Pallet transport is a key aspect in many supply chains. That is why it is essential to be clear about certain concepts when working with them. Aspects that sometimes may even seem obvious but that we may not keep in mind in our day-to-day work, even though we are aware of them.
Seven concepts that you cannot forget about the transport of pallets
1.- Size (and type) matter
The most used pallet in Spain is the one known as “European”, whose base has dimensions of 80×120 centimeters. But there are many other types and models, like the American one, whose base is larger (100×120 cm.). And up to four more measures are collected by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the international handling of merchandise. The rest of them are: 1016×1219mm, 1165×1165mm, 1067×1067mm and 1100×1100mm.
The purpose for which they are used influences these dimensions. For example, to fit into trailer boxes (two by two in the case of American pallets and three by three in European ones). Or depending on the sector: the half pallet (60×80 cm.) Usually used in printing and graphic arts.
The materials can be equally diverse. In addition to the wooden pallet, which we tend to be more used to, there are other materials such as plastic and metal. Advantages are sought in these materials such as greater resistance to pests or greater hardness and resistance, compared to the splintering that wooden pallets usually suffer from use.
2.- Different shipping methods
In the transport of pallets there are many ways to send the same pallet. First of all, we must know if we want to send the pallet individually or if we want to send it together with others, either in a groupage or a full load. To do this, we must play with the speed of the shipment and, therefore, with the amount of time we have to be able to combine it with other orders and make a shipment with a more efficient cost per transported ton.
Regarding transit speed, companies specialized in the distribution of palletized merchandise are increasingly shortening transit times. If until recently the standard model in Spain was express delivery in 24 hours and the economic delivery in 48 hours, networks like ours (Palibex) are innovating and offering more ambitious schedules, such as the a.m. service. (delivery before 12 in the morning of the following day) and the 10:00 service (before 10), getting closer and closer to the times of urgent parcels. Knowing these possibilities can help you rethink your pallet transport and stand out from your competition.
3.- How to correctly prepare the pallets
Although we have already talked about how to send them, before getting to that point we have had to prepare them previously. This does not only consist of putting the merchandise on the pallet, but in making sure that we do it in the best way for the security and integrity of the merchandise.
They are elementary aspects of the transport of pallets, but that are violated too many times. Among these basic tips for preparing a pallet is placing the heaviest and bulkiest merchandise at the base and placing the smallest and lightest items as we build rows. Without forgetting the use of additional fixing and fastening elements, such as shrink plastic, pallet corners, etc.
4.- The importance of stowage
Not even when we have finished securing the pallet can we say that we have finished our task. The loader of the merchandise also has responsibility during its stowage – that is, its location in the vehicles. Something very relevant in view of the fact that between 25% and 45% of accidents in the transport of goods have their origin in poor cargo stowage.
The new stowage regulation sets the objective of checking 5% of the vehicles registered in Spain each year, placing more emphasis on the importance of stowage and harmonizing its legislation with respect to Europe. The consequences of poor stowage can be very dangerous and, depending on the case, the legal responsibility may belong to the carrier, the consignor or the shipper.
5.- Pools of pallets
Using pallets that never return supposes an additional expense that, especially from certain quantities, can become important. To this we must add the purchase, storage and maintenance of pallets waiting to be used. If this part of your processes is choking you, it may be time for you to resort to a pool of pallets, if you are not already doing so.
The companies that offer pallet pools are in charge of collecting the sent pallets once they have been used and, at the same time, they supply pallets to work and make shipments. Various types and qualities of pallets can be contracted and can facilitate much life and improve costs (since each pallet sent that is not recovered is a pure expense, without any benefit).
6.- They can be fixed
Another way to optimize costs is to repair pallets that have been damaged but are still recoverable. Wooden pallets tend to splinter, but they are also the easiest and cheapest to fix, while plastic and iron pallets are much more difficult to reuse once they have been damaged. The first broken plank of wood does not have to be the end of the useful life of your pallets.
7.- Its main function is not to make furniture (it is to move the economy)
If you search for “pallets” on the internet, you may find a tutorial on how to make furniture with them among the first results. Sofas, tables, chairs, drawers, bedside tables… Practically an entire house that can be made from pallets.
And although we love to see how this small part of our world has become popular, entering thousands of houses throughout the planet, we also want to take advantage of it to claim the importance of the world of logistics and the supply chain. Through all these pallets, packages and containers that cross our roads, docks and airports every day, logistics operators manage to facilitate economic activity and bring people and companies from all over the world closer together.
Following these simple steps will save you a lot of trouble and can be a significant improvement if you use pallet transport for your shipments.