Why are pallets important?
You work to make them and refurbish them. You work to bill for them and sell them. You support the people who do all of those things. Why are pallets important?
They save labor. Before pallets were a thing, every product had to be hand loaded and hand unloaded. It added hundreds of dollars of cost to every truck load. It slowed down the distribution of products. Some have called the pallet one of the greatest labor saving devices of all time. It makes our products cheaper.
They speed the supply chain. In the words of our industry association, National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA), pallets move the world. Most products find their way on to the pallet somewhere between the time it is manufactured and is delivered to the customer. When you go to a warehouse or a “big box” store, you will see product stacked to the roof available for sale. The pallet enables that product to move through the system in hours and minutes as compared to days. Through pallet usage, there is greater variety offered in shorter period of times. Because product moves so fast, inventory management has changed. Smaller quantities with greater choice have helped add choices and eliminate waste.
Pallets improve the quality of products, because it diminishes the number of times product is handled before it is sold. In many cases, product is placed on a pallet at the time of manufacture and isn’t touched again until the end user buys it. No “scratch and dent”. No discount because the package is torn. No breakage as a result of drops and fumbles. It enables finished goods to move through without a blemish. Customers pay for blemishes one way or another.
Pallets improve the safety of the shopper. Before pallets, products were shipped in smaller quantities, stacked on shelves or the floor. Safe storage and stacking of pallets allows space to be used more efficiently. The ability to handle unit loads stacked on a pallet have transformed the construction and utilization of storage space. Our forefathers would be amazed at what happens in our marketplace today. With higher stacks and heavier loads in racks, the pallet must be counted on to hold up the loads it bears. Our responsibility to assemble it as designed and nail it securely carries great implications. The pallet you help manufacture today may be holding up the load of material your family walks by at the store tomorrow.
We provide a product vital to a thriving economy. Making pallets is not just “what” we do. If we didn’t do what we do so well every day, it would be noticed.
PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace
Since 2005, he has been sharing his thoughts on the organization, leadership, and communication in an online daily note to teammates called Daily with HQ.