Does your load mapping tool recognize the maximum capacity for each pallet, which might vary by compartment? Does it allow for a separate set of capacities for high volume loads where product is expected to be hand-stacked above the normal levels in order to meet the requirements of the route? Other load situations require containers with special footprints (e.g., carts, bread trays, or small wood) or certain product types (e.g., totes or ice cream coolers). Some special containers (such as bulk cylinders) remain fixed within the vehicle and are not removed even after its product has been removed—in which case the diagramming algorithm must take into account the fixed container to allow a workable unloading sequence for the remaining stops.
9. Special Customer Requirements
Distribution is a service, and the end customer or delivery point will often have special requirements. Some customers want products loaded on separate pallets so that whole pallets are unloaded at a dock without the driver having to handle individual cases. Your diagramming solution must be able to honor such customer demands.
10. Product Requirements
In addition to customer requirements, certain product types also have special handling considerations. For example, ice cream may need to be packed in coolers, high volume products may be loaded in bulk as full pallets to reduce selection time, and other product types may need to be grouped separately from others, e.g. keeping cleaning and other caustic product separate from foods.
In short, load planning is more than assigning a trailer type based on an order’s cube volume. It should not miss the key ingredient of the load map, for fast and accurate loading and unloading of trailers.
Matthew D. Bent is the president of Syntelic Solutions Corporation, a Food Logistics Top 100 technology provider located in Germantown, Maryland.