Extreme Logistics: How to Move Totem Poles

The transporting of Native American totem poles requires customized solutions, and George Gulli & Son Woodcarving had experienced some unfavorable and very expensive requirements from various vendors. The Montana-based company handcrafts totem poles that are transported around the world, and needed a partner who could optimize the loading and transporting of the native art.

Specialized Transportation Inc., a provider of high touch supply chain solutions, applied its standard protocol of cargo securement, lift gates and blanket wrap solutions to help solve George Gulli & Son’s logistics issues.

While totem poles can be very tall, 5 feet to 60 feet, George Gulli & Son was using a carrier which required the company to crate the totem poles to ensure no damage would be incurred during transit. After working with STI, George Gulli & Son was able to save over $150 in material for every shipment as well as several hours of labor as each totem pole required a customized crate for its specific characteristics.

STI’s standard lift gate, blanket-wrap and 4-wheel dollies made loading and unloading easier. The blankets help protect the poles while securing them inside the trailer; this allows for tight securement while protecting the crafted art. Further, these blanket wrap programs enable customers to meet their sustainability requirements as packing materials and dunnage are kept to a minimum.

George Gulli Jr. expressed how on-time delivery is critical. “Each order is custom, hand-crafted and takes sometimes months to complete, so on-time delivery without damage is extremely important. Each shipment is received with excitement as each totem pole tells a story or event specific to a group, family or individual – a damaged piece of art is a huge disappointment. If my customers are happy, I'm happy.”

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