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The Loader’s Guide to

Truck Loading
4650 Everal Lane
Franklin, TN 37064
615.791.8000 / 615.791.4749 (fax)
Email: info@WarehouseOptimization.com
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To be a good truck loader, you need to keep
a lot of people happy
Keep it legal
What I ordered, easy to
count and unload
and is undamaged
Balance the load and don’t let
it move around
Load it fast and damage free
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Making loads that please everyone
is hard
Must be satisfied
Nice to satisfy these guys
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The Highway Patrol wants the
trucks to be legal
Axle Weight Axle Weight Axle Weight
34,000 34,000
80,000
12,000
48 ft.
Keep axles below
34,000 pounds
Keep axles spaced
far apart
..and the load
must be stable
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Loads to certain states e.g. CA. need to
be have unique trailer set-ups
Axle Weight
Axle Weight Axle Weight
34,000
34,000 12,000
Axle spacing is limited
In some states the laws
are different
E.g. California limits how
far the axles can be apart.
so you need to load differently
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Getting the axle weights right is hard
Here are some rules I use.
They work most of the time
Light / Heavy / Light
No more than 2000 pounds
per floor spot
Single/Double/Single
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100
100
We all understand a
seesaw
And a trailer is like that
100
100
Loading a trailer is like working a
seesaw
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..but it gets tough--and I need help
2500 3000 4000 5500 4500 1500 2350 2950 3210 4250
King Pin
Center Of Gravity
24
72
120
168
216
264
312
360
408
456
To calculate the weight on
the axles and king pin
requires a lot of calculations.
I can’t do them in my head!
So when loads get heavy
(40,000 pounds and above) , I
ask for help
Distance from center of tandems
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Customers want what they want,
when they want it
Where do I
put this?
Get all the order on the truck
And
Make it easy to count
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Customers want what they want,
when they want it
1st
stop
2nd
stop
Last
stop
Order
#1
Order
#2
Order
#3
In the right stop sequence
And try to keep
the orders together
If keeping orders together makes
a load infeasible or creates
other problems, then allow
the orders to be mixed
in the stop.
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Easy to unload
How can
a customer unload this
pallet with a
pallet jack?
Another
customer’s
order
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Easy to unload and load
SOAP SOAP
HEALTH
CARE
BEAUTY
CARE
PAPER
SOAP
PAPER
Try to keep product families
together
And some of my sites have
small dock doors-- so make
sure we can unload it
If the customer has small doors,
make sure that last pallets go
On in the narrow direction.
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The Boss wants high productivity
and no damage
What do I do first?
Bring multiple pallets at the same
Time and don’t waste time thinking
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Easy to load: based on how the
product is stored in the warehouse
48
40
Chimney Block
48
40
Wide/Wide
Narrow/Narrow
48
40
If pallets of product are stored in the
wide direction, this is the easiest
If pallets of product are stored in the
narrow direction, this is the easiest
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Minimize warehouse travel
D/A
B/A
Better
D
C
B
A
D
C
B
A
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Make products easy to retrieve and
touch in the trailer
(Same items on top of one another and same families in each grab)
B
B
A
A
A
A
B A
B B
A
A
B A
B A
B
B
B/B A/A A/A
B/B A/A A/A
B/B B/B A/A
B/B A/B A/A
B/B A/A A/A
B/B B/B A/A
Top View
Side View
Goal: Support picking up product in double-wide fork trucks.
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Make products easy to retrieve
E/C C/D A/A
F/C D/D B/B
E/C C/C A/A
F/D D/D B/B
C/E C/C A/A
F/D D/D B/B
Prefer “C’s” together
If possible, on the bottom is preferred
Vs.
When you do this, you need to
Make sure you obey the other
rules, like don’t double stack
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and don’t damage anything, because we
have to pay for it
But what
causes damage?
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Things that might stack nicely in the
warehouse get damaged bumping along
the road
It may look fine when it leaves
the dock
But, if it is not built right, the
customer sees a very different load
when it arrives
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Put strong items on the
bottom of stacks
B
A
B
C
Check to see if product is:
fiKept apart from others
fiAlways on the bottom or top
fiStrong enough to carry other unit loads
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Damage is also caused by
pallet movement or falling
Try to brace forward,
backwards and to the side
so pallets cant move
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Small pallets should not be alone on the
floor - make all stacks exceed some
minimum height
26”
Don’t put short pallets on the floor
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Special loading for TOFC /
intermodal / containers
Over-the-Road TOFC
Good
Good Better, but still
needs airbags
Requires 2-3
airbags
Be more careful with TOFC
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When bracing, keep singles or unit loads
with product severely under-hanging the
pallet in non-critical position
Critical points
Turn pallets at critical points wide /
Wide so the airbag fits tighter --
But you can’t do that when the
Customer has small docks
Try not to have singles in a
load and definitely not
consecutive singles
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To minimize damage, minimize the height differential
between adjacent pallets and number of consecutive
singles
Undesirable Better Best
Too short
Undesirable Better
Single
No singles in the nose or tail
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Low density product, turn pallets to
“max-out” the trailer to back door
A big gap here will generate damage
If the product is light (like paper)
turn some pallets to minimize the
gap in the back
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Minimize side movement
Minimize
stack height
differential
Minimize how often this occurs.
Try to never have this in the
last spot in the trailer.
Double stretch wrap and turn pallets
near such a stack
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Use dunnage where there are significant
areas of unbraced pallets
Airbag Airbag
Turn pallets wide
at the middle and back
of the trailer where
you airbag
Airbag where there are
significant changes in
height
Airbag -- for long trips or TOFC
Airbag back - always
..and make the stacks
in the back tall
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Use fillers when the product significantly
under-hangs the pallet
Filler
Use cardboard fillers
Where there is more than 2”
of pallet showing…and don’t use airbags
when the gap is more than 10 inches
2”+
Filler goes against the wall
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Certain product needs special rules
You have to learn which products must:
fiRide on top
fialways be on the bottom
fiNot be turned wide wide
(they overhang the pallet too much)
fiMust be kept separate
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You may need to save space for out-of-stock
items at back of trailer
OK
Best
Stack product
“Phantom pallet”
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What is more important?
I know you can’t keep all the rules all the time.
Here is what I think is most important:
1. Make the axles legal
2. Keep stops separate
3. Brace forward
4. Brace sideways, particularly on second level
5. Keep orders separate (if you can)
6. Turn last 2 pallets (if you can)
7. Meet desired customer loading pattern
8. Keep same items together
9. Brace backwards
10. Keep families together
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What they tell you…but it’s not true
Load short & then tall
to get the maximum
weight in a trailer
Airbag Airbag
Airbag
Airbag
Vs.
Wile this works, it requires
more airbags
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What they tell you…but it’s not true
Only load to 48 ft.
in a 53 ft. trailer.
48 ft.
As long as you can keep the axles
Legal, don’t worry about the
Stupid line
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Remember, it is hard to load a truck well
When loading a truck, there is a lot to remember
-- and a lot of decisions to make.
Some companies even have sophisticated software from
Warehouse Optimization to help make loading faster
and allow getting more product on the trailer
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We wish you success
This document was developed based on interview with loaders by:
Warehouse Optimization
4650 Everal Lane
Franklin, TN 37064
615/791-8000
You are welcome to use it -- but we accept no liability.
Address any questions or comments to:
tom.moore@WarehouseOptimization.com