Many industry experts have said that they believe that the pallet is the single most important item in the supply-chain. In fact, in the US alone, there are an estimated two billion wooden shipping pallets moving around at any one time. It's place in the universal logistical machine is unprecedented.
The reason that wooden pallets are so popular is that they are cost efficient, easy to source, and fully repairable. But for all the advantages that come with using wooden pallets, there is also no denying the fact that they are easy to damage. We should know, we repair hundreds a day at our facility in Northern California.
If you study exactly where the damage happens to a wood pallet, you'll notice a very common theme. Most of the damage takes place at the front/back and at the top, which is more commonly referred to as the top lead boards. In fact, the main forklift entry points (which includes the top lead boards) are where approximately 90% of all pallet damage occurs, mainly due to forklift and strapping damage.
Take a look at the picture below, which clearly illustrates the common damage that happens to a wood pallet. The edges of the top lead boards on both of these pallets have been either pulled up (left) or broken off (right). While strapping the product to a pallet, the pressure of the straps will pull up on the board if the product footprint has not reached the edge of the pallet. Also, forklifts will break these boards as well while moving them around or racking them. Even more concerning is that once the pallet has been compromised with damage, the product that is sitting or traveling on the pallet is then susceptible to damage as well.
So, it doesn't take much to see that the entry points of a wood pallet are very vulnerable to damage, especially if the top lead board is already cracked or broken. This is where our products are helping to provide a solution.
In our next blog post, we are going to examine the unique design of our pointGUARD® Pallet Protection Products. We will cover that and more as we continue our Understanding the pointGUARD Concept blog series.