In the previous installment on conducting a successful multi-site pallet bid, I outlined the importance of scheduling plant visits. Permitting qualified pallet suppliers to conduct site walkthroughs is crucial for validating that the pallet currently being supplied matches the written specification. Having an accurate and verified specification is indispensable to an efficient bid process. Also, reviewing present and anticipated palletization and material handling requirements first hand at plants will enable an experienced pallet supplier to identify pallet improvement opportunities that will deliver even higher value to the customer.
Site visits also help the pallet supplier to understand delivery requirements particular to each location better. It is all too easy for site-specific conditions to slip through the cracks in a multi-site bid. For example, in the absence of further details, the pallet supplier might assume that the pallets can be delivered to all plants on flatbed trailers, only to find out at the time of delivery that a particular site requires a van trailer, or needs to have drop trailers. Another consideration is the pallet stack height. Older facilities with restricted dock door height might dictate that pallets be stacked fewer units high in the delivery vehicle so that they can be unloaded quickly into the building without awkward manual handling inside the trailer. Some facilities require pallets to be banded to increase stability. When we visit, we’ll also look at your pallet storage area, and offer best practices on how to prevent pallet mold.
Moreover, while we’re at each facility, we’ll also take time to understand the existing transportation relationships. With the vast amount of trucks running empty on U.S. roads (often cited at 20% but substantially higher for interstate freight), we are always looking for ways to increase freight utilization, while reducing cost and emissions. We check to see if the plant utilizes a company fleet or if it outsources transportation. If it does outsource, we seek to identify their predominant carriers and routes. By investigating a location’s transportation capabilities and partners, we frequently find savings opportunities for pallet pickup and delivery. If you have trucks running in the vicinity, why not pick up pallets on the backhaul?
In summary, many details go into optimizing delivery, and there can be considerable variance among the requirements of particular sites included in a bid. In today’s rapidly evolving supply chain characterized by M&A activity, automation, and more, anticipate unique plant requirements. It is difficult to capture all of the nuances in a process that doesn’t include an onsite assessment. You can ensure a positive and seamless delivery experience for your plants by encouraging qualifying pallet suppliers to visit your facilities as part of their due diligence. At PalletOne, we are happy to travel to your sites, at our expense, to help ensure that the pallet delivery experience will be a positive one for all of the locations involved.
In the next installment, we look at the information required by the pallet supplier to participate in a successful multi-site pallet bid. Click here to read part 3