What Size Gaylord Box do I need?
It’s a broad question with many answers, but it might just be the most important thing to consider when it comes to Gaylord boxes! The best place to start is by getting together with your supplier to discuss the following:
- What are you putting in the box?
- How much does it weigh?
- Are you planning to stack the boxes either for storage or transport?
- What pallet size do you typically use?
- How is the product shipped? Full truckload, LTL, or other?
- How skillful is your forklift operator?
- Are there environmental concerns, like humidity, that can affect the performance of Gaylords?
- How much space do you have to store and/or ship the product? Does that cost extra?
- Is there any equipment that the boxes need to fit under, such as conveyors, chutes, spouts, shears, saws, drills, punches, etc.?
Knowing these things will help narrow down the options. Size is determined by understanding the pallet size, how the product will be stored and shipped, and the product volume weight. We then provide input on the various types of Gaylords that are available, such as rectangle, octagon, full or partial flap bottoms, full flap tops or lids. These are the most common types, but other types are also available.
Start at the bottom.
The best place to start is at the bottom with your pallet, as it’s literally the foundation of your final box choice. The foundation of your box determines more of its performance than you would think. After all, you wouldn’t put your new house on an unstable, weak, brittle, cracked, broken, or too small of a foundation, would you? Are you locked into a certain size because it’s what you have available? Much of the world moves on a standard GMA pallet, which is a 48” x 40” 4-way pallet (can be picked-up from all four sides), but the options are endless. It could be determined by what your plant uses out of preference, what is generated internally, what your purchasing department thinks you should use because it’s the cheapest price (and cheaper is always better, right?!). Choosing the right pallet for the job is critical and, in most cases, you get what you pay for.
Don’t forget square footage.
Much of your packaging costs are determined by the maximization of your square footage, which again comes back to your pallet choice. Imagine how many more boxes, lids (if required), and liners (if required) you will need over time if you are using the wrong ones. Not to mention how many more pallets you will buy because of the choice you made. Just the savings of six units per truckload, which is a fairly common savings between using a 48” x 45” pallet and a 48” x 40” pallet, adds up over the course of a year. The packaging cost is just part of it. Someone has to set up all of those boxes, fill them, weigh them, label them, inventory them, move them multiple times throughout the plant and load them onto the truck that will haul them to their next destination. Sometimes less really is better! And we haven’t even mentioned transportation costs, which comes back to your overall cost per pound. If you are LTL shipping these units by the hundreds or thousands over the course of a year, you will quickly realize just how much these decisions can affect your bottom line and how getting the right help can give you an edge over your competition! We are happy to break down every section of your packaging so that we can make certain it makes the most sense for you and your operation.
What about storage costs?
Another factor that often gets overlooked is storage costs. If you rent additional space to store your product after it’s ready to go to your client(s), how do they charge you? Usually, they like to charge per pallet/box/unit that you ship into them and the more you ship them, the happier they are! Again, this all comes back to making smart packaging choices, choosing the right company to help you with those choices to maximize each one of them and to help you think more outside the box.
What’s going in the box?
Once you have made up your mind on the right pallet, we can get started on what you really need for the correct size of your Gaylord box by asking questions about the product going in the boxes.
If you need a box to ship a valuable product or wish to prevent viewing with wandering eyes and sticky hands, consider an RSC (regular slotted container) box that is four sides, with full flaps on the top and the bottom. It’s also a great box for providing protection from damage during the shipping process. This box is typically rectangular in shape. Many users choose a HSC (half slotted container) when using a poly liner or a separate lid. An HSC is the same as an RSC but doesn’t have top flaps. It’s available in both rectangular and octagon shapes.
When we ask what you’re putting in the box, it’s helpful to know the size of the actual product. Is it a powder material or resin pellets? If so, you’ll most likely need a heavier duty box with a liner. Some of those boxes have a larger footprint of 48” x 45” (outside dimension) and, as such, will require a larger pallet. Is it a liquid product? The boxes for liquids are a different beast altogether. They are very thick-sided (mostly 8 walls) and have a precut hole in the bottom of one side for easier drainage. Is your product smaller than 3”- 4”? If so, that would eliminate what we call a “produce” box, which is the box you would typically see in a grocery store displaying watermelons or pumpkins. They are a great box for many uses, such as clothing or rickrack, etc. They hold around 1000 lbs. and have vent holes, so anything smaller than 3”- 4” would fall through. It is also important to note if you need a non-food box so we can research the previous contents of each box to reduce any cross-contamination issues.
It’s also helpful that we know your industry because some boxes are better suited for some industries than others. Like the powder and resin example above, we can narrow the choices down if we know your industry, such as recycling (automotive, electronics…), thrift, food, paper, textiles or byproduct materials like metal, resin, or plastic. In fact, we have done some of that legwork for you on our website. Go to the Gaylord box site and choose your industry from the Product Filters and see what boxes we recommend.
A process of elimination
Here’s a peek at the process of helping a customer choose the right box:
A plastics customer says they are filling boxes with resin and want to double stack them in the warehouse. We immediately eliminate 2- and 3-wall boxes because something sturdier is needed to prevent crushing. We also eliminate boxes with vents because of the resin. We are going to lean towards an octagon since they are stacking. They also to plan to double stack inside a van trailer, so now we need to do some math. We start by knowing the standard inside height of a dry van with swing doors. That’s 108”. We can’t go higher than that, and we need to leave some room for the forklift. So, we add the height of the box plus the height of the pallet (5” is standard), then double that because they are stacking them. So, the tallest box that will work is 48”: (48” + 5”) x 2 = 106”. At this point we’ve narrowed it down to an octagon without vents that is at most 48” tall and has 4 or more walls. We will continue to ask questions to determine the right box for them based on their location and budget.
What can we do for you?
Our professional sales team members have been through thousands of scenarios just like this and are armed with the knowledge to help you choose the right box for your product. It also never hurts to spend some time on our website, at it’s a good source of general and specific information about our new and used product options, including features and pictures.