Optimizing Your Supply Chain Starts with the Simple Stuff

optimize supply chain

Any supply chain manager is on the constant search for a way to optimize the supply chain. We all look for ways to cut costs, speed up the process and reduce risk. There is an entire industry dedicated to offering solutions for optimizing your supply chain.

Some of the processes used to improve optimization are complex and take years to implement, while there can be a great deal of reward at the end of the implementation period, there are ways to start optimizing right now.

Network Optimization

One of the ways managers improve their supply chain efficiency is through network optimization or network enhancements. It is a valuable tool in improving the flow of the supply chain, accountability and more but it is not the only way you can get better results out of your supply chain.

Start Simple

If you are trying to improve how your supply chain flows, start simple. A quick audit of your packaging can reveal warehouse and transportation savings and efficiency improvements. Your packaging can be:

  • Ringing up costs in time, space and cold hard cash
  • Inflating transportation costs
  • Slowing down labor in the warehouse
  • Increasing overall risk

Packaging plays a vital role in how your supply chain rolls along. There are several factors to consider when you are considering your packaging options. Optimization starts with understanding packaging and its relationship to warehouse operations and transportation.

Consider the Relationship

By optimizing your packaging, you are optimizing your supply chain! There is a direct relationship between packaging optimization and supply chain optimization. Most logistic specialists leave packaging details to other specialists, but this could be a critical mistake.

Packaging can be holding back your supply chain from realizing its full potential as a well-oiled machine. Consider the packaging materials you use to get your products from Point A to Point B.

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Speed Things Up by Optimizing Materials

Complex packaging systems slow things down in the warehouse. Sometimes, the system is not that complex, but it is still slowing things down. For example, using cardboard boxes that must be taped closed. Yes, it takes less than a minute to run that tape across the box, but when that must happen hundreds of times a day or even thousands of times a day, that less than a minute turns into hours of time.

Reduce Cost by Optimizing Materials

That time that is being wasted by using tape instead of other methods is also wasting money. If you could eliminate the need for shrink wrap or tape to secure boxes or goods to a pallet, how much money would you save every year? It is simple savings, but it can certainly add up to impressive savings.

Transportation Can Be Easier

If you are using packaging that is not optimized than you are wasting a lot of money on transportation costs. When you are preparing your products for transportation you are considering the weight not only of your product but also of your packaging.

The goal is to reduce the amount of packaging to reduce the weight to reduce the cost yet never sacrifice protection for the product. You do not want to pay to ship air, which is what you are doing if your packaging is not flexible enough to hold different load sizes.

Complex Packaging Wastes Time in the Warehouse

How much time does your labor have to spend on the packaging? How many steps in the packaging process is required? Time is money and if your warehouse labor is spending a great deal of time dealing with a complex packaging process than you are wasting money. Efficient packaging cuts back on the amount of time that is required to get your products out the door.

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Reducing Risk

Labor injury costs are astronomical. Reducing the risk of labor injuries is vital to reducing overall costs. How do you reduce the risk of injury in the warehouse? You simplify your packaging. The fewer contact employees have with equipment and the packaging process the less risk of injury.

You can reduce the risk of injury and increase protection for your products in the warehouse and during shipping with packaging optimization.

How Can You Do It?

By now, you are wondering, exactly what miracle process will tick off all the things on the list that optimizes packaging. The answer is so simple that it almost seems too good to be true. Wooden pallets outfitted with pallet collars are a great way to optimize your packaging.

You probably already use wooden pallets, adding wooden collars to those pallets solves many of the problems you are facing with packaging optimization.

Quick Facts About Pallet Collars

There are a few quick facts that can help you to understand the real value of pallet collars:

  • They deliver flexibility to meet a wide range of packaging needs
  • They do not require tools, or any special skill set to assemble
  • They fold flat for easy storage
  • They are reusable and recyclable
  • They are cost effective
  • They have a life span of about 10 years

Reducing transportation costs while increasing both product safety and reducing labor risks is easy with pallet collars. You do not have to pay to ship air any more once you implement them in your supply chain.

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Wooden collars stack easily on a wooden pallet to add walls to the pallet. They can be stacked as high as you need or can be as low as you need. They are ideal for both large and small loads. Goods are securely held in place by the pallet collars which means you do not need shrink wrap or other materials to secure the goods in place.

The workflow in the warehouse is optimized with these collars. It takes one person to place the collars. That person does not need to use any hand tools to construct them. Wooden collars come fully assembled. They simply unfold.

They help to optimize the warehouse space by requiring very little space for storage. The savings is also a considerable factor. Collars can be reinserted into the supply chain over and over. They have a long life expectancy, can be repaired, can be recycled and can save you money.

Shrink wrap machines and other equipment for packaging requires maintenance and takes up floor space in the warehouse. Collars do not.

Reduce and Optimize

Changing your packaging process to a process that uses fewer materials, of course, is good for your supply chain and it is also good for the environment. Wooden pallet collars can take the place of shrink wrap, tape and other materials. The system is efficient, flexible and can reduce the amount of materials that you need to ship your goods safely. A simple wooden box created by adding pallet collars to a wood pallet can change how you do business through out your supply chain.

Photo by kevin dooley

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