It’s impossible to predict every jolt, jerk, or jostling that a shipment will sustain during its journey. There is inevitably going to be some type of movement that causes a load to shift as it goes from warehouse to transport to its final destination. Today’s supply chain faces a double-edged sword: a lack of workers and tighter deadlines. This puts transportation professionals under greater pressure to get shipments out the door as quickly as possible with fewer hands to do the work. And that can lead to hasty decisions and reckless maneuvers that can result in load shifting. This blog will focus on load shifting: what it is, what it can cost a shipper and the multiple ways that a warehousing 3PL can help shippers bounce back from load shifting.
What is Load Shifting?
Load shifting occurs when an unexpected change in the position of a pallet or cargo load during transit causes damage to the cargo or puts the transport in a dangerous situation. For instance, the freight gets shifted and crashes into another load or into the wall of the truck. This is likely to cause damage to the load and perhaps the truck. In another example, the pallet the load is on pulls away from its anchors and spills some or all of the cargo onto the road. This not only causes damage to the load but could create a hazard for other vehicles on the road.
In both cases, the shifting likely results in costly damage or loss of the products in the shipment.
Even weight distribution to reduce the risk of a rollover accident is crucial, and when a load shifts, it could put the truck out of balance and increase the chance of it turning onto its side. If it is a trailer, the imbalance could cause it to swing outward from the cab and lead to a jackknife accident when the driver tries to stop the truck. Improper loading and securing are the leading causes of a load shift. By taking the time to prepare and secure the shipment and pallet correctly, you can prevent load shifts and keep the product, the drivers, and the road safe.
The High Cost of Load Shifts
When a load shift occurs, the costs can be much more than just the price of the product that was damaged. Let’s take a look at some of the other ways that load shifts can hurt your bottom line:
- Employee time spent on reworking: When a load shift causes damage, employees are forced to stop what they’re doing and focus on rework of the product. Reworking is the often difficult process of inspecting and repackaging returned merchandise to go back into stock. It may take days or weeks before returned items can get back into the inventory cycle. Keeping added tasks off employees’ plates is especially important right now because of the labor shortages, both with drivers and warehouse workers. In a survey by Instawork, 73% of businesses said they have problems attracting employees, almost three times as much as in the previous survey. There is precious little time for the already-swamped employees to switch to reworking.
- Shipment denial: There are times when a receiver will see a single damaged item on a load and refuse to take responsibility for the shipment, leaving the shipper out in the cold. The shipper then has to figure out how to get the shipment back to rework it and then restart the process of shipping it again.
- Backing up the supply chain: Load shifts can put an undue burden on the entire supply chain, with many partners waiting for the reworking to be finished. Any swift turnaround in reworking the product can be crucial in cutting down the reverberations throughout the supply chain.
Three Ways a Warehousing 3PL Can Help Shippers Recover From Load Shifts
Third-party logistics (3PL) providers usually offer many services. One of the specialized types of 3PL is a warehousing 3PL, which allows you to put your inventory in a warehouse if you don’t have room for your products. Your order can go directly to the 3PL’s warehouse, and they can then gather and package your product before shipping it. Third-party logistics warehouses can maximize speed and efficiency because they can handle the extra volume.
Most 3PLs offer value-added services that include reworking (mentioned above), adding on labels, kitting, personalizing items, return management, and disposal or destruction of certain returned items. With many of these services, a 3PL can make a shipper’s life a lot easier if they are saddled with a load shift and damaged products. Here’s how a 3PL can help:
With a warehousing 3PL, drivers are no longer left trying to figure out how to deal with a load shift that results in damage. The dedicated staff at a warehousing 3PL can help shippers recover from load shifts. It allows a shipper’s in-house employees to stay focused on getting freight from Point A to Point B and revenue-increasing enterprises rather than trying to figure out the how, when, and where a product can be reworked.
No doubt, most people have heard of the expression “the damage has been done.” Well, with the help of a warehousing 3PL, a shipper can at least have some of the damage undone. At a 3PL warehouse, the employees can sort through merchandise to consolidate goods in damaged shipments. This enables more pallets to be shipped out without damage and limits costs associated with reverse logistics of damaged freight.
Along with helping save as much of the product as possible, a warehousing 3PL can allow a product to be back out on the market faster because it doesn’t have to be returned to the original manufacturer. The product can be turned around quickly by on-hand, experienced personnel ready to limit the adverse effects of load shifts.
When Load Shifts Happen, Shippers Turn to Port Jersey Logistics
When a load shifts, it can cause many other shifts in the supply chain. For a shipper, a load shift can mean the damage of goods and lead to major headaches while trying to salvage what they can out of what is left. But the shipper has an option that can help reduce those troubles — a warehousing 3PL partner. With a warehousing 3PL, a shipper can have a place to accumulate their inventory and a staff that has expertise in reworking the product so it can quickly and efficiently be put back on the market.
Since 1954, Port Jersey Logistics has provided outstanding services with knowledgeable, experienced staff. Port Jersey Logistics manages over 1 million square feet of warehouse space in the Northeast Corridor and has the ability to rework products along with other services like kitting, blister packaging, personalizing items, and more. If you are in need of a partner that offers expertise along with state-of-the-art systems and facilities, then check out our website and hopefully shift a load off your mind.