Pallets are the unsung heroes of the supply chain. These sturdy platforms move your products across continents but rarely get the spotlight. In the fast-paced world of supply chains, pallets often fly under the radar. But these essential workhorses keep products safe and mobile throughout their journey, and in today’s eco-conscious environment, maximizing their lifecycle is critical — which is why asset management and recovering pooled pallets is so important.
Unlike single-use pallets, often disposed of after one journey, pooled pallets are part of a broader network where multiple businesses collectively share and reuse these pallets throughout the supply chain. Pooled pallets, rented or leased from a pooling provider, are designed for many trips, contributing to sustainability by reducing the demand for single-use pallet production and minimizing waste.
One of the primary reasons for recovering pooled pallets is to keep the supply chain moving efficiently. As iGPS Director of Asset Management Cory Lehman states, in a guest column for Inbound Logistics, “In an industry where demand for high-quality shipping assets exceeds supply, every asset pulled out of useful service contributes to an overall slowdown of the supply chain.”
But beyond the optimization benefits, recovering pooled pallets also aligns with industry-wide sustainability goals. Recovering pooled pallets cuts down on the constant production of new pallets, which leads to minimizing waste creation and lessens the likelihood that a mismanaged pallet will end up polluting our waterways.
In recent years, at the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for pallets and their scarcity became a focal point, triggering an illicit market for stolen wooden and plastic platforms. As a result, for the first time, it became clear to many enterprises that shipping platforms are crucial to the global economy. Virginia Tech’s Center for Packaging and Load Design states that 93 percent of goods worldwide are transported as a palletized load. So, when availability dips, the impact on businesses and consumers is even more significant.
When too many pallets go missing, some poolers may need to adjust pricing accordingly. But disregarding the value of pallets comes at a cost beyond just a financial one. Comprehensive training programs are crucial to ensure employees grasp the value of each pallet, its specific type, and its designated path within the closed-loop or circular business model. Whether traveling to a production partner, retail store, or recycling facility, understanding each pallet’s next destination is essential for maintaining efficient flow and mitigating opportunities for theft or loss.
Ultimately, ensuring that pooled pallets are managed, recovered, and kept in circulation is a triple play: it sharpens the supply chain, it is kinder to the environment, and it makes economic sense. By adopting best practices for asset management, we also contribute to building a more resilient and sustainable future.
Companies seeking to enhance their supply chain efficiency can opt for iGPS plastic pallets for their shipping operations. Our lightweight, recyclable plastic pallets are part of a shared/pooled network, which lowers Total Cost of Business. For more information, contact us at 1-800-884-0225, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.