Why Using a Bulk Bag Instead of a Gaylord Box May Be Right for Your Business
For many industrial and agricultural products there are a variety of ways items can be packed for shipment, and it may seem like it’s become second nature for business and industries to use Gaylord boxes to ship their products. These boxes are multi-ply corrugated cardboard for strength and support, and they’re conveniently pallet-sized for shipping. Your employees can easily assemble them on top of a pallet and secure it for loading onto a trailer once it’s filled. Smaller boxes or bags, depending on the product, are used to fill the Gaylord box and secure the items inside for shipment.
On the other hand, many businesses are finding that Gaylord boxes might not be right for all shipments. If your business uses or ships dry free-flowing solid products in bulk, you may be able to save time and money using bulk bags, also called Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBC).
At Midwestern Bag and Supply, our bags are made of virgin polypropylene, so they’re durable. They’re also customizable to fit your needs. The bags, themselves, can be lifted with a forklift or hoist, so you won’t need to worry about pallets. If you store or ship dry chemical or agricultural products, our FIBC bulk bags may help your business in a variety of ways that Gaylord boxes simply can’t.
You may have been using Gaylord boxes filled with smaller bags of your dry goods for as long as you’ve been in business. Your employees use a forklift to bring the pallet or a cart laden with individual bags to where they’re needed, and they individually open each bag and pour the contents. It can take a while for one or two people to open and pour a thousand-pound’s worth — or more — of individual 25 to 50 pound bags, and then afterward they have to take care of all those bags, along with the pallet and the empty box. And a single Gaylord box may not be enough for your purposes.
But if you’re using our bulk bags, your employees can transport a single bag, weighing from 500 to 4,000 pounds, with a forklift or hoist, and they can empty it from the bottom into whatever container or machine or hopper you may be using in your processes. One person can quickly and easily take care of the empty bags to prepare them for recycling or reuse. All of this time saved frees your employees to do all of the other important tasks you need them to. So, essentially, you’re not just saving labor time, you’re increasing productivity and simplifying your process.
And if you start shipping your dry free-flowing solid products using our FIBC bulk bags, you can begin to save your time as well. Filling a single bulk bag for a 2,000-pound shipment may not take that much less time than filling 40 50-pound bags, but getting those 40 bags ready for shipment will take quite a bit longer. That single bulk bag with 2,000 pounds of your product can be ready for transport in minutes. All of those 50-pound bags will need to be loaded into a box — once the box is assembled — and then secured to a pallet for transport.
Saving Storage Space
Now, the storage space for your bulk bags filled with product that’s waiting to be brought into your production cycle will be similar to what you’ve been used to with pallets and Gaylord boxes filled with smaller bags. However, some Gaylord boxes can’t be stacked. Our bags are designed to maintain their shape when filled, so you will be able to stack your products in our bulk bags.
But it’s more likely that you’ll be able to save space after the containers are empty. If you’re using pallets and Gaylord boxes, your employees will have to gather the empty smaller bags and put them into a container for recycling or disposal. They’ll need to stack the empty pallets and take apart the boxes in order to store them until they can be sent for recycling. This may not seem like much space, but depending on the size of your operation, this could end up using as much space as a large number of pallets. You can only stack pallets and empty boxes so high.
If you’re using FIBC bulk bags, you can fold and stack a few hundred of them safely while you’re waiting to send them for recycling or repurposing. This will only take up the approximate space of a single pallet. This won’t only save space, this will save a lot of labor time for whomever you may be paying to take care of your empty pallets, boxes and bags.
All of these space saving possibilities could help free up space in your business for additional production. And that may be made possible with the time, money and space you’ll be saving just by incorporating Midwestern Bag and Supply’s bulk bags into your shipping and storage processes.
And again, if you’re using our bags to ship your own free-flowing dry chemical or agricultural product, you won’t have to worry about having pallets or boxes on hand — and all the space they take up — as you’re waiting to prepare shipments. You’ll only need space for as many pallet’s worth of bags as you need, and since empty bulk bags can be stacked hundreds high, there’s a good chance you’ll only need the space of a single pallet. However, if you have limited storage space, we can store your FIBC bulk bags in our warehouse and send them to you as you need them. Just ask our sales representatives about Midwest Bag and Supply’s stock and release program.
Enhancing Workplace Safety
There are some basic safety measures built into the process for using bulk bags to store, lift, or transport dry products. Because they individually weigh between 500 and 4,000 pounds, no one will be attempting to lift them. They can only be lifted with a hoist or crane or a forklift. This will prevent many common workplace lifting injuries from overuse or from poor body mechanics. At the same time, employees won’t have to bend into any boxes to lift out smaller bags, preventing lower back strains and other injuries.
