If It Fits, We Ships.

One thing I love about my simulations and case studies is that all the packages are generally nice and neat.  This means all my numbers add up, everything can fit nicely beside each other, all packed nice and neat.

Then your professor will burst your little OCD bubble and show you a real packaging and shipping scenario.

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I physically twitched when I saw this.

And before you ask, no, the goods were not turned away. But this is a very good example of what sort of thing you’ll face in logistics.  So let’s discuss how you, as a logistics manager, would handle this.

If you’re working within a 3PL (That’s 3rd Party Logistics), your main point will consist to be an advocate for the customer and have them understand the risk in shipping their goods as such.  You’ll probably be met with, “but this is the way we’ve always done it.” Maybe this way is cheaper, but you can point out how it could cost them in the long run.  So let’s break this down.

The pallet needed is not the standard 4×4 pallet, so handling will be different, which can also mean more costs associated with the handling and more room for error.  This doesn’t mean a forklift couldn’t be used, the goods could actually be pushed across a warehouse floor.  But if your forklift operator isn’t skilled, this could spell disaster.

The next glaringly obvious thing (which is what made me twitch) was that it’s not cubed.  You can’t stack these goods and there’s overhang with the metal poles, both in the front and in the back.  This means a bigger risk for goods getting damaged during transit.

With the unusual pallet size coupled with a non-cubed, overhanging goods – this means the added cost for items such as airbags/spacing/decking to attempt to keep the goods safe.  And with the increased risk of goods damaged you’re looking at lost sales and having to deal with insurance as well as the time utility of replacing the goods.

These are very real and very valid key points you’d want to point out to the customer and advocate another way to ship.  And they may not want too and if they don’t want to change, just do your best to ensure the safe handling and transport of the goods and move forward.
No matter how much you internally twitch at this.

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