At Red Stag Fulfillment, we ship thousands of separate parcels to individual consumers. But, since eCommerce fulfillment is constantly evolving, our services continue to grow and change. Recently, we’ve had more clients requesting palletized shipping. So here’s what you should know for successful palletized shipping.
What is palletized shipping?
In traditional order fulfillment, a 3PL picks one or more items, boxes up the order, and ships it to the customer. For palletized shipping, multiple products or cases of merchandise are loaded onto pallets and secured for bulk shipping. Pallets are often wrapped with plastic film to hold the items in place.
You can use a service like FedEx Freight or a trucking company to send palletized shipments. They are too bulky to ship via regular carrier services.
Is LTL the same as palletized shipping?
LTL stands for less-than-truckload freight. LTL provides an economical option when a business needs to ship freight but doesn’t have enough for a full-truckload (FTL) shipment. Freight carriers load LTL shipments from multiple senders onto the same truck. LTL loads may switch trucks on the way to their destination, as the trucking company finds space on different transport for different segments of the route.
LTL shipments are usually secured on pallets for easy loading and unloading. Palletized shipping is a type of LTL shipping since shipments on pallets are usually sent via LTL freight.
When is palletized shipping the best option?
At Red Stag Fulfillment, we see two instances when palletized shipping is the best choice for our clients: oversized consumer deliveries and B2B shipments.
Larger products may be too big to ship through regular FedEx, UPS, or USPS services. These items can ship by LTL freight direct to customers’ doorsteps. For example, one of Red Stag Fulfillment’s clients sells a large and heavy piece of equipment via D2C eCommerce. Each machine arrives at our warehouse on a pallet. When someone orders one, we ship the product with the pallet via FedEx Freight.
Freight deliveries to residential addresses do require extra logistics. First, neighborhood streets may be challenging for a large truck to navigate. Also, since homes rarely have loading docks, it’s crucial to send a truck with a lift gate to lower the palletized shipment from the trailer to the ground.
B2B or bulk shipments
The more common palletized shipments are wholesale or bulk. When an eCommerce business needs to send an order to a retail store or a company, the most efficient and cost-effective delivery option is often LTL freight.
The LTL shipping process
When Red Stag Fulfillment gets an order for palletized shipping, we first pull the SKUs for the order. Then we determine how many pallets we need to pack the items safely. Next, we weigh the shipment.
Every order is a bit different. Stacking 20 boxes that are identical in size in shape on a pallet is straightforward. However, when we need to palletize 10 of one SKU with 15 of another, we have to figure out the best way to arrange the products to ship safely. In some cases, we might combine some smaller items into a bigger box before loading them onto the pallet so they have extra protection.
Once the pallets are loaded, you have a choice. Red Stag Fulfillment can relay the shipment details to a trucking company or broker and get a quote for LTL freight. Or you can contract with your own freight service.
If we book the transport, we will prepare the bill of lading for the shipment. If you book the freight, you provide the bill of lading to RSF. LTL shipments need a bill of lading before they can leave the warehouse.
How to make your palletized shipping run more smoothly
Businesses can take several steps to make their palletized shipping more efficient. The most important is to share your experience with your 3PL. If you’ve got insights about the best way to ship your products on pallets, let your fulfillment center know. That will help them get up to speed more quickly on best practices for palletizing your products.
In addition, if you have had issues with shipping items on pallets in the past, tell your 3PL. Then it can help figure out operating procedures to avoid repeating those mistakes.
Any information you have about the destination is also vital. Is the delivery to a residential address? Is there a loading dock on the receiving end? That information helps your 3PL better manage your freight shipment.
3 ways that Red Stag Fulfillment helps eCommerce companies ship LTL freight
When you entrust your LTL freight shipping to Red Stag Fulfillment, we take the worries off your shoulders. If any issues arise, we work them out with the freight carrier, so you don’t have to. Here are three of the ways that we make palletized shipping easier for our clients.
Contest misclassification charges
Freight charges are based partly on the freight classification. Freight haulers use NMFC classification codes, which get noted on the bill of lading. The classification reflects the characteristics of the shipment, including the type and quantity of products.
Misclassification can be an expensive mistake. Trucking companies can charge a reclassification fee, which is often quite high. For example, for a classification mistake that would have resulted in an additional $12 charge, you might incur a reclassification fee of $150.
When we arrange your LTL freight shipping, we take care to get the classification right. If there’s any question about misclassification, we work with the broker or carrier to resolve the dispute and avoid extra charges.
Avoid reweighing charges
Another source of unexpected freight charges is reweighing. If a freight company disputes the weight of a pallet, it may hit you with a reweighing fee.
Red Stag Fulfillment takes a photo of each pallet on the scale, showing the weight. That protects our clients from reweighing charges.
Manage the palletized shipping process
There’s nothing more disappointing than getting an order delivered and finding out it’s stuck on the truck because there is no liftgate. At Red Stag Fulfillment, we are sticklers for details like that. We look for the most cost-effective LTL freight option for each shipment. And we pack each pallet with care so that it will arrive safely at its destination.
If you need palletized shipping in addition to D2C order fulfillment, we’d love to help you out. Red Stag Fulfillment is the expert at bulky and heavy fulfillment. Tell us about your fulfillment problems, and let’s see if we can find a solution.
More about palletized shipping:
- Floor Loaded vs. Palletized Shipping Containers
- PACKAGE CONSOLIDATION: WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT SAVES YOU MONEY
- The Advent of Oversized ECommerce