Inevitably in the course of a year, one of our customers will give us the directive "make my pallet stronger...and do it at a 10% savings over my current price." In the past, we would agree to try and then get back to the office and have a good laugh. The funny thing is (no pun intended) though, it's not that unrealistic. Getting "the best bang for your buck" in the pallet world only requires a few good questions. In the next few blog posts, we are going to look at those questions and lay out a path for creating the best wooden pallet at the best possible price.
Get Back to the Basics:
The first question that a company using wood pallets should ask is "why am I using my current pallet?". This gets the analysis started in the right place and creates further dialogue. In a lot of cases, we hear "I don't know" or "it's the one we were using when I came to work here." If this is you or you suspect this is what your company would say, then this blog post is for you. Getting back to the basics is the best way to get started.
Take a look at your current pallet that is loaded with your product and ready for shipment, then do the following:
Take some time analyzing the footprint of the product you are shipping, weather it's boxes, bags, or drums. (The footprint is the part of the product that is touching the top part of the pallet.)
Measure the exact length and the width of the footprint.
Now, measure your pallet. Length first and then the width. The width will be the direction that the top boards are heading. As a reference, the pallet pictured at the top of this post is 48" (Length) x 40" (Width). Since the top boards measure out at 40", the pallet is classified as a 48x40.
Take a look at those top boards on the pallet. Do you notice any sagging?
Next calculate the weight of the combined product that will be stacked on each pallet (the unit load).
Once you have this information, set it aside. In the next blog post, we'll look at the next question you need to ask yourself. I'll explain why these measurements that we took in this post are so important and how to use them to your advantage. We're on our way to laying out the blueprint for the anatomy of a great pallet.