By Adam Cahill, SUPPLY POINTe
Let me tell you something you already know: Pallet costs add up fast. Sure, each pallet you buy probably costs less than $20, but when multiplied by hundreds or thousands over dozens of shipments, the costs make a serious dent in your bottom line. If you’re feeling the pinch of pallet costs, consider these seven ways to save.
There’s a common misconception that refurbished pallets are less durable than new ones. While they might not look as pretty, many pallets made from refurbished lumber are just as sturdy and dependable, and you can get them for a significantly cheaper price per piece.
To assess the weight durability of pallets, at SUPPLY POINTe we input the specifications into a software program that uses 3D blueprint modeling to tell us how much weight it can withstand. When we want to measure the weight durability of a refurbished pallet, we tell the software to account for the recycled lumber to give us an accurate calculation of the pallet’s capability.
While we have this technical process to very closely estimate the integrity of a refurbished pallet, there is a hitch — the computer doesn’t know whether the recycled lumber that was used to construct the pallet is of good quality. That’s why it’s crucial to find a pallet supplier whose products you know you can trust.
Some businesses use the same pallets that accompany their incoming shipments for their outbound shipments, saving them from having to purchase new pallets every time they ship. However, sometimes the incoming pallets are damaged, with a split deck or a missing runner. Instead of trashing these pallets, you can have them picked up and repaired to be used again. This system also helps you cut down on the amount of waste you have on site.
Pallets typically come in full-truckload and partial-truckload quantities. While you might be inclined to only order a partial truckload of pallets because that’s what you need right now, you’ll more than likely be charged a delivery fee from the vendor to offset the empty space in their truck. Avoid this additional fee by buying a full truckload of pallets. Use what you need, and store the rest on site to pull from later.
Just like anything else you order, if you want to get pallets delivered quickly, you’re going to pay more for them. Most pallet suppliers charge a rush fee for last-minute orders, a charge that can average about 20% over the normal price. Instead of putting yourself in a stressful and expensive situation, implement an inventory control system so you have plenty of pallets on hand — or on their way — when you need them. Store pallets on-site, or ask your pallet supplier if you can store your purchased pallets at their facility temporarily.
If you’re still tossing busted and old pallets in a garbage bin near your facility, it’s time to look into a wood waste removal program. Find a vendor who will pick up your wood refuse, and may even buy old pallets from you. Wood waste removal programs offer multiple benefits:
With pallets, you get what you pay for. If you solicit a few pallet quotes and decide to go with the cheapest, the product you get likely will disappoint you. We once worked with a customer who bought nearly 20,000 cheap pallets from another supplier, which started molding almost immediately and became unusable to them. With low-quality pallets, you risk breakage in transit and quicker deterioration over time. And, if pallets break in the field, you increase the risk for injury and property damage.
On the same token, it’s unnecessary to buy a higher-quality pallet than what you need. Analyze the weight and configuration of your shipment, and choose a pallet that’s appropriate for your specifications. Spending more on a higher-grade pallet than you need is a waste of money. Cheap and incorrectly chosen pallets just end up costing you more in the long run.
With all of these considerations, companies should consider finding a pallet and shipping vendor who can help them discern the right type and quantity of pallets to purchase, and set up systems of suppliers and inventory management that allow them to move product efficiently and affordably. Those of us who work with pallet suppliers and vendors on a day-to-day basis understand the ins and outs of shipping considerations, and we leverage our existing business partnerships to find the best deals for our customers. Using a pallet and shipping vendor saves your business money and allows you the freedom to send and receive products with agility and ease.
Adam Cahill is the co-founder and co-owner of SUPPLY POINTe, the hub of a unique network of select trucking, freight forwarding, pallet and packaging companies. We connect these companies to offer a wide set of choices and savings for a rapidly growing list of customers in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Charlotte, N.C. Connect with Adam Cahill on LinkedIn, and connect with SUPPLY POINTe on Facebook and Twitter.