The Crucial Role of Pallet in Supply Chain

pallete stacking in warehouse


In Brief

Business sustainability does not depend on the economic viability and profitability, only. It also depends on usage of existing resources to the fullest potential, waste reduction, costs reduction and elimination of redundant work processes. All are important factors to attain a sustainable business operation and growth.


Today, everyone knows that pallets serve a crucial role in managing the supply chain and inventory. It can be produced from either plywood or plastic designed to support large amounts of merchandise. The most common material is plywood because of its low price and recycle feasibility. Recently, however, many companies have switched to plastic pallets for durability and transport safety, the latter as plastic can handle more weight. Not all is a gain, extra robust comes at an extra price as well.

But why are these portable compressed plastic or plywood platforms so important? Here’s why:

1. It reduces loading time as many items that together make an extremely heavy load can be transported on a single pallet in one time. For example, several paint tanks can be maneuvered around the warehouse on a single pallet as oppose to several trips lugging one at a time. As a result, transporting and loading heavy items becomes a convenient task, as well as shrink wrapping.

2.Improving work environment and employee safety: correctly loaded pallets support safer handling compared to otherwise piled items being stacked on top of each other which can fall or roll over causing injury or damage. Of course, incorrectly loaded pallets can also be damaging, too. Proper training and standard operating procedures are thus crucial.

3.Reduce warehouse overhead and increase transportation efficiency: effective loading and discharging products efficiently reduces loading time and therefore transport turnaround time, which allows for more deliveries to take place and more goods to be transported in a given timeframe. In the same token, it also reduces labor costs from unnecessary overtime work.

4.Increased quality of goods being transported: damaged goods from transportation handling is a high probability risk. Handling high value items one at a time can translate to immense liability should something happen en route. Using pallets not only serve a risk reduction purpose, more expensive items can also be handled and thus larger profit margins for carriers.

Knowing the advantages of pallets, now we need to know how to choose the right pallets for the right products. 5 points to consider:

  • Budget: how much funding is available to acquire pallets and what types are investment worthy.
  • Compatibility: which pallet type is compatible with existing tools and equipment? Typically, pallets with forklift holes are standard. On some occasions, however, the dimensions do not match with the forks on the forklift truck and can not be used together. Better be safe than sorry, best to double check in advance before putting pen to paper.
  • Weight capacity: can the pallets support the weight of products? Light cargos are pretty safe with plywood pallets while heavy loads are better off with plastic. That, and there’s also the amount of dragging the pallets are expected to endure up and down transport trucks. The more traffic, drag and weight the more durable pallets need to be.
  • Deterioration: will the pallets retain the initial shape and dimensions required for warehouse purposes after being used to the fullest capacity over time? The more traffic and weight pallets are expected to support, similarly, the stronger they will need to be to move goods safely and last the expected life span.

Apparently small stuff to consider, but it is these small things that affect warehouse efficiency and thereby, in a significant way, sustainability of the business. (Refernce: Lean and Business Sustainability.) If you think you need new pallets, consider the ones that best fit your products and warehouse specs. Remember, you are not limited to one type or the other. Find the best match to see a difference in supply chain.

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Compiled by BLOG.SCGLogistics

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