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Intelligent Supply Chain Solutions from iGPS

Deadhead Trucking Avoiding Empty Miles

No one in logistics likes deadhead trucking. The term refers to driving a big rig without a load, and when trucks are driven empty no one is making money from the trip. In fact, since the truck is burning fuel without transporting product, a deadhead trip actually loses money. If the driver is an hourly…

How to Use Warehouse Picking Best Practices

Warehouse picking is the simple act of pulling product loads out of inventory. However, picking the right loads and doing so speedily without wasting time double-checking manifests can be complicated. The difficulty of the task scales up with the size of the warehouse, the density of the product it contains, and the number of different…

How Does Pallet Pooling Work?

If you work in logistics, you’ve probably had to deal with pallets quite a bit. You know how hard it can be to find an economical way of returning them to the start of the supply chain for reuse. You’ve dealt with the hassle of sorting them, stacking them, and getting rid of unusable pallets,…

Finding Cost-Effective Pallet Management Strategies

If you’ve spent any amount of time around a grocery store or other packaged goods retailer, you know that abandoned pallets are a common sight. Orphaned pallets can often be found propped against the back walls of retail stores where drivers abandoned them after delivery. To dispose of the pallets, the retailer will generally end…

How to Sanitize Plastic Pallets: Keeping Your Supply Chain Hygienic

Across this great land, piled behind millions of grocery and department stores, are millions of reusable wood block pallets. At many of those stores, teenagers working their first jobs have been ordered to add another pallet to the stack out back, and are thinking, “Ew, I have to touch that?” Wood pallets easily collect grime…

Dealing with and Preventing Rejected Loads

Having worked in the supply chain, I can vouch for the fact that rejected loads are one of the things that truckers hate most. After a journey across the state or even the country, it’s a blow to arrive at your destination only to find that the receiver won’t accept a portion or the entirety…

What Is Palletizing?

Anyone who has worked in logistics and had to explain a situation in the field has probably been frustrated by the way their phone’s autocorrect changes the word “pallets” to “palates” or “palettes.” The shipping pallet just isn’t discussed or appreciated by the average consumer. But just as important as pallets–and just as unheralded–is what…

The Advantages and Disadvantages of an ASRS

Heavy equipment operators are a famously hardheaded lot, given to trusting their skills with the forklift over anything else. I know at least a couple warehouse supervisors and logistics coordinators who have heard an almighty crash and emerged from their offices to find products all over the warehouse floor and a sheepish forklift operator trying…

The Warehouse of the Future: Planning for Intelligent Transformation

Twenty years ago, a warehouse worker would wake up, fill a thermos with coffee, and hop into his car to drive to work. He might run into traffic on the way there and flip through radio stations looking for a good song. When he arrived at the warehouse, he would get the day’s paperwork from…

Warehouse Racking Safety Guidelines: Satisfying OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is something of a bogeyman to most employers. While the agency has an important job—keeping workplaces and workers safe—its rules are often nuanced, detailed, and hard to follow, making it easy to accidentally violate an obscure rule. Violations usually carry steep penalties, so large companies pour resources into…

Following Lean Warehousing Principles for Improved Efficiency

Many logistics coordinators see their main task as ensuring that there is enough inventory on hand at all times to meet demands. Their biggest concern is running short of products or components, leaving them unable to meet customers’ needs. However, an excess of inventory is also a problem that can leave your warehouses and distribution…

How to Keep a Warehouse Clean

One of the constants of working in a warehouse is grit, grime, and miscellaneous trash that no one really knows the source of. Keeping a warehouse clean is an ongoing struggle, and one that is becoming more and more important. A dirty or cluttered warehouse is not only an eyesore and a safety hazard, but…

Cold Chain Best Practices: Tips for Temperature-Sensitive Products

The cold chain is likely the most unforgiving supply chain in logistics, and it isn’t hard to understand why. It’s energy intensive to run cooling systems in storage and transportation, and the environment between transportation vehicles and storage areas is often uncontrolled and, indeed, uncontrollable. As a result, the weather can affect the viability of…

The Block Pallet vs. Stringer Pallet: Choosing a Platform for Your Product

Having the right shipping pallet for your products is vitally important to ensuring those products move through the supply chain safely. A reliable pallet makes the difference between swiftly moving product off the truck and to its next destination, and picking single inventory items off the floor of the receiving dock because of pallet failure.…

AGVs in the Warehouse: What to Know About Implementing Autonomous Guided Vehicles

If you work in logistics, you may have noticed that you had to pay entry level warehouse workers more to start this year, and that even with the extra pay you had more trouble filling your ranks than in the past. Being short-handed may have left you struggling to meet quotas or perform compliance checks…

