Choosing a trusted pallet supplier is essential to optimising your supply chain. Without it, you cannot store or transport your goods.
Making the wrong choice can put your business in jeopardy. Selecting the wrong pallet provider can lead to operational downtime, delays to deliveries or even health and safety issues.
In this article, discover 12 criteria to consider when selecting a pallet provider that meets your business requirements.
When choosing a pallet supplier, price can often be a leading consideration.
When comparing the different options available, you should consider the price per unit as the starting point.
The real cost of a pallet often is more than just its purchase price. Hidden costs often include:
costs related to the repair or recycling of pallets
empty transport from your pallet supplier
Additionally, purchasing pallets ties up your company’s capital expenditure (CaPex).
The CaPex funding that you allocate to pallet purchase are funds that you could be using to invest into other areas of your business which would allow you to develop your core activities or as a fund for crisis management.
Furthermore, if you buy more pallets than you actually need, you are literally tying up capital for nothing!
This is where pallet-pooling can be advantageous.
The rental of pallets makes it possible to reduce, or even eliminate, hidden costs. You save on costs related to the repair, recycling, storage and end of life for your pallets, as they are now the responsibility of your supplier.
When choosing a pallet supplier, whilst price is an important factor, it is by no means the only one to take into account.
2. Pallet type
When choosing your pallet provider, you should ensure that the range of pallets they provide meet your requirements.
There is a very wide variety of pallet sizes and you should be able to find those that suit your needs.
Choose a supplier whose formats correspond with:
the dimensions of your products and packaging
your storage spaces
your transport, to optimise your loads
When choosing a pallet supplier, you should consider your customers’ location, especially if you export internationally!
The most common pallets sizes are:
Further examples of common pallets include half pallets (800 x 600 mm); and display pallets, particularly suitable for point of sale as well as transport.
When choosing your supplier, ask them about their range of pallets to ensure they can supply you with the products you need.
3. The weight of your goods
The weight of your goods directly impacts the type of pallets you need.
They must be strong enough to support the weight of your products, during loading, transport and unloading..
A broken pallet can mean damaged cargo and a net loss for the company!
Most commonly there are two types of pallets:
Single use pallets are suitable for loads of less than 400 kg. If your goods are heavier, the pallet is not suitable.
Remember, a single-use pallet cannot be reused!
Reusable pallets make it possible to store and transport heavier cargo.
4. The quality of pallets you need
Knowing the number of pallets needed to operate your supply chain is essential to optimise your costs and improve profitability.
If you don't have sufficient pallets available, downtime in the supply chain is inevitable. Conversely, if you have more pallets than you need, you risk an impact on your cash flow, and additional costs in storage.
To understand the quantity of pallets you need, you need to adopt an inventory management method that allows you to gauge your present needs and anticipate your future needs.
When choosing a pallet supplier, confirm that they are able to meet your business demands.
Pallet-pooling is a particularly attractive option for companies that have significant pallet movement needs for storage and transport.
Pooling saves you from tying up funds and cluttering up storage areas in your warehouse.
Using pooled pallets, also means less administrative burden on your business. This represents an additional cost for each shipment and therefore a lack of competitiveness or profitability!
5. Choose a pallet supplier who meets delivery deadlines
When choosing a pallet supplier, delivery times are a major consideration.
Remember: reliability is critical.
Be wary of suppliers who promise to deliver at the speed of light!
Would you prefer:
a supplier who claims to deliver in 2 days but whose deliveries are late 40% of the time?
a supplier who claims to deliver in 5 days and whose delivery is never late?
A supplier who delivers their pallets during the agreed times will enable accurate planning for your business.
6. Geographic coverage
Another aspect to consider when choosing the right pallet supplier is the area they can serve.
Check that your supplier can deliver pallets wherever you need them (particularly important if you have several warehouses at a distance from each other).
If one provider cannot serve all your locations, then you will need to use several different providers. This can be difficult to plan and organise adding further burden to your business in managing stock and co-ordinating deliveries.
LPR - La Palette Rouge has a network of 134 service centers and more than 28,000 collection points across Europe.
