Pallets are an important part of business today. But, because they’ve become a staple part of the global supply chain, we may often take pallets for granted. Just think, what would happen if your pallet vendor failed to get pallets to you on time? Or if your pallets didn’t show up at all?
If your pallets aren’t there when you need them, you could find yourself back in the 19th century when workers were still loading boxes one by one. Back then, it took two days to unload a single railcar. But, thanks to the invention of the pallet, workers were able to cut down that time to only one to two hours.
So, what would happen if your pallets didn’t show up? Undoubtedly your supply chain would take a major hit. Below, we’ve reviewed a few areas of your business that would suffer without pallets.
1. Lack of Efficiency.
Without pallets, the efficiency of your supply chain would experience some negative side effects. Results may include:
Overcrowded docks. Pallets enable you to quickly load and unload trailers. Without them, you would greatly increase load times, meaning you’d be able to receive and send fewer products on a daily basis.
Raised labor costs. Pallets not only allow workers to load items in bulk, but they also help workers easily transport oddly-shaped items that are too difficult to pick up with a forklift. Without pallets, you’d need more employees to help complete the manual labor of transporting goods – leading to higher labor costs.
Unhappy customers. Palletized products have become an industry standard. Not having them would affect how you’re able to deliver products to your customers, as well as how they are able to transport your products within their warehouse. In the end, your lack of pallets would affect your business and your customers’ businesses as well.
2. Higher Risk of Injury.
Pallets reduce manual handling which reduces the risk of injury. Not only does manual handling increase the likelihood of workers dropping heavy packages, but it is also the primary cause of back injuries in the workplace. If your is staff isn’t able to use pallets, you may see a spike in worker injuries and worker compensation claims.
*It’s important to note that pallets aren’t a guarantee against worker injuries. For best results, make sure your employees are properly trained to load and unload pallets with safety in mind.
3. Increased Instances of Product Damage.
A properly-loaded pallet that’s been shrink-wrapped poses less of a risk of products being dropped or damaged during transport than manual handling. Transportation of products without pallets could result in an uptick of product damage and an increase in expenses.
With all this in mind, it becomes obvious that if your pallets don’t arrive, your business could be in trouble. It’s more important than ever that you work with a reliable pallet provider that will ensure the pallets you need when you need them.
So, how can you identify a reliable pallet company? Below, I’ve included a list of characteristics you should look for in your pallet company.
1. Pallet Variety
The type of pallet your business needs depends on a range of factors like what industry you’re in; the size, shape, and nature of your products; and your budget. Your pallet provider should be able to offer you a wide variety of pallet options, including:
- New/Used/Remanufactured pallets
- Treated and untreated pallets
- Custom and standard pallets
Having choices in this area will help ensure you’re getting the exact pallets you need to create the most efficient supply chain system for your company.
2. National Scope
When looking for a pallet company, find a pallet group with nation-wide services that can provide you with pallets wherever your need exists. National reach can help you reduce travel time during pallet delivery and eliminate the need to work with multiple suppliers to service multiple facilities, cutting down on administrative costs.
3. Large Network
Beyond having a national scope, you should also ensure your pallet provider has enough suppliers and trailers to make sure they are capable of delivering the pallets you need even during unforeseen incidents.
For example, if there is a service failure related to a natural catastrophe, the right pallet management company will have backup suppliers that can step in and meet your packaging needs. First Alliance Logistics Management (FALM) has a multi-tiered supply chain that allows them to pull from other suppliers in nearby markets in times of natural disasters.
4. Pallet Recovery Program
Make sure your pallet company offers a pallet recovery program. A pallet recovery system with online tracking helps to ensure your pallets are there when you need them through prompt, reliable recovery and return of your pallets in an ongoing cycle. It also eliminates packaging waste and helps manage inventory – especially for facilities with limited space or large volumes of pallets.
5. Years of Experience
With time comes knowledge. Knowledge of the logistics process will allow your pallet management group to develop a pallet logistics program that ensures you have the materials you need when you need them.
Not to mention, expertise in pallet design can help you save costs in redesign. It’s not uncommon for pallets to be redesigned for safety concerns and pallet load utilization. A pallet company with years of experience will help make sure your pallet is designed the right way from the start.
6. Incredible Customer Service
In the end, it all boils down to customer service. What does good customer service look like in the pallet industry?
Find a pallet vendor that has call centers with experienced staff, maintains regular contact with its customers, and has a proven track record. Most importantly, your pallet company should commit to providing you with the best possible pallet solutions for your business whenever you need them.