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The transport of goods in the FMCG sector is governed by its own laws. The way in which manufacturers and distributors choose packaging, means of transport and how they store goods can affect the way in which products retain their organoleptic and physicochemical characteristics.

The majority of FMCG shipments are handled in a palletised form. However, the means of transport are not made of rubber, and optimal load planning has an impact on both transport costs and safety. This is particularly important in the case of large and frequent transportation of fast-moving goods. The aim is to optimally plan cargo of a certain weight or different priorities. The possibility of grouping packages according to specific codes or priorities (e.g. goods for the same recipient), which facilitates unloading at the final destination, is also important.

Applications for optimum cargo placement

IT solutions can help to optimally plan the arrangement of the load in the vehicle’s cargo space. Some are pretty simple. For example, goodloading.com, an online tool that allows you to quickly calculate whether a cargo will fit in a truck. The application also allows you to place packages on the vehicle in the order in which they are listed.

More complex, multifunctional solutions are also available. This is e.g. PackViz software, which helps to determine the most beneficial schemes of capacity use, taking into account the specificity and priority of individual groups of goods, as well as their optimal location in the container. The loading phases can be presented graphically and printed out (the loaded container can be presented in both two and three dimensions).

The calculations of the loading diagrams take into account the following:

– the weight of the individual packages,

– the permissible method of placement (e.g. in the case of fragile materials),

– calculation of the maximum safe stacking height,

– calculation of the most accurate centre of gravity of a container for a given transport (stability during transport).

Cape Pack and Cape TruckFill also have many features. The first one helps to determine the best size of products, the size of collective packaging, their arrangement on the layer of the pallet and the way of loading the pallet. Cape Truckfill is a container loading software that helps you plan, create, edit, print and manage your loading plans. You can also use e.g. 4ls/Genetix. Based on the load units data (length, width, height, weight) and stacking matrix data, the system generates a loading diagram for the selected space (vehicle, pallet).

Fleet management tools to help you meet deadlines

When it comes to cross docking services popular in the case of fast moving goods, it is necessary to arrange objects in such a way as to speed up and improve work. For example, a loading hall with two loading fingers, equipped with about 160 courier gates (including 40 double gates for sorting purposes) and 16 unloading gates, equipped with internal infrastructure necessary for a fast sorting process, was built in a warehouse in Janki near Warsaw, which was opened several months ago. The facility consists of nearly 20,000 sq.m. of manoeuvring areas, roads and parking lots.

Paweł Włoczek from WebEye Polska stressed once in PGT how difficult it is to imagine today to meet the expectations of FMCG customers without the help of new technologies supporting fleet management, enabling control of transport tasks and guaranteeing efficient communication between all participants in the supply chain.

A professional fleet management system allows you to control the transport of goods from the moment the cargo is collected to its delivery. The solution of this type informs about any unusual events during transport. It is, therefore, a matter of ensuring timely deliveries, which is crucial in FMCG goods transport. In order to ensure smooth communication between different levels of the supply chain, companies can use GPS monitoring, as well as access to data collected in real time. The dispatcher is informed when a vehicle deviates from its established route, exceeds the maximum permitted speed limit or is delayed to the planned transport destination. The online access to data makes it possible for the dispatcher to receive information about the traffic flow along the route in real time.

 The best semi-trailers for FMCG freight transport

In FMCG transport, it is often important to be able to ensure the right temperature inside the vehicle. The solutions available on the market provide, among other things, alarms to warn against temperature limit values. Carriers often install a panic button to alert them in the event of a sudden problem. Sensors alert you when a loading door is opened unintentionally, which is essential in order to ensure a high level of protection for your goods. Increasingly, such security functions are part of comprehensive telematics solutions. 

The semi-trailers are supplied with telematics packages:

– tyre pressure monitoring,

– assisting the drive up to the ramp,

– extended system of protection of the refrigerated body (monitoring of geographical location, doors, cooling temperature, condition of the refrigerating unit, or… the condition of the coupling).

Such a solution is offered e.g. by Schmitz Cargobull (TrailerConnect). In addition to the basic function of determining the vehicle position, the system provides data on: mileage, door open/close status, loading area temperature, working hours and alarm statuses of the chiller (including the chiller battery charge status in the case of a semi-trailer with chiller). The loading status of the vehicle can also be checked and all this can be supplemented by data from EBS.

Curtainsider semi-trailers constitute a significant part of all vehicles used in transport for FMCG. Currently, every third semi-trailer bought in Poland is of this type. They are all similar in design and one of the common advantages of this type of vehicles is the speed of loading and unloading (this is very important in the case of FMCG goods). 

The same brands, Schmitz Cargobull and Krone (each of them has a market share of about one quarter) have been dominant on the Polish curtainsider semi-trailers market for years, but other manufacturers, including Kässbohrer, Kogel and Wielton, also have interesting offers. In all cases, the features are similar and the semi-trailers’ functionality results, among other things, from the possibility of the easy lifting of each of the side wall elements, and thus access to the hold from both sides of the semi-trailer.

Image: Bar Cargolift

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