At BoldtSmith Packaging, we complete projects exploring all packaging materials! Since we do not manufacture or sell packaging, our goal is to provide the best possible solution. In this series of blogs, we will be diving into some the exciting packaging types and materials we explore in projects!
The first packaging type we will be exploring is pallets. This packaging type is often overlooked as a technique to reduce damage and costs. All variables must be considered when creating an optimized packaging solution. Below is an overview of pallets and variables to consider when selecting a pallet!
What is a pallet?
A pallet is a horizontal platform that is used as a base to unitize goods during transportation and storage. Pallets are typically handled in the supply chain by fork lifts, fork trucks and conveyer systems. Most commonly a pallet is made of wood but can also be constructed of other materials such as metal, plastic, corrugated and hexacomb.
Why is a pallet used?
Pallets are used as the most common method of unitizing product to safely and effectively move and store goods through the supply chain. Pallets also allow for stacking goods in racking or multiple pallets stacked on top of each other.
Expendable or Returnable
The first variable to explore when selecting a pallet is whether it should be an expendable or returnable solution. A returnable pallet is most often used in a closed loop supply chain. For example, an automobile company is receiving headlights from a local manufacturer on a dedicated truck.In this scenario, a returnable pallet is a solution that should be explored.
On the other hand, if a manufacturer is shipping their finished goods from China to the United States on an ocean container and LTL once it arrives domestically, a returnable solution likely will not be applicable.
Pallet Material Type
Once it is determined if a returnable or expendable solution is the route to explore, the next logical step is to determine the material type. If returnable, common materials include plastic, metal and wood.If expendable, common materials include wood, hexacomb and corrugated. Wood is the most commonly used material given its performance, cost and existing supplier base.
There are standard and custom pallet sizes. The standard sizes vary based on location. The standard size in the US is a 48”x40” platform. With that being said, the 48”x40” platform is not always the correct size depending on variables such as supply chain and size of packaging. Having the incorrect pallet size not only potentially increases the pallet cost but also costs associated with freight and damage.
Interested in learning more if your pallets are optimized to your packaging and supply chain? Click here to learn more about what BoldtSmith Packaging does!