Choosing the right pallet company for you and your business can be a difficult task.  There are a lot of factors to consider, especially when you realize that choosing the wrong pallet company can seriously impact your bottom line.  Pallet companies that offer shoddy products, undependable delivery times, and excuses when problems are brought to their attention, can ultimately shut down your production line.

So how do you know if the pallet company that you’ve chosen to work with is a good one?

Fortunately, when you’re armed with the right information, have a good understanding of what your business needs from a pallet company, and know what questions to ask, it’s not too difficult to choose a great pallet company.  More importantly, you can choose a pallet company that is ideal for your particular application and business.

Wood or Another Material?

The very first question you should ask yourself is if you need wood packaging or you do want to go with another material, like plastic or even steel?  It’s a question that each manufacturer has to answer based on the application.

While it’s estimated that 90% to 95% of manufacturers go with wood, you’ll need to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of material to determine what’s right for your business.  This article might help:  Plastic vs. Wood Pallets:  What’s Best for Your Application?

New or Recycled?

This is a question that comes up a lot for manufacturers – new or recycled?  While the final decision on which is better for your application may simply come down to cost, it’s important to know the difference and fully understand what you’re paying for when you buy pallets.  This article will help you work that out:  Buy Pallets – Should You Choose Recycled, Remanufactured, or New?

So you might be wondering why making this decision is a factor in choosing a pallet company.  All pallet companies don’t produce all types of pallets.  There are many, many pallet companies out there that only product recycled or remanufactured pallets.  On the other hand, there are other pallet companies, like Conner, that don’t offer recycled pallets at all.

Knowing whether you want new or recycled will make a big difference in choosing the right pallet company for your particular application.

Standard Pallets or Custom?

In many cases, a standard sized pallet is perfectly suited to your product, but there are also times when an “off-the-shelf pallet” just won’t cut it.

Frankly, you may not know if you need a custom pallet or not until you talk to a design expert, because there are so many factors to take into consideration in the design.  The size and weight of your product, how it will be transported, where it will be stored, and whether the pallets will be re-used are all considerations in the design.

And knowing whether you need a standard or custom pallet makes a difference in which pallet company you choose.  Some pallet companies only produce standard pallets, while others can make just about any type of pallet or pallet/crate hybrid that you need.

Getting the Right Pallet Design?

This factor in choosing a pallet company ties into the previous point.  If you know that you’re going to need something more than the standard pallet, then you have to be sure that you choose a pallet company that is capable of designing your pallet.  A lot of the smaller pallet companies don’t actually have a packaging engineer on staff, so your pallet is being designed by someone who really isn’t qualified to do the job.

Getting the right design for your application involves a lot of factors, such as product weight, fragility or sensitivity, shape of the product, how the product must be palletized, destination, mode of transport, and total cost.  You have to find a pallet company that you trust to get it all right, or your total cost and the amount of product loss you experience will go through the roof.

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Can the Pallet Company Deliver?

Once you start working with a pallet company, you are depending on them to deliver the pallets you need, when you need them.  If they don’t deliver on time, your entire production line could grind to a halt.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can prevent a pallet company from delivering on time:

  • Too many orders versus their production capabilities
  • Labor problems
  • Wood shortages
  • Natural disaster preventing work or even destroying a manufacturing facility

Choosing the right pallet company also means making sure that they have redundancies and backup locations that can ensure that they can always deliver your products.

Track Record of Good Customer Service?

For a pallet company, have a good track record of performance comes down to more that just delivering on time.  You also want to know if they have good customer service when a problem arises, and if they are they customer centered in their processes and account management.

Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a vendor that makes you jump through a lot of hoops just to get service.  In some of the really large pallet companies, it’s not unusual for customers to get shuffled between departments, rather than just dealing with a single point of contact.

Whatever pallet company you choose to work with should become a valued partner in your supply chain.

Distance from Pallet Company?

Another really important factor in choosing a pallet company, is choosing one that is close to your own facilities.  Shipping distance can add significantly to your overall costs, as well as the time it takes to get your pallets where you need them to be.

If you’re a manufacturer in California, you don’t want to work with a pallet company in Virginia.  That won’t work well for either one of you.

Wrapping It Up

When choosing a pallet company for your business, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.  It can be a big decision for any manufacturer because whole supply chains are built around getting the pallets you need to operate.  If the company you choose doesn’t work out, it can be a real mess to replace them.

Being armed with the right information, understanding your own needs, and knowing what questions to ask helps you to look at companies objectively and choose the right pallet company for your business.

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