More frequently than not, these workhorses of the warehouse are taken for granted, used and abused, dropped, thrown, and cast aside.
Pallets play a vital support role in moving various kinds of goods. Without pallets, the supply chain couldn’t function.
“Pallet type and quality have an enormous effect on several facets, including loading and unloading time, safety, product quality, and cost,” says Curt Most, global sales manager for Oconomowoc, Wisc.-based reusable packaging company Orbis Corporation.
Pallets come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. Choose smartly is crucial. The ideal choice can indicate a smoothly running process; the wrong choice can indicate a significant headache.
“The incorrect pallet can translate to distribution and delivery slowdowns,” says Most. “In the worst situations, the wrong pallet choice may cause the loss of goods and profit.”
In some industries, pallet choice simply is dependent upon the end product. As an instance, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and electronics industries frequently have specific shipping requirements. In those situations, companies often elect to operate closed-loop pallet networks, pooling equipment that meets their particular needs.
Another benefit to wood pallets is they’re a pure product–a featured plastic and aluminium can’t claim. Active Pallets provide various quality of pallet dimension.
“PECO’s pallets are based from sustainably harvested lumber and are regularly repaired, reused, and recycled,” says Potgieter. When a pallet can’t be fixed, the wood is shredded into mulch for animal bedding, and the nails are removed and recycled.
“Environmental sustainability is a significant concern, and using pooled pallets is a straightforward and cost-effective way for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint,” he adds.
Wood could be the standard option, but plastic pallets are gaining acceptance.
“But companies are still catching on to those advantages. It takes a while for them to realise plastic pallets are more investment than a commodity.”
Even though they can be more expensive, plastic pallets are often stronger and lighter than wood pallets, as well as being water repellent, exportable, fire resistant, and recyclable. They also tend to cause fewer warehouse handling injuries, as they’re free of splinters and rusted nails. Even though a broken wood pallet might need to be retired, plastic pallets may frequently be repaired with replacement boards.
Plastic pallets also supply bar-coding and tracking capabilities via RFID, allowing manufacturers and shippers to follow their pallets any place in the supply chain.
Like wood, plastic pallets support the green initiatives many businesses have launched in the last couple of decades. While wood is, of course, a more natural solution, broken plastic pallets can be ground up and reused to make new pallets, instead of going to a landfill. Furthermore, many plastic pallet manufacturers buy back broken pallets and provide the customer credit toward new ones.