The supply chain is a very important part of the global economy and can have huge effects on local economies as well. Understanding supply chains and how each part of it works can help you better understand what’s happening around the world and how it affects your business. In this article, we’ll look at how pallets influence the supply chain as a way to understand the supply chain.
Understanding the Supply Chain
To really delve into how the pallets are a part of the supply chain, you must have a good grasp of what the supply chain is and how it works. At its core, the supply chain is the whole process of creating a product and getting it into the hands of customers. This includes first procuring the materials and processing them, leading to the construction of products and the eventual distribution and sale of those products. Every product uses its own supply chain, though companies group them together to save money and resources.
Each Chain Link
The reason people call it a supply chain is that each link leads to the next, just as it does with a regular chain. Every step in the creation and sale of a product must have things coming from the previous link, and each link will eventually send out things to the next link in the chain. To be clear, each link can be a variety of things, such as a warehouse to store products before sale, or a processing plant to transform raw materials into usable products.
The key to the success of a supply chain is how each link connects to the next, and the most common method is through shipping. Whether it’s by boat, train, plane, car, or any other means, items flow through the chain by being shipped from one place to another. This shipping is how most items go through the supply chain and is a necessary part of the flow of goods across the world.
The Fragile Chain
When most people think of chains, they imagine strong links that are difficult to break. But that’s not the case when it comes to the supply chain. Each link is entirely reliant on the link behind it, and even a simple mistake can really hurt the process and slow down the chain. It’s fair to say that the chain is fragile and volatile to simple changes that can send it to a grinding halt. While people spend a lot of money to protect their chain supply, there are so many parts of a chain that are difficult to cover at all. That’s why supply issues are common, especially after the wake of the global pandemic, which put a lot of strain on almost every link in every supply chain.
The Role of Pallets
While they may seem unimportant to an outsider, pallets are a large part of the flow of items through supply chains. Shipping is the main way items can flow through the supply chain, and pallets are the most effective way to move bundles of items. These large platforms help carry and protect products and materials as they flow through the supply chain, and without them, shipping would slow down and become inefficient.
Why Pallets Are the Only Choice
It may seem odd that pallets matter so much to the supply chain when there are so many other ways and tools to ship items across the world. However, there aren’t that many other options that come with the same benefits that pallets offer, which is why they’re the best option. Simply put, there isn’t another option that stands up to the pallet in terms of efficiency. Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of pallets to help explain this.
The first benefit that comes from pallets is that they’re more than capable of carrying heavy loads without breaking. Whether the pallets are some new wood pallets for sale or made of plastic, the pallet’s quality is all that matters. Quality pallets can carry thousands of pounds without issues and can take quite a beating from the normal dings and wear and tear from shipping. Additionally, it’s very easy to reuse pallets after removing the products from them, saving a lot of money and resources for your supply chain.
Protection for Supply
That durability doesn’t just end at the pallet, as the loads pallets carry are also safer when on a pallet. It’s very easy to stabilize and bind materials and products to a pallet, so items won’t fall or separate during shipping. This prevents extra expenditure to protect or replace the materials when shipping them.
Easy To Move
Pallets aren’t just a simple board that items sit on; rather, they use special designs to make it easy to move items with heavy machinery and by hand. This way, they’re universally useful no matter the product and material you want to ship—even if you need to store them in another container on top of the pallet.
The last major benefit is that pallets are compatible with just about all shipping equipment. It would take a lot of money to switch to another system, as you would need new machinery and shipping containers. Pallets are already the default and work with most shipping systems around the world, making them extremely popular and useful.
How This Affects the Supply Chain
So how do pallets affect the supply chain? Shipping large packages or bundles depends on pallets, and a drop in the number of pallets would cause a decrease in efficiency during shipping. Items will flow through the supply chain at a slower rate, which would affect the whole chain and cause massive disruptions. You can see this as the demand for pallets went up by 25% in the first half 2022, and the supply wasn’t able to keep up. This was partly what caused the shipping delays people saw in the supply chains at the beginning of last year.