Stretch wrapping has come a long way since its invention just over forty years ago. Today, an amazing variety of methods and machines are used to stretch wrap over two-and-a-half billion pallets each year in the United States alone.
But even though stretch wrapping has become the standard way to unitize a pallet for shipment, in many ways it's a lot like golf - it looks easy, but hardly anyone does it well.
Our work with customers over the last several years validates that assertion.
As we've focused on understanding more about the quality of the stretch wrapped loads our customers are shipping, we discovered that bad loads are a problem of epidemic proportion - with serious consequences both in the plant and up and down the supply chain.
So just what is a bad load?
Well, let's call a bad load one that's not wrapped according to currently accepted stretch wrapping standard practices. For example, standard stretch wrapping practices tell us:
1. Make sure you're applying the right amount of containment force everywhere on the load.
2. The load should be bonded to the pallet.
3. There should be no dragging film tails.
There should also be a quality check that ensures the loads are actually wrapped to the standard. Ideally you should check every load but we recommend checking at least once a shift.
Failure to observe one or more of these practices is the leading cause of bad loads, which end up failing down the road. Check your loads against the ones pictured on the right to see how well you're doing.
Looking for other ways to improve? Check out our 10-Step Process for Damage Reduction Through More Effective Stretch Wrapping. Our process will show you:
- How to reduce your shipping damage by 50 percent.
- The key elements of a stretch wrapping standard.
- How to manage containment force - stretch wrapping's most critical component.
Looking for other ways to improve? Learn 5 action steps that every shipping manager and plant manager should know to make loading docks run faster and safer. Download your FREE copy of The Lean Loading Dock.
Read related article: Does Simple Automation Make Sense in Your Stretch Wrapping Process?
For more information, you can contact us on our website or call us at (502) 815-9109.
This post was published on January 22, 2015 and updated on October 26, 2018.