When you have a vendor to supply your custom pallets, the last thing you want is for them to run out of the capacity to produce your pallets. After all, you’re counting on them to deliver so that you can get your products to their destination.
There are lots of things that can interfere with a pallet manufacturer’s ability to produce your custom pallets:
- Too many orders versus their production capabilities
- Labor problems
- Wood shortages
- Natural disaster preventing work or even destroying a plant
So how can you guard against the possibility that the vendor you choose may lack the capacity to deliver at some point in your relationship?
The best way is to make sure a vendor can always meet your needs is to choose one that has redundancies and backup locations in place. Any vendor you choose to produce your custom pallets should have multiple plant locations so that backup locations can take over whenever there’s a problem.
It’s also preferable that plants are scattered over a reasonably wide geographic area. If a series of tornados hit a region of the U.S., the manufacturer might run the risk of losing several (if not all) of their manufacturing plants. It’s best to have plants in multiple states to avoid this possibility.
When you’re having your pallets custom designed for your particular product, you really can’t underestimate the need for high quality customer service. Some purchasing and shipping managers believe that it’s always best to purchase their custom pallets from huge conglomerate manufacturers with multiple product lines. Unfortunately, they often find that they’re facing a complicated bureaucracy whenever they need to make changes or they have a problem.
Many times, these super-sized manufacturers have a complex process for managing their customers. It’s not unusual for the sales person who sells you the pallet to completely disappear after the sale, while you get shuffled from department to department during design and production.
So who can you contact when you have a problem? Usually you’ll have to jump through several hoops to make corrections or changes to the original design, and it can get pretty frustrating pretty quickly.
You can avoid a lot of this frustration and poor customer service by choosing a manufacturer who only sells industrial wood and wood packaging. Too many product lines can really add to the bureaucracy.
In addition, you can ensure better customer service when you have a single point of contact with the custom pallet manufacturer. In most cases, the sales person who understands your needs is the best point of contact because they are the person you’ve developed a working relationship with through the buying process. While packaging engineers, production managers, and transportation managers may play a role in your purchase, your sales person should be your single point of contact when you have problems or need changes.
Your custom pallet manufacturer should have the mindset of being a partner with your company and with you – something that’s tough to have with conglomerate manufacturers.
Also beware of super small custom pallet manufacturers. We already discussed the need to make sure that the vendor you choose has the capabilities to deliver as promised, but really small manufacturers sometimes have issues with customer service too. While they try to have exceptional customer service, they often just don’t have the resources or manpower to truly take care of their customers from start to finish.
Obviously cost factors into any decision to work with a custom pallet manufacturer, but there are several other factors that are important too. Here are a few you might want to think about: