MINNEAPOLIS -- Palletization of meat products cuts both unloading and turnaround time in the distribution center, according to a study conducted at Supervalu here. Based on the survey results, the wholesaler plans to work with meat packers to change the way they ship meat products to Supervalu.
Maximizing use of pallets, along with other methods to improve warehouse and transportation efficiencies, are becoming increasingly crucial as distributors seek ways to make the entire supply chain more cost-effective. Several examples of potential time and cost savings were revealed in this study.
The study revealed that the average unloading time for meat on pallets was 62 minutes, vs. 142 minutes for floor-loaded meat. The average load turnaround time was 97 minutes for meat on pallets vs. 241 minutes for floor-loaded meat. More than twice as many cases of palletized meat than floor-loaded meat were unloaded per hour, 559 cases to 281.
The total savings to be realized from palletization compared with floor-loaded shipments were $119.81 per truckload, according to the survey.
Floor-loaded boxes are physically placed on the floor of the trailer, which involves a great deal more labor than when boxes are shipped on a pallet.
The inefficiencies of shipping meat this way can occur at the dock and during trailer unloading time, according to the survey. Palletization makes the process more efficient.
"Between the handling and the turnaround, which is from the time the truck actually enters the gate until it leaves the gate, there is a vast improvement by using palletization," said Victor Orn, corporate manager of meat merchandising at Supervalu.
Getting meat packers to change to palletization may be challenging, however. The study points out that meat packers need to make a capital investment to modify existing facilities to accommodate palletization on a cost-effective basis.
Chep USA, Orlando, Fla., and Excel Corp., a subsidiary of Cargill Foods Co., here, were also involved in the "Report on Supply Chain Study, Boxed Beef Shipment." The study was conducted from 1995 to 1996 and published in late 1997.