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Guide to Transporting and Warehousing Solar Panels

Guide to Transporting and Warehousing Solar Panels

While solar panels can take a beating from direct sunlight for more than 12 hours a day, they aren’t immune to cracks, micro-cracks and other forms of damage during transportation and warehousing. In times when you need to store your solar panels in a safe and secure location with a third-party logistic (3PL) team, you can rely on Crown LSP Group.

Although there is no universal standard regarding the loading, transporting, unloading and storing of solar panels, we know what it takes to get the job done in a way that replicates an extension of your current business tactics. Crown LSP Group works with you to understand your precise requirements to create a customized solution for warehousing solar panels.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels are devices that convert energy from the sun into electricity — often for residential and commercial zones. However, solar panels can also provide energy for individual homes in remote areas or even satellites.

Each solar panel is made of solar cells. Elements like phosphorus, silicon and boron make up each cell and work together to form energy via the photovoltaic process. When boron forms a positive charge and phosphorus forms a negative one, the cells absorb the sun’s photons. From there, these three chemicals pull the electrons into a current, releasing energy for electricity.

Solar panels are a sustainable and renewable alternative to coal and natural gas. Their environmental benefits and their ability to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels are major reasons for their growing popularity.

How to Properly Ship, Handle and Store Solar Panels

Shipping solar panels and storing them safely is a process that unfortunately doesn’t have industry standards across the globe. But here at Crown LSP Group, we have designed a detailed and stringent process to ensure your solar panels are securely handled.

Challenges in Transporting Solar Panels

In general, transporting solar panels is challenging because they are fragile and heavy. The key for storing solar panels is to protect them from the weight of each other and external transportation damage.

We uphold unique solar panel loading, transporting and unloading stipulations at Crown LSP Group. We understand that solar panels are sensitive components that, when under even slight pressure, can experience micro-cracks. As a result, these minute damages can affect how the entire system operates. Several negative effects of micro-cracks include:

  • Decreased lifespan
  • Electrical separation
  • Hot spots
  • Inactive cells (power loss)
  • Solar panel performance

How to Ship Solar Panels Safely

Stacking solar panels horizontally can cause damage to each panel that you can’t always see. If possible, you may be able to spot micro-cracks in a panel from a change in color, making it darker than the rest of the unit — but this is only out of luck. More often than not, micro-cracks go unnoticed and grow over time, and they eventually become even more detrimental defects.

Vertical stacking is a method that can form minimal pressure on the modules when stacked on a pallet. This strategy reduces top-to-bottom pressure and the stress of large amounts of weight.

How to ship solar panels safety

Other components that can help protect solar panels in storage include:

  • Corner protectors
  • Foam pads
  • Protective outer layer
  • Separators between each panel
  • Straps on corners

Crown LSP Group has high standards in place to prevent even the tiniest of scratches. We ensure each panel is secure so that there is no room for movement, keeping individual units protected during transportation.

Knowing how to store solar panels in a warehouse is a technique that ensures each panel is free from cracks and other damages.

Partnering With the Right 3PL

Partnering with the right 3LP for your solar panel transport and warehousing needs is critical to keeping each unit secure and ready for consumers. The right partner will understand that solar panels are high-value items that are delicate and require careful storage.

They should also cater to your unique solar panel needs and understand the care that’s necessary to prevent any damage. Your panels should arrive safely at the warehouse and be stored properly until you need them.

Whether you’re transporting and storing an entire truckload of solar panels or several at a time, proper processes are essential for delivering your products on time to consumers.

How Crown LSP Group Can Provide Third-Party Logistics Solar Panel Solutions

Crown LSP Group protects your solar panels every step of the way.

