broken pallet encountered while unloading freight

Broken pallets like this one can cost additional handling time and pose a safety risk.

Costa Solutions received and unloaded over 7.5 million pallets of freight last year. When working at scales of this size, details matter—the smallest inconsistencies can add up to tremendous amounts of lost time and money. Our warehouse labor teams are managed efficiently and our people know how to get the job done right. Unfortunately, they sometimes encounter problems with inbound shipments that mean they have to spend extra time on a given truckload.

Some of the common sub-standard loads we encounter include:

  • Broken or damaged pallets
  • Excessive shrink wrap
  • Shifted loads
  • Pallet types that are not in the supplier contract

When these issues arrive at our clients’ docks, warehouse staff spend extra time re-stacking pallets, cutting miles of shrink wrap, adjusting storage layouts to accommodate off-contract pallets, and manually unloading stock from broken pallets that won’t survive MHE. These delays impact KPIs like time-to-unload and daily unloading volumes.

Our clients’ management teams will notice the effects of an increase in substandard loads quickly thanks to LiveDock, our proprietary warehouse management system (WMS). Mobile-readiness and real-time availability of data means managers don’t have to go digging for operations insights—they have the information in front of them at all times.

But recognizing the impact of substandard loads isn’t enough—a plan for corrective action must be in place. These irregular shipments should be documented and the warehouse or DC should be compensated by the supplier. One broken pallet is not going to upend a supplier relationship, but patterns of irregular shipments can add up to big bucks and major headaches over the course of a year or a busy season.

To assist our clients in holding suppliers accountable, Costa Solutions teams photograph every truckload they get their hands on. This way, managers can review photography to analyze problem shipments and provide concrete proof of substandard work to their suppliers. In this way, patterns can be recognized over time and suppliers can be held to the same level of accountability faced by line-level workers.

We believe that going to extra mile to photograph these trucks quickly solves the issue of substandard loads and contributes to the long-term data collection that makes analysis all the more robust. In the face of rapidly expanding technology, notably machine learning, the warehouse with the most legacy information will be the one best poised to seize new opportunities for efficiency. Are you documenting your freight unloading in as much detail as possible?