Palletization Software: Learn How it Can Help Your Business

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:

Faster Delivery

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.

Keeping Up with the Boom in eCommerce

Anyone who ordered gifts for the recent holidays will know the supply chains are under severe strain at the moment, and many packages failed to arrive on time. While eCommerce has grown significantly over the past few years, there is nothing like a pandemic to bring this into sharper focus. With increasing numbers of people forced to shop online for the foreseeable future, businesses need to adopt a more digitized platform to reach customers successfully, a transformation that is not without its challenges.

Ensuring a Timely Delivery

Customers expect orders to arrive quickly, and a strong eCommerce platform is needed to accomplish this, including excellent logistics support. Good load planning software can make sure a load is packed more accurately, so items to be delivered first are easily accessible.

Reducing Shipping Charges

Paying zero delivery fees or only a minimal charge is becoming the norm, even while customers expect faster delivery times. However, shipping costs have increased, and offering free shipping can eat into the bottom line significantly. Some companies will offer free shipping as standard for orders over a certain threshold, but making sure orders are packaged correctly can greatly reduce shipping costs, using appropriately sized cartons and less costly fill material. The most sophisticated Cartonization software in eCommerce can select the correct carton and calculate shipping costs almost in real-time.

Another option is to include shipping in the price and include any custom fees for international shipments. The order can clear customs more quickly, and customers receive their order more promptly and without the fear of paying unknown customs costs.

Reverse Logistics

It is important to consider reverse logistics and to decide if customers are responsible for the cost of returns or how to reduce these costs. One option is to use 3PL partners with their own warehouses and logistics operations. Otherwise, one way to reduce the number of returns is by ensuring each order is handled properly. When an order is correctly picked and packed, not only are shipping costs reduced, but the risk of damage to these items is also lower.

The Importance of Using the Right Logistics Software

MagicLogic load planning software is developed in-house with one goal in mind; to provide companies with the most powerful load planning software available today. Cube-IQ® is our state-of-the-art load planning software program. It is intuitive to use and has a complete database engine built-in. Our BlackBox® optimizer provides Cartonization for eFulfillment and Mixed Palletization using robotics. It optimizes carton selection, order after order.

Our software solutions are helping companies to increase efficiency and save time and money every day. Read our recent case study for True Manufacturing to learn more.

Pallets, Palletization Software and the Supply Chain

We tend to take pallets for granted as they are everywhere and can be a nuisance for businesses once unloaded. However, they are a critical part of the supply chain, and the supply of pallets is affected when they remain in one place for too long. Around two billion pallets are estimated to be in circulation in the United States alone, and over 90% of goods are shipped on pallets. Palletization software ensures pallets are loaded optimally and securely. A poorly loaded pallet results in damaged goods and an unstable load, and of course, can waste valuable and expensive space.

While pallets might have been around for decades, they are becoming more important than ever to supply chains, especially as warehouses become increasingly automated. The need to keep pallets in circulation has never been more important than during the past fifteen months, as consumer demand for paper goods, cleaning supplies, and food and drinks increased exponentially. Dwell time, or the time it takes for a pallet to be delivered for use, loaded with products, and delivered before being returned for re-use, is a particular headache for shippers. But today’s pallets are getting smarter, thanks to newer technologies.

Pallets can be fitted with barcodes and RFID tags. RFID tags are particularly useful for companies that haven’t yet integrated their technology systems as they are easily tracked across different systems. They also allow for easy recall of products, if needed.

The materials used to make pallets are also changing. Although traditional wood pallets are still used, plastic pallets are increasingly in demand for automated systems. They can last longer and don’t have any nails or broken boards or leave behind dust and debris that could affect smooth automation or cause product damage. Additionally, plastic pallets are easier to clean and ideal for the post-pandemic world – and can be produced sustainably.

Plastic pallets can be made from manufacturing or packaging waste. Once they come to the end of their useful life, they can be ground down and remade into new pallets. Wood pallets tend to have a more limited lifespan, and it takes valuable resources to manufacture and recycle them. Anyone who has recently had the dubious pleasure of needing lumber will realize the huge price increases make switching to plastic pallets even more attractive.

As automation becomes the norm, high-speed palletization helps to ensure every pallet earns its keep. It is an area where MagicLogic can help with our advanced mixed-palletization software.

Utilizing the Power of BlackBox Palletization Software

BlackBox load optimization software has a separate engine developed specifically for mixed palletization. It includes the building of layers, semi-layers, and an automatic switch to free stacking when necessary. Our mixed palletization engine has pallet stability as its main goal, achieving maximum fill quality and maximum load stability. BlackBox can also provide a stacking sequence suitable for robotics, including configurable parameters for different end of arm tools and approach points. Interested in learning more? Read about BlackBox and its capabilities on our website. Contact us today for your software demonstration.

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