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Palletize to control materials – and costs – on your production floor

November 05, 2014

Trays and sacks, sacks and trays. Mail Transport Equipment (MTE) everywhere, cluttering your shop and operations.  Managing all this – plus moving material from receiving, to warehouse, to production, and eventually out to the USPS is one of the biggest challenges any growing shop experiences.  How do you control the clutter?  How do you control the stock instead of the stock controlling you? How do you get materials flowing through your shop rather than being dragged, kicking and screaming?  Now you have Full-Service regulations on top of all of that!  How can you get everything under control?

Businesses that need to manage a lot of stock lean heavily on the use of pallets to help manage this process.  A pallet is a wood or plastic base, on which smaller containers are stacked and bound together.  There are many reasons to use pallets.  It’s much easier and safer to move and stack stock.  Pallets are a must for incoming material if you use a high-racking system.  All of these inherent benefits make managing stock on pallets a no-brainer.

Think about what happens when you move the mail to your letter-shop / bindery production environment.  The pallets get broken down so individual pieces of mail can be processed.  They then flow through your machinery (Inkjet, tab, fold, insert, collate, etc.) and end up in sacks or trays for entry into the USPS.

I have seen two scenarios of how shops handle the mail past this point.  They are either stacking it on a pallet for convenience (courtesy pallet) or are palletizing the mail manually.  Neither of these scenarios holds much favor with the USPS.  Technically, the “courtesy pallet” is not allowed to be deposited at the USPS docks.  That mailing needs to be removed from the pallets, and then bed loaded onto the USPS docks to avoid issues at acceptance.  This is a hassle for your delivery people and the USPS.  The second scenario is that the shop manually palletizes the mail. This means you have a few pallets “open” at any given time.  Your expensive employees are searching for which pallet to put the mail on when they should be working at the machine, making sure it’s as productive as possible.  In both cases, the pallets you create don’t show in USPS eDocs (such as Mail.dat®) and may have to be broken down at the docks.

You should be preparing that mail as “Palletized” with your software product to avoid both of these undesirable (and labor wasting) scenarios.  There are many advantages from both an efficiency and workflow perspective.

  • Enhance Productivity
    • Make sure you are only creating one pallet of outgoing mail at a time
      • Presort information coming out of your software should produce the mail in pallet order
      • Stack trays / packages / sacks right on the pallet
        • Use flat sized mail to avoid the sacks entirely – a huge labor saving
        • Avoid employees searching for the “right pallet” for the mail they have just finished sorting
      • Your mailing is Full-Service Complaint
        • eDocs will reflect the palletized preparation
        • IM® Container barcodes will be on your pallet placards
      • Improve workflow
        • Never have more than one pallet staged at the end of a sorting line
        • When pallets are complete, easily move your pallet away, and stage the next pallet for receiving mail
        • “1 pallet in, 1 pallet out” helps you manage material flow on the shop floor
        • Major savings for First-Class Mail® with a CSA
          • No more manual management of separations – which cause many working pallets
          • Properly labeled for your dock and USPS to handle
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