Parcel Handling System Design Best Practices - Part 1 of a 3-Part Series

23 April 2019

LAKELAND, Fla., April 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Fulfilling bulk orders to brick-and-mortar stores is like stacking blocks: items are packed and shipped in cartons that are easy to see, easy to sort, all the same shape and size.

Trifactor, LLC logo. (PRNewsFoto/TriFactor, LLC) (PRNewsfoto/TriFactor)

But with the rise of direct to customer e-commerce, things seem less like Jenga® and more like a jumble.

Instead of only palletizing large boxes onto trucks for route delivery, distribution centers are also turning into piece-picking parcel handlers, fluid-loading mixed shipments—polybags holding a single mascara, bubble mailers carrying baseball mitts, and the lone wheel of cheese nestled into a customized round box—into trailers, vans and other vehicles.

Maximizing throughput of small orders and irregularly shaped packages requires new skills, not to mention different conveyor and sorting equipment.

But those aren't the only challenges the changing retail landscape has created for the typical distribution center.

For example, as carriers caught onto the e-commerce opportunity, they realized they could optimize the use of cargo area within their trucks—and increase revenue—by charging for the space a parcel takes up, rather than what it weighs. That changed the economics for shippers and drove even more reduction in package sizes; after all, no one wants to pay for a parcel filled with empty air.

There are also more parcel carriers in business now than ever. While more options typically mean greater flexibility and generally lower prices, the trade-off is understanding and complying with multiple carriers' standards, restrictions, schedules, and manifesting operations. Add in the growing number of local, last-mile delivery services and the task of getting a parcel from point A to point B becomes even more challenging and expensive.  According to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), costs associated with last-mile delivery can be more than 25 percent of the total supply chain budget for some companies.

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About TriFactor

TriFactor is a material handling systems integrator that specializes in the design and implementation of conveyor systems, storage systems, and order picking, packing, and shipping systems for warehouses and distribution centers.  TriFactor benefits its customers by providing solutions that reduce their distribution costs while increasing their capacity and improving their distribution quality.  For more information about TriFactor please visit or call us toll-free at 1-888-247-2417.

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