Shipping of Walk-Type Power Lawn Mowers

Two benefits that can be achieved by slipsheeted materials handling are reduction in handling costs and also costs of product shipping damage, as the Toro Company has found when they started shipping their walk‐type power lawn movers in stretch‐wrapped slipsheeted loads. Costs of product shipping damage actually fell by a huge 80%.

In an article in Modern Materials Handling (*), Jeffrey P. Feyen, Toro's packaging engineer, says, "Together these benefits add up to savings of $112,977 a year.

"In the past, we handled mowers in cases, by using clamp trucks in plant and warehouse areas. We often had tore‐handle the cases to build and arrange loads for shipping and storage. And the clamps sometimes damaged the cases, because we had to 'squeeze' fit them into highway trucks.

"Now we unitise packaged mowers on slipsheets. We handle the unitised loads with trucks equipped with push‐pull attachments. This change required an investment in semi‐automatic unitising equipment, automatic stretch‐wrapping equipment, and attachments for lift trucks. But this equipment should pay for itself in about a year. And it will greatly improve the service to our distributors and their customers."

Implementation of the slipsheet program involved converting a number of former clamp trucks to push‐pull trucks and equipping them with 3000‐lb capacity push‐pull attachments. A total investment of about US$125,000 was needed for unitising equipment, stretch‐wrapping equipment and three push‐pull attachments. Slipsheets and film had to be costed in as well.

A fast turnaround on investment was achieved from savings in handling costs and much lower amount of shipping damage. Trailer loading time was cut by 50% and unloading time by 75%.

Reference: *  "Slipsheet Unitizing saves over $100,000/year", Modern Materials Handling, USA.