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Blog posts from Marshall Cromer, "The Forklift Boss". Follow us for information on forklift safety, available parts, & upcoming technologies shaping the future of material handling!
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  • Are You Maximizing Your Trailer Space?

    by Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Sep 26, 2017

    If Not, You're Throwing Money Away on Each Pallet

    “The pallet is the unit that controls the world.”

    That’s what I told a group of attendees at the Doosan Boot Camp last week.  The boot camp ran from September 19-21 in Atlanta.

    My Forklift Boss T-Shirt

    Doosan kindly gave me presentation time. (I had a Forklift Boss t-shirt. It’s awesome.) While speaking, I challenged the attendees to tell me their average pallet weight. I offered $20 to anyone who could give me the weight amount. 

    Nobody won it.

    Why is average pallet weight important? If you ship even a single truck of product out this holiday season, you need to know the answer. Let's break it down.

    How Many Pallets can You Fit in a Shipping Trailer?

    There are three shipping trailer sizes in use today: 40-foot, 48-foot, and 53-foot. A standard GMA pallet is 48" long x 40" wide.

    Some simple math tells us that a 53-foot trailer (636” long) will fit 13 pallets lengthwise, with about 1 foot extra. These trailers are wide enough for two rows of pallets. So you’re looking at 26 pallets per 53-foot trailer.

    Pallet Specs

    What does this have to do with weight? Now that we know how many pallets we can add in, we can determine how much each needs to weigh. But there’s one more thing to take into account.

    Are Your Shipping Trailers Full? If Not, They Cost You Money

    Every time a shipping truck has to stop at a weigh station, they must meet certain state guidelines on gross weight. In California, shipping trucks cannot weigh over 80,000 pounds. (Some states go up to 84,500 pounds.)

    But that’s the total weight. It includes the weight of the trailer itself, and the truck pulling it!

    We don’t have 80,000 pounds to work with. We have 80,000 pounds minus the weight of the truck & trailer.

    By law, the truck & trailer cannot weigh more than 38,000 pounds. So we have...

    80,000 pounds [gross weight] – 38,000 pounds [truck & trailer] =
    42,000 pounds [max weight of product]

    42,000 pounds to work with. Those 26 pallets need to weigh 42,000 pounds total. If they don’t, you’re not maximizing the trailer’s shipping value.

    If we divide the product weight by the number of pallets determined earlier:

    42,000 pounds [max product weight] / 26 [number of pallets in a 53-foot trailer] =
    1,615 pounds per pallet

    For a smaller container (40-foot):

    42,000 pounds [max product weight] / 20 [number of pallets in a 40-foot trailer] =
    2,100 pounds per pallet

    Each pallet must carry 1,615 pounds in weight to maximize trailer space for 53-foot containers. If you have a 40-foot container, it’s 2,100 pounds per pallet. Now we know what each pallet’s average weight should be!

    Why is this important? Consider what happens if a shipping truck pulls up to a weigh station, and it’s either over the gross weight, or under it.

    OVER GROSS WEIGHT:

    If either a trailer’s front or back axles are overloaded (above 34,000 pounds per double axle at the weigh station), then they have to rearrange the trailer’s contents. Right at the weigh station. The truck cannot leave until it’s below the max gross weight, and its axles are balanced.

    You’re losing money for all the time the truck is stationary (and not traveling to its destination).

    UNDER GROSS WEIGHT:

    An under-loaded truck at a weigh station won’t have to deal with delays. But you’ll have less total profit from that shipment than you could have.

    One or more pallets in the trailer are under-loaded. You could have shipped more product in the trailer. Which means you lost money by not filling each pallet to their average weight.

    Maximize Your Trailer Space for Maximum Profit per Shipment

    Now you know why I asked the Doosan boot camp attendees, What is the average weight of YOUR pallets?

    Do you know yours? If not, you may be losing money on each & every pallet leaving the warehouse. Check the weights using the math I’ve given here. Hopefully it helps you reach maximum profit!

    Until next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

     

    ForkliftBoss.com Deal of the Month

    2017 DOOSAN LPG 5K FORKLIFT – $23,866

    Doosan G25N DealFor our September Deal of the Month, we’re offering our brand-new 2017 Doosan G25Ns. These forklifts are LPG, with a 5,000# capacity.  They’re the best 5K in the industry.

    Hauling loads in these is a breeze. Each has a Nissan 2.5L engine, oil-cooled disc brakes, and tires with 30% more rubber than competitor trucks. Best of all, since they’re brand new, they come with a 2-year warranty.

    We have a few of these Doosans in stock at the Oakland location. You get the best price with Cromer—only $23,866.

    Want to lease a G25N? With Cromer, your lease option is only $295/month.

    Interested? Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for the new Doosan 5Ks.