When you choose a pallet company, you already know how important it is to choose one that won’t introduce risks into your supply chain. You need a supplier to provide the pallets, crates, or industrial wood supplies you need, when you need it. If they don’t, your production lines grind to a halt. There’s a lot riding on your suppliers, and some of them just aren’t up to the task.
It’s unfortunate, but some pallet companies offer you more tricks than treats when it comes to getting your supplies. Let’s take a look at common pallet company problems that should scare the pants off you.
Pallet companies make a lot of promises about the reliability of both their products and their services, but sometimes those assurances fade like a sinister shriek in the wind once you send over a P.O. or sign a contract.
There are a lot of factors that can affect reliability. Some are within the vendor’s control, but there are also times when a supplier is just as helpless as you are – especially if they haven’t planned for contingencies.
Getting your supplies on time can be one of the biggest issues that manufacturers have with pallet companies. Most pallet suppliers don’t monitor their on-time delivery rates because either they don’t see it as an issue, or they don’t want to know what it is. After all, you’ll eventually get the pallets you ordered from the pallet company, right?
For most manufacturers, getting your pallets eventually just isn’t good enough – and we agree.
That’s why we track our delivery rates, both for each individual plant, and overall for our company. Our goal is to get as close to 100% as humanly possible. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re doing far better than the average pallet company. Believe it or not, most pallet companies average around 75%-80% on-time delivery.
That’s truly scary! Just think about what a chilling affect that can have on your production line.
As a pallet company, obviously we rely on a natural resource (wood), as well as truck, ship, or rail to ship in our wood and ship out our products. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate. Forest fires, disease, natural disasters, and even market conditions can affect the lumber supplies available to pallet companies. Even a gas shortage can interrupt the supply chain because trucks can’t get wood or finished products to their destinations.
While a pallet company may not be able to see every possible event that can prevent them from delivering on time (alien invasion, zombie horde, supernatural mist), they should have operations in place to effectively manage the situation when the unexpected happens.
Here at Conner, this has been crucial to our own business success in the last few years. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey impacted our operations in Conroe, Texas, and catastrophic flooding kept trucks out and production on hold until the waters receded. Fortunately, we had a plan in place and another plant in Haslet, Texas, managed the temporary disruption and continue to supply our customers.
In 2018, our Panama City, Florida facility fell victim to Hurricane Michael. It was a devasting hurricane, and our plant was basically wiped out, along with most of the region. Trucks couldn’t get in and out for weeks, our buildings and equipment were damaged beyond repair, water and electricity were unavailable, and our employees were understandably taking care of their families. All work ceased in Panama City for weeks. Fortunately, we have redundancies built into our manufacturing operations and we were able to minimize delivery disruptions.
What’s really frightening is that many pallet companies weather these kinds of challenges like a vampire overcomes garlic.
We all know that your volume needs can change from month to month, but what happens if your pallet company can’t make those adjustments? Decreasing the number of pallets in your order isn’t usually a problem, but trying to order increases can be positively hair-raising.
A lot of things can affect a pallet company’s ability to meet your increased volume needs, such as labor issues or inventory shortages. Some pallet companies simply promise more product than they can reasonably deliver in a given timeframe, and that makes it impossible for them to increase your order.
They simply don’t have the capacity, and their lack of redundancies and backup locations can take a gruesome toll on your production line.
Issues come up, no matter who your pallet company partner is. As a customer, you should expect your pallet company to be quick, courteous, and responsive to your needs.
When a problem comes up, it’s really frustrating to have your pallet company ghost you. Some pallet companies find good customer service difficult in the best of times – Emails get ignored, the phone isn’t answered, messages aren’t returned, and it can take days or even weeks to get things ironed out. Others are super-responsive… until they get your business.
This kind of customer service is not only alarming, it’s downright bone-chilling.
When you’ve been doing business with a pallet company for awhile, it’s not unusual for them to slowly raise their prices on you without any logical reason (like the price of wood drastically increasing).
This kind of thing happens more often than you might realize, and often comes down to the pallet company taking your continued business for granted. They’ve already won your business and they’re banking on the idea that changing suppliers won’t be worth your effort.
Creeping prices can be monstrous.
It’s always possible to run into one-off quality issues that can be remedied quickly with a phone call. On the other hand, when the quality of pallets you’re receiving from a partner pallet company starts to look like it came out of the zombie apocalypse, then it’s a pretty black day.
There are a lot of reasons it can happen, but generally it comes down to either an overall decline in quality control, or the pallet company is taking your business relationship for granted. Either situation really stinks.
In honor of Halloween, we’ve taken a light-hearted approach to discussing some pretty serious pallet company problems. That certainly doesn’t mean that we take the problems themselves lightly, and you shouldn’t either.
If you’re facing any of these kinds of problems with your current partners, then you should seriously consider making some changes. My we humbly suggest that you give us a call?
Have A Safe and Happy Halloween!