Custom Processing Services Blog

7 Factors You Need to Know About Shipping Materials for Toll Processing

Ed Murray, Jan 28, 2021 6:45:00 AM


Manufacturers across a range of industries entrust toll processors to deliver the experience in material science, access to specialized equipment, and production capacity they need, when they need it. 

And when it comes to technical mastery, particle size reduction is fundamental — but it’s also just one of the many critical areas of expertise a tolling partner can bring to your process.

Your technical sales representative knows which questions to ask when your project request comes in, starting with the basics like an SDS and as much information about your material, processes, experiential data, and target specifications as you can provide. The more information you offer, the more efficiently, cost-effectively, and safely your toll processing team can achieve your goals.

But there’s another critical area where close collaboration with your toll processor can help you optimize efficiency and avoid potential pitfalls: shipping and receiving.

In this article, we take a look at some important points along the way where the information you share — or don’t — can make the difference between a flawless experience and a headache.

Shipping & Receiving: Communication With Your Toll Processor Matters

Most discussions about tolling and outsourcing focus on process quality, and for good reason: You need to be able to trust that your toll processor will commit to quality and your target specifications with the same dedication you bring.

But the steps that come before and after processing matter, too. Consider how every interaction with your project contributes to your overall success or failure, including:

  • Timely receipt and unloading of shipments
  • Proper handling of potentially sensitive raw materials
  • Material-appropriate storage conditions
  • Optimal post-processing packaging formats and shipping configurations
  • And more

It quickly becomes clear that every touchpoint is an opportunity to optimize efficiency and get things right. So as a customer, what steps can you take to ensure that no project detail is missed, on your end or ours?

Key Factors of Receiving That Can Affect Your Project

1. Your materials need to be scheduled for receiving. Do you have an appointment?

As any manufacturer knows, managing the logistics of operational capacities is complex. Your project is carefully scheduled within this complex landscape, and your shipment’s appointed arrival time has been arranged to optimize unloading and minimize driver wait times.

On your end, it’s critical to communicate your receiving schedule with your freight broker or shipping company — and, ultimately, your driver. 

An unscheduled arrival can mean hours lost waiting in a queue while scheduled shipments are prioritized. Your toll manufacturer’s receiving teams do all they can to accommodate every incoming shipment, but unscheduled deliveries can add up to material handler overtime, frustrated drivers, and increased costs.

2. If your toll processor has multiple locations … Do you have the right address?

Your service team will provide the correct address and detailed instructions for the receiving area at the specific facility where your project is scheduled. Many toll processors serve multiple industries and have separate facilities for projects in cGMP for food or pharmaceuticals versus industrial processing.

The receiving address you’ll need is also likely different from your toll processor’s business address, so be sure the right details get through — like your receiving appointment — all the way to your assigned driver. 

Sometimes these important details can fall through the cracks as the information passes through logistical systems; emphasizing their importance with your carrier can prevent lost time, frustrated drivers, and other headaches.

3. Packaging formats and shipment configurations matter. Does your toll processor know what to expect? 

The material handling equipment required for 55-gallon drums is different from what’s needed for 275-gallon totes. The same can be said for 40-pound bags versus super sacks. 

Detailed knowledge about formats and sizes enables your toll processor to plan for moving and storage of products in their care. Whether your material is liquid or dry, the bulk packaging sizes and formats, and shipping configurations all contribute to how our material handlers can unload it safely and efficiently at receiving.

It’s worth mentioning that efficient unloading can make your freight hauler happier, too.

4. DOT hazardous materials require extra attention. Are all parties aware of your shipment’s hazmat status?

It’s important to keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have different rule sets concerning hazardous materials. Compliance with both is required, and helps ensure everyone’s safety, in transit and on the job.

It’s also crucial to remember that, for DOT hazmat purposes, material packaging size matters. A material that isn’t classified as DOT hazmat in smaller packaging formats could be deemed hazardous when packaged in greater bulk quantities — like 5-gallon pails versus 275-gallon totes, for example.

It’s up to you to make sure that your shipping provider is fully qualified to transport DOT hazmat materials, that they use proper placards, and that the driver(s) assigned to your load possess the correct endorsements on their commercial driver’s license.

5. The quality and care of your freight handler matters. Are you confident in yours?

During project planning, your service team develops an idea about what to expect in terms of material condition. Your shipping service provider’s care in handling can meet that expectation, or it can fall short, creating unanticipated consequences that could affect your project.

Shipments that arrive out of conformance run the risk of being rejected. 

Of course, it should go without saying that your toll processor will do everything they can to accept and process your material. If a shipment arrives with damage or product loss, you should expect your receiving team to document issues and communicate with you right away about next steps to salvage or reject the material.

Sometimes, poor quality packaging or other problems can mean leaking or contaminated products, pointing to yet another reason it’s critically important to provide SDS and other detailed information. Material handlers rely on safety data sheet information to don the appropriate personal protective equipment, to avoid using material handling machinery that could spark a flame, to clean up spills correctly, and to dispose properly of any contaminated items.

Optimal Planning for Delivery of Your Processed Materials

6. Your toll processor can help you plan and save on pack-out and delivery. 

Final delivery of your material, whether that means forwarding to the next step in your manufacturing operation or delivering packaged product for distribution, is an often-overlooked opportunity for adding efficiency and value. Early consultation with your team can reveal ways to save money and time on packaging and shipping.

Your final product packaging is chosen based on where it’s headed, whether it’s returning to you, distributed in bulk, or heading for a retail shelf. So it’s important to be sure you’ve selected the right packaging format and material. 

As with incoming materials, factors that can be missed — and can cause problems if you miss them — include product density, particle behavior, moisture specifications, and more.

Very dense materials can be heavy in small quantities, requiring special shipping configurations that can waste space in transport unless you plan ahead. Containers that rely on solid product flowability can function poorly for end users if the material agglomerates. Thin or fragile film packaging can fail to protect against moisture, or can easily burst and leak on its way to shelf. 

A consultative toll processor can help you select, source, and package your product for the best outcome. The same goes for shipping. Your toll processor can help you determine the right pallet size and configuration to fit your product packaging, as well as the shipping container or trailer that will carry it.

7. Your toll processor’s logistics experts apply the same attention to detail in shipping and receiving that our material experts apply in processing.

Just as you rely on your toll processor to identify and optimize efficiencies in processing, the same is true of their logistical teams. Their specialists can handle your transportation needs across multiple modes, as well as warehousing.

When all is said and done, there’s a lot to gain by entrusting your toll processing partner with more of your project’s details, rather than less, to benefit from insights that can optimize processes, improve products, and save you time and money.

You can explore how partnering with a toll processor compares with in-house processing and manufacturing when you download our guide, Comparing the Benefits of Toll Processing and In-House Manufacturing. Just click the link below to get your copy.

And if you’ve got lingering questions about how we can help you achieve your material specifications while also maximizing operational efficiencies, you can always use our contact form to reach out.New call-to-action

Posted in:Toll Processing