The fundamental fact about pallets is that irrespective of your pallet type, material or manufacturing technique, a pallet is only as good as its ability to repeatedly be a pallet at a required standard consistently throughout its lifespan. Those pallet standards vary wildly depending on the application, logistical flow, economic business case and ultimately the nature of the product to be shipped. The cost of administration and control for anyone moving pallets as part of a returnable program can be a significant burden. I think the real challenge is educating the wider industry on understanding clearly how the humble pallets get treated as a throw away logistics commodity irrespective of your purchase price or what your pooling contract says.
There isn’t a one type fits all pallet, no matter what colour or make it is. Some platforms fit a wider supply chain application than others. If you need a pallet to ship product to a short term construction site on a one off basis, then use a pallet that fits the requirement of unlikely reuse. If you need a post Brexit pallet that is IPSM 15 certified or non-wood, then there are many to choose from. Just don’t pay for those lovely heat treated pallets, get them delivered and leave them sitting outside for 4 weeks until you use them. We see this all too often and even the most basic principles of HACCP say this is bad!
Having a great pallet to either sell or offer as a pooled solution is just part of the requirement, ensuring that its fit for purpose every time it cycles through the supply chain and certified at a measured level of hygiene is critical in so many customer flows. Actually measuring your pallets performance and traceability is a fascinating science and we have been manufacturing pallets with active technology embedded for nearly 4 years now. The live data we get from our pallets is such a great information array to not only continually improve our operations and prevent both loss on the asset and loss of the asset, but also to really help our customers within their businesses. With our wide area active technology, we can provide both a hyper local and a global view of pallet flows for both our customers and our logistics partners to drive value through visibility.
Ask any politician what supply chain visibility meant six months ago. My guess is you would be met with a blank expression and a somewhat evasive, long winded response. Ask a politician the same question today, it may now mean the difference between winning and losing the next election.!