We implement storage techniques that can withstand mechanical stress and heavier loads than normal to safeguard each panel from damage, dents, cracks and micro-cracks. Our experts are here to manage your inventory and prepare outgoing products for you or your consumers when needed while also offering climate-controlled storage solutions if necessary. We help transport panels to and from the warehouse while delivering additional benefits, such as:

  • Ability to handle MBLs
  • Exceptional understanding of load configurations
  • Mobile scanning equipment
  • Reports necessary for you and your customers
  • Special equipment to accommodate oversized pallets of solar panels
  • Specialized forklifts and equipment (damage-free handling)

Our transportation department also supports the moving of pallets to your job site and bringing in containers from the port. To date, Crown LSP Group has supported about 40,000 pallets of solar panels with previous customers.

Contact Crown LSP Group for Warehousing and Transportation Requests

Contact Crown LSP Group

When you rely on timely deliveries to clients and need extra space for storing your solar panels, Crown LSP Group has you covered. As a family-owned business, we know what it means to take care of our clients and their products. Our goal is to create an extension of your business unit when transporting and warehousing shipments of solar panels. Whether you need to store panels for future use or need to transport materials, Crown LSP Group is here to work with you one-on-one.

Request a quote online or reach out to a Crown LSP Group representative to learn more about the transporting and warehousing solutions we offer.

 

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How To Prepare Your Supply Chain For Winter

How to Prepare Your Supply Chain for Winter

From blizzards to freezing rain to brittle cold snaps, winter weather can be hard on the supply chain. Cold weather can affect supply chains in many ways, including disruption in transportation routes, damaged cargo and sudden power outages. By planning ahead for the impact of winter weather on supply chains, businesses can prevent costly delays and fulfill orders efficiently.

This guide to preparing supply chains for winter discusses the importance of planning ahead for winter, as well as some of the top ways cold weather affects the supply chain. We’ll also provide tips on how to prepare your supply chain for winter weather and the benefits of partnering with a trusted third-party logistics provider for all your winter transportation and logistics needs.

Importance of Preparing Your Supply Chain for Winter

When entering the winter season, it’s important for businesses to prepare for the changes that come with cold weather, as well as changes in consumer behavior. By preparing your supply chain for winter challenges, you can ensure your business remains successful and can weather any storm ahead.

Here are some of the top reasons why it’s important to prepare your supply chain for winter:

  • Prevent increased overhead costs: As the season changes and temperatures drop, the ability to keep a steady supply chain is disrupted. These disruptions lead to companies needing to make additional expenditures to support their supply chain efforts, including additional labor. To minimize unexpected increases in overhead costs, companies must prepare for potential winter disruptions.
  • Keep goods secure: It’s critical to prepare your supply chain for winter to ensure you have enough warehousing space to store goods as needed. Disruptions in the supply chain can cause goods to become backed up at certain distribution points. Securing enough warehouse space can help protect your goods and keep them safe while transportation routes clear up.
  • Meet customer demands: Failing to prepare for winter supply chain challenges can lead to disruptions in customer service and maintaining customer relationships. To meet customer demands and expectations, prepare ahead of time for some of the potential challenges during the winter season.

Taking the time to plan for winter supply chain challenges will reduce impacts to your bottom line and improve customer satisfaction.

Supply Chain Challenges During Winter

To prepare for supply chain challenges during the winter season, it’s critical to be aware of the most common issues impacting businesses this time of year. The major difference between the winter supply chain and supply chain practices the rest of the year is the cold weather that causes freight transportation and delivery delays.

In addition to weather, there are other unique challenges that businesses face during the winter that can affect supply chain management. Knowing what to expect can help your business acquire the necessary resources and assistance for a successful winter supply chain.

Below are the top supply challenges during the winter.

Severe Weather

Severe Weather

The biggest threat to the supply chain during the winter is the risk of extreme weather. Though some regions face more extreme winter weather than others, cold temperatures and snowy conditions affect businesses across the country when the supply chain is nationwide.

Some of the major impacts of winter weather on supply chains include:

  • Road closures due to snow and ice that delay freight trucks
  • Extreme weather that grounds cargo planes
  • International delays in cargo flights, ground transport or sea freight due to weather in other countries
  • Power outages that affect distribution centers and warehouses

All of the above winter weather hazards can result in delays, accidents and safety risks that impact the supply chain.

