How an Egg Can Help Us Understand the Implications of Pallet Damage
What's the big deal?
One of the questions that keeps popping up during our normal day-to-day lives as pallet professionals is why pallet damage is such a big deal. I would think that most companies get the fact that a pallet that has been broken will either have to be repaired or replaced and either way it comes with a cost. That cost, in their opinion, is just part of the material handling cycle. But our point is not so much about the broken pallet, but more about when it happens during the material handling cycle. A pallet's entire existence is to serve as a transport platform for a company's product...that is the main reason it was created. Our concern is if this platform is broken while this product is being transported. Let's look beyond just the broken pallet for a second.
An eggstreme scenerio:
According to Wikipedia, the modern egg carton was invented by newspaper editor Joseph Coyle of British Colombia to solve a dispute between a local farmer and a hotel owner over eggs being delivered broken. This is a great backdrop to our discussion. Why? What does a egg carton and pallet damage have in common?
Think of the pallet as that egg carton. And visualize for a second this egg carton, loaded with eggs, sitting in the backseat of a mini van full of kids heading to soccer practice. Now picture the carton being torn open on the side. Now, we have a situation where those fragile eggs that were cradled by shock absorbing protective styrofoam...are now exposed and vulnerable. What are the chances that those eggs are going to survive the minivan trip intact. That egg carton is your pallet, a platform that cradles your company's most important asset...your product.
The Bottom Line:
When a forklift damages a pallet or when strapping cracks the top leading deck board, your pallet loses it's cradling advantage. If the damage happens to the blocks or stringers of a pallet, the weight of the load is now unevenly distributed. Suddenly, a gateway to costly product damage is created. The safety of your boxes, cans, or bags of widgets are now compromised and vulnerable to being punctured, sliced or banged around by the forklift movements.
Smart companies have come to realize that this damage, in some cases, can add up to millions of dollars a year. That's serious business and any company that wants to increase their profit margin can start by decreasing product damage due to pallet failure. And that starts by building a better pallet.