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How To Create A Successful Multi-Site Pallet Bid
Part 1: Verifying the Pallet Specification

Two views of a GMA Pallet from within the Best Load program

Keith Reinstetle is PalletOne’s Vice President of Sales.
Click to read the rest of this series: Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4

Before you put your legacy pallet spec out to bid, please read this.

While companies benefit from having a standardized bid process, there are essential nuances particular to pallets that buyers should consider to ensure a successful outcome. Things have a habit of changing over time. Consider that your existing written specification may no longer be optimal due to operational or product changes. Also, the pallet you are currently receiving might be significantly different than the one on your spec sheet. In this installment, I take a look at how to go about verifying the pallet specification and share some thoughts about why it is crucial to a successful tender.

Once you have qualified the pallet companies to include in your bid, send them your pallet specification and arrange for them to visit each of your locations involved. Checking out the existing specification is the first step in the process for PalletOne, even before we visit your plants. For example, if the written spec is several years old, there is a possibility that the pallet you are getting may have changed over time. There are several reasons for such a divergence. Over the years, informal agreements between the pallet supplier and a particular plant may take place to reduce cost or improve performance. Or it may be that the pallet supplier has arbitrarily altered the spec to cut costs. That’s why visiting plants is so crucial.

Visiting all of your operations can provide crucial insights to the pallet supplier. There are often challenges unique to particular facilities that will be significant in getting the bid right. PalletOne welcomes the opportunity to visit each plant, at its expense. Arriving with the written specification, we then verify the pallet being used. There can be surprises that will dramatically affect the bid process. For instance, a plant audit might discover that you are receiving recycled pallets rather than the specified new pallets, or softwood rather than hardwood. All of these solutions can be perfect for the right supply chain application, but a successful bid hinges on it starting with accurate information.

During the plant visit, PalletOne will also look for other opportunities. We’ll examine the load requirements of the pallet, and investigate how it is required to interact with material handling equipment. There may be opportunities for changing the material mix or other aspects of the pallet specification to minimize cost and optimize performance. We bring our deep knowledge of lumber markets and pallet design to come up with the best option. And that solution could be different from one plant to another, depending upon the characteristics of each one.

In summary, merely putting your legacy pallet specification out to bid is fraught with danger. Encourage qualified pallet companies to visit all of your production sites. At PalletOne, this is something we are happy to do. This step allows prospective bidders to understand how the pallet you are currently buying matches against the written spec, as well as to present alternatives that they feel will provide the best value for each location.

In the next installment, we explore the importance of verifying delivery needs.

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