It is this European network that allows us to deliver, collect, store, sort, repair and recycle pallets effectively across the continent.
7. Choose a pallet supplier that allows you to cross borders
If you are exporting your products internationally, you should ensure that the pallets comply with all necessary regulations. In particular, all pallets shipped outside of the European Union must be compliant with the requirements of ISPM 15.
What is the ISPM 15 standard for pallets?
The ISPM 15 standard (International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15) aims to prevent infection of a country's forests through the importation of parasites. It concerns wooden packaging such as crates, boards and, of course, pallets.
For a pallet to comply with this standard, it must be:
treated: usually by heat treatment. This process eliminates wood pests.
marked with: 1. the treatment (HT for “high temperature”, for example). 2. the code of the exporting country, the region and the supplier. 3. the logo of the International Plant Protection Organization (an ear of wheat).
LPR - La Palette Rouge can provide pallets that comply with these criteria and are designed specifically for international trade. In addition, our service centers ensure the maintenance of our pallets and their delivery across Europe!
8. Pallets suited to your logistics systems
If you can't use your pallets, they won't be of much use to you!
Before choosing a definitive pallet supplier, be sure that the pallets it offers are suitable for your handling equipment (automation, goods lifts, forklifts, etc.) and your infrastructure (storage areas, high bay racking, shelving, etc.).
Using the correct pallet quality is particularly important for automated systems.
LPR - La Palette Rouge provides industry leading pallet quality that are ready to use in automated handling and logistics management systems.
Our pallets are inspected after each use, to ensure an optimal level of quality. where necessary, pallets are repaired and repainted before being put back into circulation.
Pallets are prepared to a high specification to ensure that they are ready to use in your automated systems, avoiding line stoppages and damage to your machines.
9. Choose a pallet supplier who shares your values
If your company promotes CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) as a core value, it is important that you choose a service provider whose values are aligned. This can be of particular importance, if this is an area particularly important to your customers.
At LPR - La Palette Rouge, we are actively committed to a more sustainable supply chain and:
use only wood from PEFC-certified forests for the manufacture and repair of our pallets;
promote repair to enable reuse;
recycle pallets at their end of life;
contribute to reforestation projects.
It is these environmental, societal and responsible actions that have enabled LPR - La Palette Rouge to obtain Ecovadis Platinium certification. This shows that LPR is among the top 1% of best performing companies in terms of CSR.
More generally, using pallet pooling will allow your company to benefit from a more responsible approach to the environment.
Indeed, pallet pooling is by its very nature circular, based as it is on the core principles of “Repair, Reuse and Recycle”.
10. Service provider adaptability
To select the right pallet supplier who will meet your present and future demands, find out about their ability to adapt to your requirements.
Check that it is able to increase the number of pallets it makes available to you so that you can respond to peaks in activity.
Ask them if they will be able to provide you with different pallets from those you normally use (for example display pallets to support a promotion or to launch a new product).
Finally, be sure your service provider is easy to contact. If it is difficult to contact them or get an answer to a question, beware!
At LPR - La Palette Rouge, each customer receives an assigned customer account manager, who is dedicated to them in order to simplify exchanges and to offer personalised support.
This allows us to offer tailor-made solutions such as the implementation of specific transport loops, collaborative transport options, and appropriate value added services.
11. Collection service
Some pallet suppliers provide a collection service. This has several advantages, including:
Optimised storage space: this is particularly useful if you’re short on space.
The ability to use your own transport to collect your pallets – saving on transport costs.
This type of service, in addition to pallet supply, allows you to optimise your processes: pallet management is 100% outsourced, allowing you to focus on your core business.
12. Rent or buy pallets?
When using a pallet supplier, businesses often opt for companies which they can purchase pallets from.
When you buy pallets, you pay to own them. When you rent them, you simply pay to use them. This not only allows you to optimise your expenses, but also allows you to focus on developing your business.
In addition, pallet rental is 100% outsourced: it reduces workload related to logistics management of your purchased pallets.
If you would like to discuss your logistics issues with our business experts, you can contact them here. You can also access our other blog articles to learn more about supply chain and pallet pooling.