The warehousing and distribution industry is one built on efficiency. The process of receiving, storing, wrapping and distributing goods is one that has been taking place for some time at this level of professionalism, and it will only continue to grow: as new platforms emerge for customers to buy their stock, the supply chain will always play the most physical (and arguably most important) part in shipping goods to the places they need to be.
How important is the pallet you store your goods?
But while so much attention is paid to the process of warehousing and distribution, the finer, yet integral details are often overlooked. The topic of today’s post thinks about exactly that. The pallet is the bed upon which products and materials are distributed upon and without it the entire supply chain system as we know it would cease to function. They provide a flexible way of loading, packaging and transporting goods, as varying amounts of stock can be loaded onto and off of them in multiple types of packaging, depending on the type of product required at the other end of the distribution.
The durability of the pallet can be seen just about everywhere you go. Take a supermarket, for example: daily stock arrives on a distribution vehicle (usually an articulated lorry) and is offloaded into the warehouse. Many of these will be in cages, but stock also arrives on pallet. One particular example would be 2L bottles of branded cola – the sheer volume sold of these items is so large that a pallet or plastic pallet-like bed is taken directly onto the shop floor and left ready for customers to purchase. The same is often true for the ‘Offers’ or ‘Deals’ at the end of each aisle: again, due to high amounts of stock being sold, stock is left on a pallet to be purchased.
Shrink wrapping pallets
The way pallets are wrapped ready for distribution is also something to marvel at. Utilising a plastic wrap that uses its high tensile strength to secure the products is a cheap, easy way to make sure the goods arrive in one piece and in one place. The wrap may look familiar: it’s the same as the one you use to wrap your sandwiches in, also known as ‘cling film’. Pallets are wrapped in this way on a rotating bed using a special type of machinery to maximize efficiency.
But although the pallet is an extremely useful (and essential) part of the warehousing and distribution process, they are often not looked after properly. Unhygienic pallets are a known issue in the industry: an Amazon UK worker fell ill earlier this year after unwrapping goods shipped from another country, and the cause is thought to be the poor hygiene of the packaging he handled. Rotten wood can often pose a health threat to companies and their workers, as bacteria and insects are able to live off it and spread. As such, keeping pallets maintained in good condition is not only good practice in terms of offering a good service, but also a duty of care to colleagues elsewhere on the supply chain.