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Warehouse & Logistics News – Have you any handle on how the pallet exchange networks have benefited the environment though issues like reduced empty running or poorly filled return journeys since they began 20 years ago?

The Palletforce principle is built on smart working with environmental responsibility at its heart.

Using the pallet network model, trucks are able to run at around 82 per cent full – impressive when set against much lower figures for traditional methods of distribution.

The industry has therefore substantially reduced the number of vehicles on the roads, as the same amount of freight can be transported much more efficiently, with less empty trucks, thus making us the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly distribution option.

In just 20 years pallet networks have travelled a huge distance to become the number one choice as a credible solution for businesses looking to boost their environmental credentials.

This significant positive impact on the environment will only increase as networks mature and continue to develop innovations at every level.

WLN – What, if any, changes will you implement that will improve your customer experience/ environment?

After a £30m investment in Europe’s largest and best pallet distribution hub, last year Palletforce underwent one of our biggest ever investments in IT which takes our customer experience to an even higher level of excellence.

On the back of this £30m investment in our hub we further invested £1million in our IT system, called Alliance, which has been designed by Palletforce staff specifically for a pallet network and its members… which means it is unique and very exciting for our entire sector.

Alliance allows us to further improve efficiency and ensure our high level of quality customer service is maintained at every stage of our operations.

As it has been developed by Palletforce staff from the ground up and is tailor made to suit every depot’s and customers individual needs it allows members to streamline their operations and provide the best service possible.

The new system provides us with the tools to continue to improve customer service. We own the system and can adapt and modify it as our requirements – and our customers’ requirements change.

WLN – What government changes would you like to see that would improve conditions for you and your members and ultimate customers?

The most important thing that the Government could do for our industry would be to listen to us.

The transport and logistics industry is of huge importance to the UK economy and yet many businesses are being choked by red tape. There are also EU proposals to lower the heights of trailers which could have a serious impact on our industry as it would mean more journeys, more fuel costs and more carbon emissions.

Our industry is also battling escalating fuel costs which can lead to transport volumes being reduced. This mix of higher costs and lower volumes is a dangerous combination and support from the Government to limit fuel prices and provide some stability and security for the industry.

It is imperative that we have a Government that recognizes the important role we have in UK PLC and must be willing to listen and help in any way to ensure we remain a strong and vital force in the economy.

WLN – How do you see business turnover this year compared with 2010?

The economic climate remains fragile but we are optimistic about the future.

Despite the economic difficulties faced by all industries last year we recorded our best ever results.

It is a paradox that a recession can, within limits, boost a pallet network’s business activity as companies take advantage of the flexibility offered by this resilient and variable cost model of distribution.

Those fantastic results for 2010 have already attracted major interest in Palletforce and as a result several new members have already joined our Palletforce family.

WLN – What trends, if any, have you detected in your industry and please give the reasons behind those trends?

Across the pallet network industry there has been consistent growth throughout a period of recession.

The business model has proved incredibly resistant to the economic downturn and has even expanded.

Pallet networks are spanning more and more industry sectors as business leaders see the advantages of using this model of distribution to meet their varying requirements.

The industry has also matured with better IT, customer service and technologies.

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