. These companies are considering their pallet layout, film application methods, monitoring equipment, freight conditions and labor requirements.
”This holistic approach is ongoing and balances the immediate need to reduce product loss with the long-term goal of ensuring product protection, optimizing packaging material usage and reducing labor requirements.
The type of film and application method are often the first line of defense. In some cases, moving to a stretch film with higher tear- or slip-resistant properties can help improve load containment performance. Working with a supplier that provides access to films from a wide range of manufacturers, combined with in-house unit load testing capabilities, can help reduce the amount of field damage incurred and testing required during the development and evaluation process.
This approach helps you find the right type of film and application methods that deliver the desired results, and allows flexibility as new products are released by different stretch wrap manufacturers.
In addition to films, stretch wrap equipment and ongoing film monitoring technology can help deliver greater packaging consistency, reduce labor requirements and improve visibility and accountability into your operations. Much like buying a car, each piece of equipment is different and finding the right one can take time. However, once the new equipment has been installed it can help deliver cost efficiencies. Once BD&L levels have been reduced through improved stretch wrapping, it’s time to shift the focus to the pallet layout and primary packaging. Experienced packaging designers can help with more than just the look and feel of a primary package—they can design a packaging solution that adds strength to a unitized load. This design-focused approach helps reduce product loss while optimizing warehouse and freight space.
“Experienced packaging designers evaluate all aspects of the business and available packaging materials to create solutions that deliver tangible results,” says Kell. “The key is never to become comfortable with current BD&L levels. There is always opportunity to improve.
”Taking a more holistic approach to your unitized loads will help reduce BD&L and increase packaging material efficiency, improve warehouse and freight space usage, and ensure products arrive safely in the hands of consumers.
Packaging Unwrapped magazine
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