Increased Holiday Demand

Another one of the challenges of the supply chain during the winter is the increased consumer demand that occurs ahead of the holidays, as well as in the months afterward. There is a general nationwide increase in demand during the holidays and an increase in demand for certain types of products that require unique warehousing and transportation needs.

It’s crucial to be aware of the type of demand your business can expect during the holiday season to plan for your increased supply chain needs. Using forecasting tools can help you predict holiday demand based on the records from previous years.

Longer Lead Times

The combination of severe winter weather and increased seasonal demand creates a ripple effect that impacts the rest of the supply chain. As a result, it’s important to anticipate winter’s impact on the supply chain timeline. Many businesses experience longer lead times during the winter, as it can take longer for trucks to turn over products to and from the warehouse and delivery points.

While it’s difficult to predict from year to year just how much winter weather and demand will impact the supply chain, you can mitigate the risk of these delays by setting the expectation of longer lead times.

Warehousing Shortages

When consumer demand increases in the lead-up to the holidays, it can create a shortage in warehouse space across the country. When companies fail to plan ahead for an increase in consumer demand, they often are left scrambling to find ways to warehouse goods strategically in anticipation of increased customer orders.

Additionally, when winter weather impacts major transport routes, warehouse turnover rates slow down, leading to a backlog of goods that would otherwise already be out for delivery. This creates a bottleneck in the supply chain that further impacts lead times and drives up supply chain costs.

Increased Transportation Costs

When winter weather impacts the supply chain, the net result is an increase in operational costs, particularly in the cost of trucking or transportation. When demand starts to exceed supply, this naturally results in an increase in the cost of all goods related to the supply chain. From fuel to labor to shipping containers, supply chain cost increases affect all areas of logistics.

Because the increased costs associated with a lagging supply chain get passed on to the customer, it’s important to prepare financially for the effects of the winter supply chain.

Tips for preparing your supply chain for winter

Tips for Preparing Your Supply Chain for Winter

Despite the challenges that winter weather and holiday demand cause for businesses and their supply chains, there are concrete steps you can take to mitigate these issues. Preventing winter weather from impacting your supply chain starts with preparation. Knowing ahead of time which issues arise during the winter and how to plan for them can determine business success.

Here are some of the top tips for preparing your supply chain for winter.

1. Monitor Weather Reports

Keeping your pulse on regional weather reports is one of the smartest ways to prepare supply chains in winter weather. By monitoring weather reports, you can be alerted to some of the weather patterns impacting key areas of your supply chain. You’ll become aware of weather issues such as extreme cold and ice that can delay truck traffic and cause collisions. You’ll also be able to anticipate any forthcoming blizzards that might interrupt the power grid.

If you rely on air cargo as part of your supply chain, then following commercial and cargo airline delays can also help you predict and react to any disruptions. As you continue to monitor the weather, adjust operations as necessary to accommodate for interruptions. This can include rescheduling workers or updating shipment tracking information.

2. Implement Time Management Practices

While you can’t do anything to change the weather or consumer demand, you can implement strategic time management practices that will help alleviate pressure from the supply chain. When shipping to regions with known patterns of inclement weather, set longer lead time expectations with customers. This allows you to buy time to explore other routes or logistics options without affecting the customer.

Because severe weather can cause closures at ports, runways and highways, it’s critical to have a flexible schedule that can incorporate other solutions that still meet customer demands. Setting realistic timelines can reduce the impact of delays and decrease the number of shipping errors.

3. Consider Freight Protection

How does cold weather affect the supply chain? Unpredictable winter weather does more than impact the ability to transport cargo. It can also impact the goods themselves. Certain types of goods may be more susceptible to damage with sudden drops in temperature. Cold and freezing weather can damage goods like precision instruments and appliances, perishable foods, chemicals and paints.

When preparing supply chains for winter, be sure to consider whether your goods are temperature-sensitive and what additional protection they may need to arrive safely. Most trailers aren’t temperature-controlled and cannot protect goods from freezing weather. Arrange to have sensitive products shipped in climate-controlled trailers for guaranteed freight protection.

