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What Makes a Well-Prepared Shipment?

Lynne Fisher Gerrie
Lynne Fisher Gerrie

This week at Promtel we unloaded an incoming container. It was a delivery of products for e-Commerce sales to consumers. What's news about this? It is what we do for a living. What's news is how it arrived at our warehouse.

The way the pallets were wrapped was so deliciously fabulous that I stood around marvelling about it with my staff members. We were so mightily impressed! There were so many things to love.



  • The cartons on the pallets were all the same size.
    • 'Not so earth-shattering' I am sure you are thinking but hear me out
    • The cartons fitted exactly onto the base of the pallet in neat configuration, 8 cartons per layer, right to the outer edges but not overhanging by one millimetre. Where Australian Standard pallets are used this means we an easily load them onto our standard Australian racking. This was true for every single pallet
    • The cartons were layered alternatively to make a 'brick wall' effect, creating strength and stability
  • Each carton had an easy-to-read label on the outside
    • The label displayed a colour image of what was inside and included a barcode and a stock code (more on this later) **
  • The pallets were extremely well protected against damage in transit
    • The pallets were plastic-wrapped (not so good for the environment) but they used very little plastic (they are soon to switch to a bio-degradable alternative) because the packers had used recycled cardboard to enclose the cartons after they stacked them and before the plastic wrap
    • This meant
      • not as much plastic used (good)
      • when we cut the plastic off the pallet we were in no danger of damaging the cartons underneath (great - they were protected by the recycled cardboard). All that equals - quicker (saving money for our client in receiving time)
      • the non-damage to the customer's shipping cartons means that we will be able to re-use them to ship out orders - (also saving money for our client in packaging costs)
  • The pallets had even weight distribution
    • This was due to the pallets having consistent carton sizes
    • This means a quicker, safer de-stuff (yes, that's a word in 3PL land) from the container
    • It means a quicker check against paperwork (or electronic advice) of how many cartons we should receive. Even though technology drives most 3PL transactions, it is still necessary for a person to count the cartons. Easy to do if they are uniform. Not easy to do if cartons are all different sizes and packed in a non-uniform way onto pallets that are wrapped, making them difficult to see.
  • The stock inside the cartons was designed to fit perfectly inside each carton
    • What that meant for us is that we knew exactly how much space each product sku (Stock Keeping Unit) would take up on our picking shelves
      • This is key to calculating what you will be paying for your pick-face space
    • If you're not shipping air you are saving money - a full carton is much more efficient to send than a partly empty one
    • So much care and design had gone into each product code to make the use of space that it almost made me weep

** Remember those beautiful, informative labels I mentioned? Well, there was just one tiny little problem - there was only one of them per shipper carton.

Scanning guns can easily and efficiently scan barcodes. Text adds another layer of 'check-ability'. If a human being can read text and obtain information, it can mean the difference between a job going right and a job going wrong.

With only one label per carton, it meant that we could not always see the label. Two labels (one on each side of the carton) would have meant easy visibility no matter how the carton needed to be stacked.

These things may seem irrelevant or at best overkill, but it saves so much time and as we all know, time is money.

Promtel offers more than an effective, IT-driven 3PL service, storing, picking, packing and shipping your goods.

Published on by BiziNet

Promtel Pty Ltd

Promtel Pty Ltd

Tel: 02 9933 8888
Street Address: Units 2 & 3 – 42 Carrington Road, Castle Hill NSW 2154
Postal Address: PO Box 6246, Baulkham Hills BC NSW 2153

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