The pallet networks have been with us a long time and are here to stay. It’s a pretty smart idea to start with, having regional hauliers bring freight from their part of the country to a central hub, swop loads with carriers from other areas and then take the load they have picked up back to their region and deliver it.

At a stroke it cuts both the number of lorries returning empty after deliveries and the distances they were travelling, good news for everyone. And over time, the networks have been getting even smarter and offering customers even greater benefits.

A classic example, UPN’s network of over 90 UK members offers delivery and collection services across Britain and Europe, with a range of pallet delivery options from the 150kg Micro pallet to the recently added 2.2 metre high Full pallet. UPN has evolved over more than a decade and its services are underpinned by the most advanced IT systems.

As reported in this feature UPN’s stated strategy is to provide “First Class Travel for Palletised Freight” and it is looking to establish itself as the Pallet Network with the highest “IQ”, powered by such developments as SmartDOC, a new web based IT support system which is making a big difference to operational and administrative efficiencies for UPN both centrally and regionally.

Even with the best technology, ultimately the networks depend on their individual member companies to fulfill the promise of what pallet networks can really achieve for the businesses that use them to move their goods. One such member company, Palletways Birmingham, is celebrating a major milestone, two million pallets collected from customers and delivered by fellow network members since it became part of Palletways. Palletways Birmingham also recently regained their Platinum status, an accolade to recognise depots which provide service excellence to the rest of the network.

The pallet networks are justifiably proud of their achievements and like to highlight them in their marketing.

Palletforce will once again be a driving force behind the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards, sponsoring the Brand Success of the Year award at this year’s event, taking place in June at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The Awards recognise businesses and individuals leading the way with innovation, enterprise and quality in Scotland’s food and drink industry. 2018 is the fourth year Palletforce has sponsored the Brand Success category.