4. Improve Communication

To ensure your supply chain functions properly in cold weather, businesses need to have excellent communication among their own staff, as well as with outside warehousing and logistics partners. It’s also important to maintain communication with the customer.

If extreme winter weather is anticipated, make sure each point along the supply chain is up to date with new procedures and contingency plans. Having transparent communication with your logistics partners provides you with peace of mind and more control over your operations. This allows you to update your customers in time should any shipping delays occur.

5. Create a Backup Plan

Though it’s hard to predict the impact of winter weather on supply chains, it’s still possible to prepare for potential delays by creating a contingency plan. When creating a winter weather supply chain backup plan, it’s important to know whether you will adopt alternate modes of transportation and logistics. Alternatively, you may be able to split your loads across multiple different modes of freight to minimize disruptions.

As part of your contingency plan, it’s important to budget for the possibility that you will need to switch to an alternate mode of transportation that costs more. By planning ahead, you can have the financial and logistics strategy to accommodate weather delays.

Benefits of a 3PL for Your Winter Supply Chain

For businesses to thrive, they need reliable systems and processes for streamlined order fulfillment. Efficient order fulfillment ensures businesses are able to meet their customers’ needs and continue to grow their sales. However, fulfilling orders can become increasingly more difficult to do in-house, especially during challenging winter weather when the supply chain is impacted.

Turning to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider like Crown LSP Group for help with order fulfillment can help businesses overcome winter weather supply chain issues. 3PLs provide an array of logistics and supply chain management services that support businesses in managing and moving goods to their final destination efficiently and securely.

Here are some of the ways 3PL services from Crown LSP Group can become an integral part of your winter supply chain.

Inventory Management

When you partner with a 3PL provider like Crown LSP Group, your business can rest assured that your goods will be properly managed and tracked at all times. When winter weather delays the supply chain, businesses need real-time information about the status of their goods to ensure open communication with the client.

3PL providers are able to transport your goods in safe and secure truckloads and track them at every stage using GPS technology. This ensures that businesses are always informed about the flow of goods and when shipments are delayed or on the way.

More Transportation Options

Part of winter supply chain planning is knowing what additional or alternative modes of transportation you may need to rely on when bad weather impacts logistics. 3PL partners can take on this responsibility, freeing up businesses from finding alternative transportation and logistics solutions on their own.

3PLs are experts in supply chain transportation solutions and can offer creative solutions in the event of inclement winter weather. 3PL providers at Crown LSP Group can offer LTL shipment solutions, which allow businesses to save money and maintain productive lead times.

3PL can provide additional overflow warehousing

Warehousing Overflow

If increased winter demand causes constraints on your in-house warehousing solutions, a 3PL can provide additional overflow warehousing that accommodates fluctuations in supply. Relying on a trusted 3PL for warehousing services helps businesses save time and resources, particularly with labor and management costs.

Additionally, 3PL warehouses are strategically located, ensuring your goods can be housed and shipped from a location that mitigates delays, including weather-related disruptions.

Improved Safety and Security

One of the supply chain issues that businesses face during the winter is the impact of freezing temperatures and hazardous conditions on the safety of goods. To ensure your goods are transported, stored and managed safely and securely, rely on a trusted 3PL.

Professional 3PL services from Crown LSP Group offer the integrated technology and systems to keep track of your goods and ensure their safe transportation and arrival. With warehousing services, 3PLs can provide the safety and security your goods need, including temperature-controlled storage.

Contact Crown LSP Group for Help Preparing Your Supply Chain for Winter

Preparing supply chains for winter requires advanced planning and effective logistics strategies and solutions. Knowing the common issues that impact supply chains in the winter can help you prevent logistics disruptions and delays. To keep your supply chain running smoothly in the winter, it’s important to get the help you need from a trusted 3PL partner.

Crown LSP Group is your solution for better winter supply chain management. We offer a range of transportation and logistics services to fit your supply chain needs. We have the flexibility and scalability you need to accommodate winter supply challenges. For more information on our personalized 3PL solutions, contact us today or request a quote.

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