Reusable Pallets – Are They Getting Enough Attention?

reusable pallets

Reusable pallets offer some clear benefits but are they getting enough attention? If you are in any industry and you are trying to sell the benefits of a reusable pallets down the supply chain to your partners at first you may get a little negative feedback.

Most of the time businesses like to think about the current, they get a little side tracked when it comes to the short term future and when you talk about the benefits for the next decade you lose them.

The beauty of these reusable options is that the return grows the longer you use them. The longer they are the standard in your business the more your business will save.

Euro palletIt is true of every activity in the supply chain, the longer the pallets are used the more return they will see on their investment.

It can be difficult to convince people that switching to these types of pallets can help to grow their business for many years to come.

There is a higher upfront cost and that can turn some people off because they are concerned with the here and now but the reality is a closer look easily reveals that the investment is well spent and offers a huge ROI.

If you are interested in “selling” the idea of reusable pallets to your supply chain partners you may have a hard time pointing them to enough information.

It may be that other groups that are using them like some big corporate entities (Coca Cola for example) keep that to themselves because it is a very real advantage.

It is a good point to use these large corporate entities as an example. When you have wildly successful companies that spend large sums of money on research and development using this option it is a positive point.

When the giants can choose any pallets that they desire and they choose these it speaks volumes of how beneficial they are.

They offer well documented advantages that have some big names behind the research. A recent study done by Virginia Tech Pallet Research has shown that the reusable models provide a greater amount of protection to vibration sensitive items which can be a huge selling point to anyone that is dealing with vibration sensitive goods.

The study also went on to show that these types of shipping platforms also offer reduction is stress concentration.

With especially heavy products traditional wooden pallets can “give” under the weight and compress the goods into the stringers which can cause damage to the goods.

They are washable which means they stay new looking longer which makes they ideal for end user displays. There are many reasons why there should be tons of talk about these pallets.

Of course the above is only a small part of the story, there are other huge benefits to these reusable options. Getting the word out about what these options have to offer can help to persuade your supply chain members that they are a better option.

Economics

For many businesses making the choice comes down to simple economics. When you have a reusable option you spend less than you do on one way options. It really is simple math.

At the outset you may pay more upfront but over a very short period of time the ROI is apparent. Reusing means not having to buy new. After the first 3 trips it has paid for itself. After the next few trips it is all savings.

For every pallet that you do not have to buy moving forward it is savings each and every time. How much can you save? According to the experts the savings can be huge. It is very easy to see how this can be a huge cost savings measure.

It is not just cold hard cash you will be saving either. You will be saving on:

  • Waste management
  • Labor costs
  • Storage costs

Waste management is a tremendous cost. Labor for the waste management comes into play as well. Labor for the constant movement from storage to warehouse moving one way options is also expensive.

That labor that is assigned to moving pallets can be assigned someplace else in the warehouse that is far more beneficial to the organization.

Saving space is also a big deal for most groups. Traditional pallets require storage space, newer more flexible pallets that can be reused take up less space because you need less pallets.

The savings is written all over reusable options. Some industry experts put the cost savings at about 40%. Saving 40% on costs should be enough persuasion but there is more.

Reduce Risk

The cost of labor injuries is explosive and seemingly on the rise. Reducing risk of injury can be a large area of savings and of course keep production moving along.

palletWooden one way pallets can increase risk of injury from everything as simple as a splinter to spillage accidents.

Reusable options are built with a sturdier disposition and are usually not constructed of wood.

They are offer a sturdier option for products as well. As discussed above they vibrate less so they are safer for goods that are prone to vibration damages.

They are also more sanitary and preferred by the food industry. They can accommodate a wide range of products that need some extra protection when shipping. Protecting inventory and goods from damage is of course a huge risk reduction and a cost savings.

Reduction in Carbon Footprint

The environment impact of every industry matters. Using reusable can reduce any organizations environmental impact by about 10% the FIRST year.

Over a decade that number grows exponentially and can actually see a 50% increase in carbon footprint reduction.

This type of pallet has a wide reaching effect. Less pallets have to be manufactured which of course effects the emissions and reliance on natural resources. It is a small step that can affect the entire supply chain.

Practicality

Some skeptics find it difficult to believe that there is an option that offers so many benefits. They wonder what they have to give up to use this great option and get all the benefits. There is nothing to give up.

It can be used as a traditional pallet and provide a great amount of protection for your products, inventory and supplies without sacrificing anything.

These types of pallets offer easy maneuverability. They can be washed down to keep them fresh and clean. They store easily.

They offer a great amount of support. There is nothing that you have to sacrifice by giving up traditional pallets and switching to reusable pallets.

Security

There was some buzz recently about maintaining the security of these types of pallets. There apparently was some issue with companies taking pallets that did not belong to them and it was becoming an issue.

The reality is that you can paint a logo, symbol or even add a dash of paint to the bottom of the pallet for easy identification purposes to ensure that it is returned to your company.

It is a simple solution that takes minutes to implement and well worth the added effort.

Overall

Every supply chain should have the goal in mind of reducing costs without ever sacrificing safety and risk reduction.

Reusable pallets fit the bill nicely. Consumer demands are very high when it comes to corporate responsibility to the environment as it should be.

Meeting those demands requires a quick look up and down the supply chain to figure out what can be done differently to reduce and reuse. Pallets that can make multiple trips are a good answer.

You can improve public perception, reduce costs and show that your company is committed to the environment by simply making the choice to reuse pallets that are constructed to be reused.

You will cut back on labor costs. Provide better protection for your products and goods and reduce your carbon footprint up and down the supply chain. You may even be able to increase orders by using them as a selling point to clients.

It is the most sensible option that is used by many of the largest corporate entities in the world because of their usefulness. In some industries like food and beverages it is an expected option.

They may not be getting enough attention right now but they will be. As more and more regulating bodies are concerned about waste and what to do with it all there will be regulations that are passed that will affect every business when it comes to how they pack and ship goods.

Those regulations are going to call for options that are reusable to reduce waste. It is only a matter of time.

Taking the steps now before it becomes mandatory will put your organization in a much better position. You will be way ahead of the rest of the groups that have lagged behind and spent too much time on the fence debating the option.