Good Warehouse Practices in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Losses associated with temperature lapses in the pharmaceutical supply chain are estimated at $320 billion globally, a number larger than the combined market valuation of Visa, Intel, and Walmart. Plainly, reliable supply chains are critically important for the profitability of the pharmaceutical industry and for the safety of consumers. While the medical professionals who administer…

Supply Chain Trends for 2018: The Future of Logistics

It’s been a good year for business. In April 2018, the unemployment rate dipped below the four percent mark for the first time in over a decade, and those employees have started to spend their wages. The supply chain has sprung to life to provide consumers with the products they demand. It’s a heartening sign…

Using Lean Supply Chain Management to Eliminate Waste

It wasn’t very long ago that warehouses in every industry stored not only what was ordered, but also a generous surplus of products in order to meet unexpected demand. It was a method that complicated purchasing and forced warehouses to work around lots of unsold goods, leading to waste when out-of-date groceries and pharmaceuticals had…

GMA Pallet Grades: How and Why Are Pallets Graded?

The Second World War revolutionized supply technology. The Allies created a global supply chain to keep their armies around the world stocked with food, ammunition, and machinery. The wood pallet—at the time a revolutionary concept in a 48”x48” square—carried most of these goods to battlefronts around the world. After the war, the revolutionary pallet concept…

Maximizing Warehouse Space to Make the Most of Your Building

A warehouse only operates at peak efficiency when the warehouse manager is able to play live-action Tetris in three dimensions in order to find space for inventory. This difficult job isn’t made easier by the warehouse manager’s distance from the company’s decision makers. Many at the executive level pay little attention to logistics systems. A…

How to Stack Empty Pallets Safely

When a pallet is emptied at your warehouse or distribution center, chances are good it’ll be used again. This means that pallets start to accumulate around the loading docks until enough pile up to make it worthwhile to ship them back up the supply chain. After all, a handful of pallets hardly justifies the fuel…

Warehouse Inventory Management Techniques That Trim Costs

Logistics coordinators are the great unsung heroes of the modern world. Without their work constantly managing the supply chain to ensure that products are delivered on time, we’d go without the necessities of daily life like fresh food, medicine, toiletries, and a million other things that keep us in good health. We quite literally owe…

Achieving Cost Reduction in Logistics Management

A business’ number one priority is the bottom line. After all, companies are in business to make money. Unfortunately, the old adage that you have to spend money to make money is true. Manufacturing, transportation, and distribution all cost money even before any sales are made. Naturally, executives and managers are under pressure from shareholders…

Pallet Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Employees Injury-Free

On July 26, 2017, as three warehouse employees were trying to remove a block of wood that was jammed beneath a pallet, an unsecured load fell and amputated one employee’s thumb. Later that month in a different warehouse, an employee pulling a pallet jack tripped over a stack of empty pallets and fractured his ankle.…

How to Reduce Product Damage During Transportation

It’s normal for some products to be damaged during their journey from the manufacturer to the retailer. In fact, one important task of retail managers is to inspect incoming shipments for damaged products and intercept the damaged goods before they can enter inventory. Later they’ll record the product data and arrange to ship the damaged…

Distribution Center Best Practices That Increase Efficiency

Distribution centers are the linchpin of a company’s supply chain. A distribution center can serve anywhere from 50 to 125 retail stores, and is frequently responsible for keeping an entire region fully stocked with products. At a distribution center, an accident or issue that brings work to a halt could create a regional crisis for…

What Are ISO Standard Pallet Dimensions?

During the industrial revolution, anyone building a structure or putting together machinery found themselves with a problem. No two people could agree on acceptable dimensions for a girder, and even something as simple as a screw wasn’t standardized for use across different projects. In the early twentieth century, national governments began to create standard bodies…

How to Make the Most of Supply Chain Automation

If you’ve ever walked into a grocery store–or any sort of store–then you’ve probably seen a stocker scanning individual items before placing them back on the shelf. He or she is checking the stock keeping unit (SKU) to help keep track of what the store has on the shelf, what is still in inventory, and…

How to Increase Truck Loading Efficiency to Lower Your Cost of Business

In 2013, the Ford Motor Company made headlines by announcing that, instead of steel, its popular F-150 line of pickup trucks would be made almost entirely out of aluminum, from the engine block to the frame. The move sent a shockwave through the automotive world. The high cost of aluminum meant that the change was…

Why the Dairy Supply Chain Should Use Plastic Pallets

The dairy industry is very aware of the advantages of a plastic pallet. In fact, if you’re shopping around for a pallet for dairy in the 40×40 pallet size, most of the pallets that you’ll see are in fact plastic pallets. Anyone who has ever smelled sour milk will immediately grasp the obvious advantage of…

