in the quality, size and safety of fake pallets will require extra inspection measures. An increase in the price of used EPAL pallets is also expected, as these gradually replace the UIC pallets removed from use.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PALLET POOLING PROVIDER The best pallet pooling providers will offer expert advice to help achieve optimum stock levels and to support the flow of goods and materials. With the aid of planning, modelling and tracking software and skills, they create and maintain innovative, flexible, tailor-made solutions meeting specific needs. In addition, they are highly effective in achieving strong communication and co-ordination between supply chain stakeholders. With so much at stake, you should take

Within most supply chains there are hidden costs which are often not fully considered. Joe Hebblewhite, from red pallet pooling expert LPR, highlights the cost savings and performance improvements achieveable through closer attention to the provision of pallets


he humble pallet’s potential is often overlooked as companies focus on

more obvious costs, such as transportation and warehousing. LPR – La Palette Rouge – encourages organisations to examine and audit every link, step and activity in the chain as each consumes time and money. Administration of orders and returns, for example, adds to the operation’s overall cost. In addition, a more holistic view is needed so that planning and co- operation between supply chain partners ensures optimally timed deliveries and rapid progress to each successive stage.

CHOOSE PALLET POOLING When it comes to the supply of pallets, the smart choice is pallet pooling. By buying and managing pallets internally, you are taking on a complex operation which is outside the specialism of your business. Think of the time, staffing, facilities and space needed to administer, sort, store, examine, clean, repair, track, retrieve and dispose of pallets. It’s costly and distracts from your company’s primary business. These activities – and more – can be outsourced to a pallet pooling company


with specialist expertise, streamlined practices, purpose-designed facilities, high capacity and a strong network. Without these assets, businesses won’t achieve the same efficiencies. Rather than buying pallets, at

frequently increasing prices, pooling allows you to rent them at an annually agreed cost. If demand increases (or decreases), or if it shifts geographically, the right number of pallets will always be available.

CHOOSE A CLOSED-POOL PROVIDER By choosing a closed-pool provider, whose pallets are not exchanged with those of other suppliers, you will avoid the problems now facing users of ‘white wood’ pallets. In 2017, an exchangeability agreement between bodies responsible for two of the world’s biggest open pools for white wood Euro pallets ended. This stemmed from EPAL’s concerns that eastern European gangs were flooding UIC’s pool with millions of counterfeit and potentially dangerous pallets. There may be further complications surrounding UIC pallet importing, exporting and acceptability to retailers or pallet repairers. Inconsistency


time and care in selecting a pallet pooling partner. Do research, and speak to some of its existing customers. Look at its capacity, facilities and network. Be sure that it can meet your needs geographically and that increases in your pallet demand can be quickly satisfied. It’s also worth spending time with these providers, understanding their processes and meeting key team members. This will enable you to see how well your businesses align.

CHOOSE THE BEST PALLETS Last but not least, consider the humble pallet itself. The most essential choice is between wooden and plastic pallets. Wood is the best option for most purposes, but there are some applications for which plastic offers distinct advantages. There are many factors to consider when deciding on pallet material, and a pallet pooling provider who offers both will be able to give unbiased advice. Perhaps visit one of the company’s depots. Take a close look at its pooled pallets. Will their appearance and condition impress your customers? Retailers sometimes reject deliveries on poor- quality pallets, whereas well-presented pallets are an asset in retail outlets where consumers view palletised goods. Taking a closer look at your pallet

solution could undoubtedly afford your business significant financial gains, and operational efficiencies - yet another reason to take pallets seriously.


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