Transporting heavy freight such as flooring is no easy task, especially when you take into account the challenges of the size and weight  

Here, David Kumar, from delivery specialist, Tuffnells, shares his thoughts on the practical steps flooring businesses can put in place to ensure their freight reaches its destination in prime condition.  

Emphasise inbound damage control

Delivering items that are damaged will reflect poorly on any flooring business and will often lead to an expensive request for re-delivery. Putting in place rigorous inbound inspection processes once the flooring has been received from your supplier will lower the risk of delivering an item to your own customer that was already damaged before it left your warehouse.

Standard packaging can be boxed up and put onto a conveyor belt, however irregular freight requires a more manual loading process. It is common for retailers to question carriers on damage, but often it is down to cost-cutting, for example, using poor packaging. As well as potentially damaging their own freight, it could also damage other customers’ freight when in transit.

Carry out careful pre-shipment safety measures

It is essential to put in place numerous safety measures to protect both the drivers and the packages they’re transporting.

Fitting safety nets and other load restraint devices, vehicle cameras on vehicles can provide protection from falling items and limits items from moving in transit. Vehicle cameras also help to provide greater assurance for drivers in the event of an incident so that if need be, they can make well-informed changes to procedures to avoid recurring incidents in the future.

Review your warehousing strategies and put safety at their centre

It goes without saying that having a well-organized warehouse is a key part of driving efficiencies, but it also plays a vital role in promoting workplace safety and the protection of goods within your warehouse.

Clean, well marked out loading areas are essential, but it’s also important to ensure all members of your team have the correct training in place for safe load management and are wearing the correct personal protection equipment when required.

And, with new technologies and lifting equipment entering the logistics market every day, ensuring warehouse teams and the products they stock stay safe has never been easier.

Forecast customer demand

Working with customers to forecast and manage products is essential for effective stock management. Poor stock management will often lead to large batches of stock spending long periods of time in the warehouse which could ultimately increase the chances of damage.

Understanding market trends also allows you to prepare for sudden spikes in volumes, ensuring you can cope with the added pressure of delivering items as quickly as possible and avoiding disruption to regular orders. This isn’t always easy with large and bulky freight, as it can be harder to predict when these spikes might hit. However, certain tactics like staggering orders to customers during the week, rather than having to manage high demand at the weekends allows you to keep on top of demand.

Operate a varied fleet to accommodate the freight

The key to delivering large freight, like flooring, is the diverse range of vehicles in your fleet. Larger vehicles allow you to deliver a more extensive list of items. Flooring panels can vary in size and scale, with some items reaching lengths of 6 metres; therefore your fleet needs to be able to accommodate this.

Curtain-sided trailers offer quick, unrestricted access on all sides allowing cargo to be speedily unloaded from both sides and the rear by forklifts on the ground. This flexibility broadens options for shipping and delivery to addresses whose existing facilities cannot easily accommodate a large or non-standard load.

The world of flooring, like most other industries, certainly comes with its challenges but the key to safe, efficient deliveries that arrive on time and undamaged, lies in careful planning and care.