Ensuring a stable load during the distribution cycle is essential in guaranteeing the safety of both the products being transported and everyone involved in the process.
During the transportation of goods, a poorly secured load will shift during maneuvers such as accelerations, decelerations and turning. This risk increases if the load is heavier, since its kinetic energy multiplies. This compromises the integrity of the product being transported and, at times, it can lead to serious accidents.
There are several methods to attain a safe load, which you should know in-depth in order to determine the best one for a type of load and distribution cycle.
Recommendations to ensure a stable load
Choose the right packaging
The study of the goods to be transported and selected route should, first, involve choosing a suitable packaging, using the necessary materials and having the right size.
The packaging will therefore become the goods’ main protection and first barrier against the hazards of the distribution cycle: it can prevent compression damage (if the goods are stacked when en-route or stored), holes, breakages, contamination damage or environmental damage, among others.
Attain a stable pallet
Transportation on pallets allows for easy to handle load units for an adequate shipping and handling. However, attaining a stable pallet is essential to guarantee a stable load during transportation.
Some ways to do this include:
- Have a packaging and goods that are the right size. It is essential for them to have an adequate size for the pallet that they will be travelling on, so that there are no gaps, and ensuring that they do not exceed the size of the base.
- Using stretch film to wrap the unit load. It is important to optimize the amount of film in use as well as guarantee sufficient tension to keep the load packed together.
- When placing the goods on the pallet, the heaviest should be placed at the bottom, with the lightest being stacked on top. Additionally, both the weight and height of the goods should be uniformly distributed.
- Perform simulations to certify that the unit is ready for safe transportation.
Study the conditions of the load in the means of transportation
The selected means of transportation and its conditions largely determine the tools that will be necessary to ensure safety.
When using containers, in order to ensure a safe load, it will be essential to distribute the load uniformly on the floor, avoiding empty spaces and finding the center of gravity. There are also testing methods to guarantee a stable load in this type of transport.
If opting for road freight vehicles, there are several things to keep in mind when determining the load capacity. One of the things to consider will be the wheelbase of the vehicle and the length of space to use depending on the goods being transported and their sizes.
Some other recommendations regarding truck transportation include:
- Uniform distribution of the load across the freight area.
- Placing the heaviest items at the bottom (in case the load is to be stacked) and close to the center of the surface.
- Studying the need to use anchor points or internal bulkheads based on the goods to be transported. Straps, steel cables, chains, sheets, nets and shoring bars are some of the most common load securing systems in road transportation to ensure a stable load.
Under all circumstances, it is paramount to study the goods to be transported (shape, materials, etc.) and the chosen freight system (palletized systems, containers, etc.) to determine the most appropriate securement method.
Analyze the equipment, warehouse and loading & unloading methods
Reviewing and verifying the equipment, warehouse and loading & unloading systems will guarantee that errors will be prevented and that all protocols are suitable toward attaining a stable load.
Regarding the transportation equipment, it will be necessary to check components such as brakes, wheels and turning mechanisms. For the warehouse, it will be essential for there to be sufficient space to maneuver in the aisles, and a suitable area for loading & unloading.
Likewise, in loading & unloading processes, it will be essential to use adequate equipment that does not damage the goods, and properly train the personnel in the safe use of loading & unloading equipment, such as forklifts.
Foster a culture of continuous improvement
As with any successful process, learning involves understanding that processes are continuous and that one must constantly be on the lookout for new solutions.
Through the use of transport simulations, it is possible to calculate the ability of the chosen system to guarantee a stable load, in addition to optimizing the packaging to prevent unnecessary expenses.