But more than that, we offer a number of bags that have additional safety measures built in. We offer our Type D bulk bags that will prevent electrostatic discharge from combusting hazardous material in environments where flammable solvents or gases may be present. We also have our Type C bulk bags that are groundable to prevent combustion of flammable material during loading, lifting, or transporting.
And our Food Grade Bulk Bags are manufactured in certified clean rooms with machinery that is only cleaned and lubricated with FDA approved products. Each bag is vacuumed after it’s completed and checked with a metal detector to prevent any potential contamination of your products and your business.
Also, you may not just be enhancing safety for your employees. If you’re shipping your product with our bags — and all of their inherent safety features — you pass on the safety practices and the safe workplace to your customers. This could make the difference between a customer choosing your company or another.
While we begin to consider the costs of these shipping containers, themselves, we might think that the cost comparison begins and ends with the cost of an FIBC bulk bag compared to the cost of a Gaylord box. The real cost analysis is much more complex. We really must also give some consideration to the cost of the smaller bags that will fill that box. (And we can’t forget about the costs for the time and labor to fill or empty those bags individually.)
Indeed, using bulk bags will help save money in a variety of ways. Using them can help free up time for your employees to take care of other more production-related responsibilities, and that will save you money in the long run. It may be difficult to quantify those savings without spending some significant time analyzing your processes, but you’ll definitely start seeing a big change in your shipping costs.
If you use a third party logistics company to ship your products, you pay based on the weight of the product and the packaging. FIBC bulk bags are incredibly light weight. If you start using them, you can stop paying to ship the extra weight of large multi-ply cardboard boxes and the pallets they must be secured to.
If you have the vehicles to transport your product to your customers, you’ll also be able to save. You’ll be able to load more of your product onto your trucks because you’ll be able to stack the bags and you won’t have to worry about the space taken up by the pallets.
And while you’re saving money in labor and shipping costs, you may be able to lower your prices to make your product more competitive on the market. As you increase your sales and your market share, your profits increase, as well. Your business grows, so you may just need the space you’ve been able to free up in order to have that increased production we mentioned earlier.
While we’re at it, let’s not forget that a safer workplace saves you money in medical bills and additional pay for replacement workers.
Now, you can only do so much to make Gaylord boxes meet your needs. They can come in some different sizes, and the cardboard can come in various thicknesses. It can be lined to help protect it from water damage. It may also be able to be reinforced to allow for stacking. But when it comes to shipping dry free-flowing solid products in bulk, Gaylord boxes can’t begin to compete with the degrees of customization we offer for our FIBC bulk bags.
- Various Sizes. Standard bulk bags have a 35 inch-square base. We also make them from 29×29 up to 41×41. Our smallest standard bag has a depth of 13 inches and at 35x35x13 is 10 cubic feet. Our largest is 41x41x82 and 100 cubic feet. And we have all the sizes in between. Our bags can hold from 500 to 4,000 pounds. But if you need something more specific, we can work with you to customize a bag to fit your exact needs.
- Various Products. We make bags for both the chemical and agricultural industries. We make bags that can allow moisture in if needed or bags that can keep moisture out. We make bags that can prevent combustion of hazardous materials and bags that meet FDA standards for food products. No matter what your free-flowing dry product is, we can make a bulk bag to save you money on its transportation and to save space on its storage.
- Various Designs. We make a variety of products. We use different combinations of side panels, baffling and top and bottom openings to make bags that meet many needs when it comes to filling the bags, stacking them and emptying them. If you don’t see one that fully meets your needs, we can work with you to design and customize the ideal FIBC bulk bag to lift, store and transport your products.
We know that there is no one size fits all when it comes to shipping containers. Gaylord boxes come in a few basic sizes, but nowhere near as many as our bulk bags. And they still leave you with the need for protecting and organizing your dry product with smaller bags. Bags that may need to help prevent moisture from getting to your product or prevent combustion of your product or meet FDA criteria for food storage. Midwestern Bag gives you a product that meets all of these needs. Bags that meet your size requirements, bags that meet the full safety requirement for your product, and bags that meet the design needs for your use.
FIBC Bulk Bags Are the Future
While shipping products in Gaylord boxes on pallets may have a long history, using them may very well become history for free-flowing dry agricultural and chemical products. The future is clearly FIBC bulk bags.
And why not choose them? Why not choose a shipping container that can quite simply be integrated into industrial processes? Why not choose a shipping container that saves your employees time and energy? Why not choose a shipping container that makes your business and your customers’ workplaces safer for employees? Why not choose a shipping container that can enhance your profits? Why not choose a shipping container that can be customized to meet all the requirements for the safe lifting, transportation and storage of your products?
Indeed, why not?
Midwestern Bag and Supply wants to work with you to help you make your business better. You can request a quote or contact our sales representatives about your request. You can also speak with one of our sales representatives at 515-393-2947.