Long before warehouses and the loading and unloading docks we recognize today, American transporting and delivering products used to look completely different. Today, our storage and transportation system is a calculated science that takes price, location, customer service, and other significant factors into consideration.
Industrial operations had much more bare-bones in terms of procedures back in the 1920s and 30s. Before using wooden pallets, warehouses and industrial businesses had to use creative methods and mechanisms to keep businesses running efficiently.
In this article, we’ll examine the history of wooden pallets and warehouses. We’ll see how pallets have helped make the America we know today. Let’s get started by discussing some of their earliest uses.
The Origin of Wooden Pallets
Pallets were an invention of necessity. The 1920s and 30s began to see more and more forklifts and trucks being used to transport products and merchandise. As more and more businesses began to take advantage of moving their inventory with these vehicles, people began to stretch their creativity and use objects such as sleds and wooden boards to make transporting things easier. Eventually, wooden boxes naturally became one of the most convenient containers to use.
The pallets used in the early to mid 1900s were far from the same design as the pallets manufacturers use today. Instead, the earliest pallets were rather standard wooden boxes that served as prototypes for the pallets we recognize in modern industries.
As the industry continued to grow, manufacturers began to examine how they could transform wooden boxes into a more efficient and universal tool. Manufacturers made pallets with three major goals in mind.
- Forklift Convenience
- Weight Management
- Economically Efficient Design
Once manufacturers invented basic shape pallets and built upon these dimensions, they were able to create a container that was simple to produce, successful for carrying heavy loads, and convenient for forklift equipment to move.
The creation of the pallets opened up new conveniences and capabilities for warehouses and industrial businesses across the country. In many ways, pallets were an essential tool used to build the advanced industrial inventions and enterprises we know today.
How Pallets Have Changed the Country Since Then
Now that we’ve outlined the origin of wooden pallets, let’s examine how they have evolved and altered American industrial businesses.
How Pallet Changed Bulk Transportation
Wooden pallets have given American businesses and manufacturers the ability to optimize the amount, weight, and type of products they store and deliver. Their impressive weight capacity makes them simple for businesses to produce, store, and transport more products. Creating bulk orders and deliveries is a simple and profitable system because of wooden pallets. Without them, businesses would be forced to focus more time and money on allocating smaller shipments and assembly for their products.
How Pallets Changed Warehouse Safety
Pallets have also shaped the safety of modern-day warehouses. Toward the beginning of the industrial revolution, workplace hazards were far more severe and common. Without safety protocols or procedures in place, many workers suffered serious injuries while working in developing warehouses.
As safety protection for employees has improved over time, pallets have become an essential safety tool.
Pallet users pack products securely in these containers, which are then placed or lifted into racks. When warehouses organize their pallets correctly, this system prevents employees from experiencing injuries. Pallet management also helps businesses avoid damage or lose merchandise.
How Pallet Contribute To U.S. Sustainability
Lots of things have changed since the Industrial Revolution. Perhaps the most significant contrast between the beginning of industrialization and today is the focus modern businesses have on sustainability.
Today, most industries aim to decrease their carbon footprint and embrace eco-friendly business models. Luckily, recycled pallets are an integral part of the entire pallet supply system. Businesses buy or sell used or recycled pallets at a discounted price. This system allows business owners to save money, earn back money, and get the most use of their pallets. Many wooden pallets may be repurposed several times before becoming unsalvageable.
Buyback programs help to ensure that no unnecessary waste comes from the use of wooden pallets.
How Pallets Have Affected Different Industries
Now that’s we’ve established some of the major effects pallets have in America’s industrial structure, let’s examine what industries have been the most affected by the use of pallets. While there are endless businesses that use these containers, some of the largest industries to use pallets are:
- Food and beverage businesses
- Manufacturing businesses
- Construction businesses
Whether they’re moving bulk food products, equipment parts, or cement, pallets have made the transportation and storage of these items highly convenient, efficient, and organized. For industries such as the food and beverage industry, pallets have even evolved to specific dimensions.
The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association was the first to name 48×40 pallets the standard pallet size for food and beverage businesses. Countless other industries also use these standardized pallets.
These are just a few of the different ways how pallets have helped to make the America we know today. From the very first use of wooden slabs and boxes in the early to mid 1900s to modern-day standardized pallets, pallets continue to evolve and affect businesses throughout the country.
Taking a look back at how pallets have affected businesses throughout time is essential.
Reflecting on how the pallet industry has grown and changed over time gives industries worldwide a better sense of what’s in store for the future of this industry.
If you’re interested in learning more about wooden pallets, plastic pallets, or pallet management, First Alliance Logistics Management is a wooden pallet vendor that offers high-quality service and industry expertise. Our experienced staff will answer any of your pallet-related questions. We’ll also help you with any pallet management issues in your warehouse.
Whether you’d like to learn more about pallet buyback programs or manufacturing new pallets, our team of experts is ready to assist you. Check out our First Alliance Logistics Management website to learn more about our staff, expertise, and service. A member of our staff will be available to speak with you about your pallet management today.