How to Prevent Forklift Damage

One of the most persistent problems in logistics supply chains is damage caused by forklifts. It is a constant complication that dogs companies through every phase of their logistics operations by creating additional costs and complicating the delivery of products. Forklift damage comes in several forms: product can be damaged by the forklift as it…

Solutions for Food Supply Chain Challenges: How the Right Pallet Helps

If you’re in the grocery business you know that margins are tight and you make your money on volume. If you’re a retailer, any disruption to your production or supply chain that delays shipment or renders food unfit to be sold will impact your profit margin. If you’re a manufacturer, a disruption can mean that…

Warehouse Operations Best Practices: Increasing Efficiency and Safety

If you manage a warehouse or work in logistics, you’ve probably experienced how a sudden influx of products you don’t have space for can disrupt all of your operations. It’s challenging to run a warehouse or distribution center smoothly, and the changing demands of management and consumers complicate operations. Customers and business executives are notoriously…

How Plastic Pallets Increase Pallet Handling Safety

Injuries in the warehouse are shockingly common. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics put the rate of injury at five per 100 warehouse employees in 2016. In comparison, logging, which is widely recognized as the most dangerous job in America, averaged 3.6 injuries per 100 employees during that same year. The overwhelming majority of warehouse…

Cold Chain Management for Pharmaceuticals: Choosing a Pallet

One recent Sunday, I checked my apartment’s mailbox to find that the postman had left me a key to one of the lockboxes where the apartment stores packages as they arrive. At first, I was excited; I thought that the new graphics card I’d ordered for my PC had arrived. When I opened the lockbox…

Green Warehouse Practices: Running an Eco-Friendly Storage Warehouse

In the words of Niall FitzGerald, former CEO of Unilever, “Corporate social responsibility is a hard-edged business decision. Not because it is a nice thing to do or because people are forcing us to do it…because it is good for our business.” Businesses aren’t immune to the consequences of waste and excessive energy consumption; wasted…

Pharmaceutical Product Transportation: Why Your Pallet Matters

Pharmaceutical products are the result of centuries of insights, years of rigorous research, and the incredible feats of engineering that it took to turn all that science into a reliable production line. Yet, the distribution and transportation of pharmaceuticals is its own difficult field. Pharmaceutical product transportation is one of the biggest challenges in the…

How to Reduce Product Damage in the Warehouse with Plastic Pallets

No matter what industry you’re in, product damage is frustrating. If you’re in retail, you must carefully sort out damaged products from your shipment, note them, and send them back for credit. If you’re in the warehouse and notice product damage, you also have to find a place to store the damaged product and coordinate…

Improving Cube Utilization in the Warehouse

A vital part of meeting the growing demands of consumers is getting more of your goods to market. Producing those extra goods is often a relatively simple matter of assigning extra shifts to production or working more fields. In the supply chain, though, those extra goods pose more difficulties. Attempting to fit more product into…

Damage Prevention in the Supply Chain: How Plastic Pallets Can Help

Product damage during transit is universal in the supply chain. After all, you cannot tell a bag of lettuce or a shipment of medication to be careful on its journey to market, and unlike piggies, damaged products do not go “wee, wee, wee,” all the way home. Manufacturers have become used to simply reporting the…

What Are the Benefits of Warehouse Automation?

You could say these are the best of times to be in business and the worst of times. On the positive side, after almost a decade of little or no growth, businesses are finally expanding again as inventory moves out and orders bring production lines back to life. On the other hand, transportation and labor…

3 Ways to Improve Operational Efficiency Using Plastic Platform Pooling

Once your product is manufactured, then the real work begins of getting it to consumers via a complicated network of trucks and trains. A supply chain’s operations move staggering amounts of product every day, and its smooth function is what keeps your business going. There is no escaping the costs of running a supply chain;…

How to Exceed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Industry Standards

In mid-May of this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally told consumers it is safe to resume purchasing and eating romaine lettuce following an outbreak of E.coli linked to romaine lettuce products. The reason isn’t that the exact source was found or the outbreak contained, but that the growing season of the region…

Why Efficient Supply Chain Management Systems Rely on Plastic Pallets

In logistics management, timetables are finely tuned. Grocery and pharma industries depend on just-in-time delivery to get perishable goods to market. The just-in-time approach—pioneered by Toyota—focuses on making or delivering only what is needed, when it is needed, and in only the amounts that are needed. It is a philosophy that frees companies from spending…

