Choosing the wrong pallet can have major consequences for your supply chain: interruptions throughout your distribution network, delays, loss of goods, safety problems for partners… This is why it is important to know how to recognise a quality pallet when choosing a supplier.
However, with the dozens of possibilities that exist, it is easy to make a mistake when choosing your pallets.
In this article, discover what makes a quality pallet, and be sure to ask yourself the right questions before making your final choice.
Not all pallets are reliable!
When selecting the type of pallet you need for your business, you should consider what you intend to use them for.
If you have specific requirements and no cost reduction objective, you could consider using a ‘single use pallet.
While it might be tempting to reuse single-use pallets to realise savings, you should consider first the impact on your supply chain should they fail.
The weight and size of the goods you want to transport with the pallets is a good place to start. You should next consider the level of automation within your logistics systems.
This will allow you to choose a suitable quality of pallet which is fully compatible with your distribution chain, and ensure the safety of your goods and your production systems.
Once you have clearly identified your requirements you will be able to choose the correct pallet for your supply chain.
But remember: a reliable pallet is a quality pallet! At LPR - La Palette Rouge, we do not use composite blocks in the manufacture of our pallets. This means that the pallets are at an optimal level of reliability and provide greater safety in your automated systems.
We offer a range of pallets suitable for your business needs.
With this is mind, we use a complete pallet tracking process:
Delivery: we ensure that you receive the requested pallets
Inspection: after you have used our pallets, we recover them. Our service centre experts analyse their condition to determine whether the pallet is repairable.
Repair: when a pallet is deemed repairable, the repair is undertaken, and the repaired pallet is put it back into circulation. Otherwise, the pallet is recycled into pellets for heating.
2. A quality pallet respects the environment
There are two options in obtaining pallets:
1. Pallet purchase
In addition to being expensive, purchasing pallets is bad for the environment: it is difficult for companies to maintain pallet stocks, and to repair them when they are damaged. As a result, they’re forced to renew their stocks continuously and reinvest in the purchase of new pallets.
2. Pallet rental management (pallet pooling)
Pallet pooling is a rental system: this option has many benefits, one of which is that you can be confident that your service provider will provide a significantly higher quality pallet, whilst also undertaking any pallet repairs.
It is a great example of functionality economy: you pay to use the pallets and not to own them. Pallet pooling allows you to accurately meet the pallet needs of your supply chain and anchors your supply chain in the circular economy by favouring the reuse of resources.
3. A quality wooden pallet is a pallet protected from mould
Before sourcing pallets, it is important to check that they have gone through a drying process.
Above 18% humidity, pallets are susceptible to the development of mould. Depending on the season, the species of wood, storage conditions, and the means of transport, pallets can acquire mould.
Mould can be the biggest enemy of a wooden pallet. In addition to weakening it, it can affect the quality of the goods being transported, or even make them unusable.
Your pallets must therefore go through a drying process which, by lowering their natural humidity level, protects them against the development of mould.
A good pallet supplier will be able to present you with specifications for each pallet format used.
4. A quality wooden pallet is a pallet protected from pests
Depending on the geographical origin of the wood used in the creation of the pallet, it may contain larvae of xylophagous insects (that eat, gnaw or pierce the wood).
To halt the spread of these insects, the contamination of preserved natural environments, and possible damage to your site, all pallets being transported across Europe must be treated according to the ISPM15 standard.
This phytosanitary standard introduced in 2002 by the International Plant Protection Convention aims to prevent “the spread between different geographical areas of diseases and insects that could harm plants or ecosystems.” It is mandatory for any pallet intended for export outside or within the European Union.
To meet this requirement, several solutions exist:
Chemical treatment with methyl bromide: banned since 2010 in Europe for its toxicity, but which can still be found in some pallets in circulation.
- High temperature heat treatment to destroy insects and their larvae.
At LPR - La Palette Rouge, all our pallets are processed using a chemical-free, heat treatment, before being put into circulation, and comply with the ISPM15 standard.
5. A quality pallet is a standardised pallet
A quality pallet is a pallet that works within each stage of your supply chain.
With an increasingly automated supply chain, the standardisation of pallets is now inevitable; that is why it is important to understand the pallet formats required for your business.
For example, depending on the layout of your warehouse and how you will access pallets, it is important to ensure access from different sides of the pallet.
Points of access correspond with the number of sides through which a handling truck can enter to lift, and move, the pallets. There are two configurations:
Pallets with 2 points of access: this type of pallet can only be accessed from the front or the rear. This design can sometimes lead to difficulties in handling, because it is necessary to pay close attention to their orientation during storage. They may be less expensive than 4-entry pallets.
Pallets with 4 points of access: more practical, these pallets can be entered from any side. Their transport and storage are better facilitated, because they do not need to be placed in a certain orientation. These pallets avoid the use of complex maneouvres for transport equipment.
It is also necessary to consider the format of pallets you need. For this, a number of options are available:
Euro pallets (800 x 1200 mm): The most widely used pallet format in Europe, they are present throughout the continent and make it possible to standardise and optimise transport as well as handling processes.
UK Standard pallets (or American pallets) (1200 x 1000 mm): also called UK100 at LPR. This pallet type is the most common format used in the United Kingdom and is also widely used in North America and Japan. Slightly larger than the Euro format pallets, they are particularly suitable for the export of goods.
Half-pallets: There are several formats of half-pallets. At LPR we offer Dusseldorfer half-pallets (600 x 800 mm) which are reinforced with metal and plastic thimbles which make them more robust. We also offer the DP610 pallet, which represents half of a 1200 x1000 mm pallet.
Quarter pallets (400 x 600 mm): this is the smallest pallet format available. Often made of plastic, these pallets are designed to be used directly at points of sale for promotional purposes. They are generally nestable and therefore more easily transportable once unloaded.
6. A quality pallet is a pallet made for you
It is important to remember that a quality pallet is above all a pallet that meets both your needs, and those of your supply chain.
This is why it is necessary to ask the right questions when choosing your pallets:
Will you transport your pallets or will they stay on site?
If you transport them, will they go through automated systems? If so, does this system accept all types of pallets?
What means of transport will you use? Will they be intended for export outside the UK or Europe or will they remain in there?
How much weight will you carry on your pallets?
Asking these questions will help you identify your pallet needs.
To sum up, a quality pallet is above all a reliable, robust pallet, protected from pests and mould, and calibrated for your automated systems.
You should also consider the service associated with pallet management.
If you have any questions about which pallet is right for your business, or would like to discuss pallet management, you can contact one of our experts here.