Thousands of suppliers distribute their products to retailers in corrugated cardboard boxes. Corrugated cardboard is light, strong, cheap and easy to recycle, so it's unsurprising that so many companies use this material. Nonetheless, once the stock arrives at your store, it's important to store items carefully, or you could end up facing ruined stock and even injured customers or employees. Protect your stock by avoiding the four following mistakes that retail workers commonly make when storing stock in cardboard boxes.
Failure to use stretch film when necessary
Stretch film is a useful extra tool you can use when storing a large number of boxes. By wrapping stretch film around a batch of boxes, you can cut the risk of damage because the load is less vulnerable to shocks and vibrations. A roll of stretch film is quick and easy to apply, too, so it doesn't take much time to use this material in the warehouse and other storage areas.
Employees can sometimes forget to use stretch film. or they may just decide it isn't necessary. You may even decide to cut costs and ban use of the material. This is often a mistake. It's far easier to move a pallet of cardboard boxes that are held in place by stretch wrap. What's more, a large stack of boxes is unlikely to topple over if somebody has wrapped the entire batch in stretch wrap first.
Stretch film is often useful when you need to store boxes in cold storage. In these conditions, packing tape on the box may become slippery with moisture, which can make it easier to knock over a large stack. Stretch film will allow you to pull out one or two boxes at a time, leaving the remainder safely stored.
If you store cardboard boxes on a pallet, it's vital that you make sure the edges of the boxes sit perfectly inside the outer edge of the pallet. Pallet overhang occurs when the edge of one or more of the boxes hangs over the pallet.
If this happens, you can seriously diminish the strength of the cardboard boxes. In some cases, two sides of the box will have to support the full weight of the contents, which can quickly lead to disaster.
People working in warehouses will sometimes rush to pack stock away and may not notice (or care about) pallet overhang. This is something all managers should look for and deal with straight away. If an unwitting colleague pulls a box out of the stack, he or she is much more likely to bring the whole thing down.
Failure to tackle damages quickly enough
Even with the best handling procedures possible, accidents can still happen, and you can't account for every eventuality. Nonetheless, if breakages occur, it's important to tackle the mess as quickly as possible. If the contents of one box spill over a stack of boxes, you could quickly ruin a whole stock batch. Make sure your employees know that as soon as they see (or even suspect) damage, they should always carefully inspect each box and immediately remove broken items.
Wooden pallets help you keep stock off the floor and can make it easier to move large quantities with special handling equipment. Nonetheless, bad habits can increase the risk of stock damage.
Pallets normally consist of strips of wood nailed together, with gaps between each plank. These gaps can weaken a corrugated cardboard box because you can no longer evenly distribute the weight of the contents. As such, you should always use special deckboards that you place on top of the pallet, so your boxes have a flat surface to sit on.
You should also make sure the stack is not too high. As a general rule, if you put as many boxes as possible on a pallet, you should always end up with a cube, where the height of the stack is the same as the width and length of your pallet. Every inch you store boxes above this limit weakens the strength of the stack and makes an accident more likely.
Many retailers receive their stock in corrugated cardboard boxes. Make sure your employees know how to store these boxes correctly, or your stock could go straight in the trash.