Why Pallets for Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems Should Be Plastic

The pace of business in the grocery and pharma industries is relentless. Meeting the standards of consumers and regulators means constantly refining processes to increase efficiency. But sometimes maintaining the required productivity and accuracy is beyond the capabilities of mere mortals, particularly in the warehouse. For this reason, many companies are choosing Automated Storage and…

How to Increase the Average Fuel Mileage for Semi-Trucks

Lately, as you pay the fuel bills for your shipping fleet or negotiate with your carriers, you may find that the prices leave you with a headache. Transportation costs are rising across the supply chain and are higher than they’ve been in a long time. In the transportation industry, there’s currently a perfect storm of…

Standard GMA Pallet Dimensions: Why 48″x40″ Uniformity Matters

If you work in logistics you know how important standardization is. It allows equipment separated by thousands of miles to handle the same materials without difficulty or downtime. Standards across markets are quite literally what make global trade possible. If your company is operating in North America, then you likely use a 48-by-40-inch pallet that…

Sustainable Supply Chain Management: The Case for Recyclable Plastic Pallets

In the 1960s, when the environmental movement first began, environmentalists and businessmen were mortal enemies. After all, the modern environmental movement coalesced when Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring pointed a finger at the chemical industry. Today, sustainability is a common topic of discussion around conference rooms in nearly every industry. The plain fact–one that companies…

Cold Chain Logistics Management and Shipping: Why Plastic Pallets Are Best

Products shipped through cold chain logistics are diverse. They include steaks, salads, and life-saving vaccinations. One thing they have in common is enough value to justify the expense of maintaining the cold storage and refrigerated vehicles required to ship them. With each product, a mistake as simple as taking too long to load or unload…

How to Optimize Food Supply Chain Management for Safety and Sustainability

Consider the taco. Rarely does anyone stop in their local grocery store to think about what it took to get meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, and tortillas to their neighborhood grocery store. All of these products are grown and prepared in different places and shipped long distances through the food supply chain. Without the…

How Hygienic Plastic GMA Pallets Can Increase Safety

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that for every 100 workers in the warehouse and storage industry, five suffered a work-related injury or illness in 2016. Of these, 1.7 had to miss days of work as a result, and two were restricted from performing their regularly assigned duties for a period. Considering that in December…

Why Are Transportation Costs Increasing for Supply Chains?

Consumers are likely noticing that some grocery items–a box of Honey Nut Cheerios, for instance–now cost more than they used to. They’re also likely to find that these price increases aren’t confined to the cereal aisle. The culprit is higher transportation and logistics costs in the U.S., which have caused industries across the board to…

Fresh Food Logistics: How Plastic Pallet Pooling Simplifies Safe Distribution

Recently, consumers were told to avoid romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona due to E. coli contamination that made 98 people ill. Since it’s difficult for consumers (and sometimes even for grocery stores) to be certain where their lettuce is from, as a result, most people completely avoided romaine lettuce for a time, which affected the…

The Top 5 Pharma Supply Chain Challenges in 2018

In 2009, Johnson & Johnson made several recalls of their popular over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol after a musty odor was reported by consumers. The company was continually forced to make larger recalls over the next couple of years, with the final one in 2011. The origin of the musty smell consumers had been reporting was…

How to Overcome Logistics Challenges in the Pharmaceutical Industry with Plastic Pallet Pooling

Of all the products that move through our supply chains, pharmaceuticals are some of the most sensitive and expensive. Vaccines and other injectables need temperature-sensitive environments to remain safe and effective, and even the tiniest sign of damage to a pharmaceutical’s bottle or blister pack means a loss of product. Damage caused by mishandling or…

How to Reduce Logistics Cost on Transportation with Industrial Plastic Pallet Pooling

Anyone in business knows that sales numbers sometimes seem like staggering amounts of money. A million pounds of apples sold at $1.68 per pound would appear to yield a princely $1.68 million. However, this number is deceptive because it doesn’t take into consideration the wholesale cost of the apples and what was spent getting them…

Why Green Supply Chain Management Practices Can’t Ignore Eco-Friendly Plastics

In 2014, Nobel prize winner Desmond Tutu penned an article calling for people of conscience to boycott companies that deal in fossil fuels in order to encourage corporations to begin reducing carbon emissions. You may have noticed that the public has grown increasingly aware of environmental issues and is more willing than ever to boycott…

Food Hygiene Regulations: How to Easily Meet FSMA Compliance Requirements

This year could see tons of food recalled in the name of safety. As of April 6, all shippers and carriers of food should be in compliance with the new rules for sanitary transportation laid out by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as part of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). The FSMA…