Why Pallets Are Critical to Shipping and Logistics

Why Pallets Are Critical to Shipping and Logistics

For many companies, pallets lend a helping hand that will benefit business through many factors, including strategies for storage, shipping, and handling. Pallets are a basic yet vital tool that industries around the world rely on every day. Many logistical plans are created and centered around the use of these pallets and the variety of areas that they assist. Here, we examine why pallets are critical to shipping and logistics.

Providing Safer Work Environments

Pallets are designed to help protect workers while they move heavy volumes of shipments. Using forklifts to move massive loads of pallets and individual items is much safer than doing the same heavy lifting without the use of equipment. This helps prevent many common workplace injuries. Additionally, utilizing high-quality pallets can make the work environment less dangerous than if employees were to use poorly constructed pallets. This eliminates the chance of splintering, as well as pallets breaking apart and possibly falling. There are even options for custom wood pallets, which you can design to meet your company’s specific safety standards.

Designed for Safe Stacking and Transportation

High-quality pallets assist companies in efficiently loading and transporting their products. There is a constant need for the fast and safe shipment of items, especially for products that are moved in bulk. The use of pallets to move multiple large shipments simultaneously reduces loading time, creating a more productive work environment. High-quality and customized pallets are strong enough to hold large amounts of product. The pallets can also be created in special sizes and shapes to prevent accidents during transportation across long distances.

Lowering Manual Labor Costs

This is a very important reason why pallets are critical to shipping and logistics. Because pallets hold all the products and can be moved by forklifts, extra physical labor can be lowered. For the shipment of products to be efficient, companies must consider overall costs for production and labor. Lowering labor costs can help companies conserve money for more important needs in the future.

Reducing the Costs of Shipping

You can significantly decrease shipping costs by consolidating multiple items to a single pallet, which can then be better compacted into shipping spaces. This is a much better way to ship large volumes than loading more items individually, which ultimately reduces your freight totals.

Solutions for Unwanted Pallets

Pallets are incredibly useful when you need them, but it’s difficult to know what to do when you have extra, scrap, or broken pallets in your facility. Ideally, you could sell your unwanted pallets to a used pallet recycler, or you could get your pallets repaired to use for multiple shipment cycles. However, these solutions are not always convenient or practical.

Fortunately, there are many ways that you can responsibly get rid of unwanted pallets. In fact, there is rarely a reason for you to just throw your old pallets away.

Pallets are made of recyclable materials, and it isn’t good for the environment to have them sit in a landfill. Plus, large-size waste removal can be very costly, when you take into account haul charges and landfill fees.

The next time you find yourself with unwanted or unused pallets in your warehouse, consider these options:

  • Talk to your vendor. If you find yourself accumulating more and more pallets whenever you order materials for your company, then see if your vendor offers a pallet retrieval and reuse program. This can save you tons of space in your facility, and it is an all-around “greener” and more efficient model of material transport. Typically, higher-valued pallets and shipping platforms are the ones who offer pallet retrieval. Sometimes, there are even deposits for returning higher-valued pallets. This presents a great opportunity for you — check in with your vendors and ask if they are willing to pay for the retrieval and return of their shipping pallets.
  • Switch to a single-source provider, such as First Alliance. Rather than working directly with multiple pallet suppliers, you may consider switching to a single-source provider. First Alliance is a pallet management and logistics company, and we do business with 225 different pallet suppliers. With our connections, we can help you figure out the perfect pallet removal system for your business. In fact, we can devise custom solutions that may combine some or all of the suggestions listed within this post.
  • Consider renting. If a pallet return program isn’t feasible for your company but you can’t store your excess pallets, then you may want to consider renting pallets. With renting, you never have to worry about pallet repairs or pallet disposal. At the same time, renting does have its pitfalls. Because the pallets aren’t yours to keep, you need to keep track of your inventory to avoid lost pallet fees and late fees.
  • Use a standard-size pallet. What are the dimensions of the pallets currently used by your company? If they aren’t 48”x40”, 40”x40”, or 48”x48”, then this may be the reason for your troubles. Pallets with custom dimensions are difficult to resell. If it’s possible with your company’s needs, try switching to a standard size pallet — it’ll be easier to find a nearby business who wants your pallets after they exit your facility.
  • Create a pallet flow system. Does your company receive shipments of raw materials, then sell a finished product in bulk quantities? If so, then you may want to create a pallet flow system within your organization. If you require pallets for receiving shipments AND you require pallets for order fulfillment, then doesn’t it make sense to use the same pallets for both purposes? With this model, pallets are constantly flowing into and out of your warehouse — and you’ll never need to worry about excess again.
  • Call that 1-800 number. Take a look at the pallets lying around your warehouse. Are they stamped with any identifying information, such as the manufacturer’s name or number? If so, try reaching out. Sometimes, pallet suppliers accept returns (at no expense to you!).
  • Create a “Buy Under Load” agreement with your distributor. If you want your company to have a fleet of durable, reusable pallets, but you only have the budget for cheap pallets or rentals, then speak with your distributor about making the investment together. Here’s an example of how this model — a “Buy Under Load” — arrangement works: a canning company buys high-quality pallets, then sells them to one of their distributors under load at a discounted rate. The costs paid by the distributor help to cover the canning company’s initial pallet use. In this way, the canning company can help build its inventory of durable pallets at a cheaper cost than fronting the entire purchase price.
  • Call us for a dock sweep. If you just can’t seem to figure out what to do with all your extra pallets, then consider looking into First Alliance’s rebate program. We have relationships with local pallet recyclers all around the country. Sometimes, recyclers offer additional services such as hauling away old corrugated cardboard (OCC) and baled shrink wrap. Can you imagine cleaning up your entire facility with just a single provider? It might be easier than you think. Just make sure that the material you want to clear is baled — most recyclers won’t accept loose material.
  • Switch your materials. If it’s difficult for you to justify a pallet rental program but you still can’t seem to find an interested party for your used pallets, then you may want to try working with a different pallet material for your shipments. Plastic, presswood, and cardboard pallets are increasing in popularity, due to their light weight, ease of recyclability, and nest-ability for freight purposes.

Let’s be honest: it’s difficult to run an efficient operation with pallet carcasses cluttering your facility. With our list of suggestions, it’s much easier than you think to get rid of your used pallets without letting them go to waste. And, it’s much easier than you think to devise a new shipping strategy, where fewer materials go to waste. Your warehouse and loading dock can be clean and clear in no time.

You have many options moving forward regarding your handling of used pallets. Just remember there are always trade offs to consider, so choose one that works best for your company. If you don’t know which route to choose for your business, give us a call today. We can help you devise a pallet removal solution that is both good for the environment and good for your wallet.

The Ultimate Guide To Buying Pallets

The Ultimate Guide to Buying Pallets

Why Use Pallets?

Pallets have been used for over a century both in the U.S. and all around the world. Pallets are used to store and transport both commercial and industrial products. Aside from being incredibly functional, pallets can bring a diverse range of benefits to your business.

For example, pallets allow you to move large quantities of product at a fast rate. The shape and loading capacity of pallets also assists workers in quickly loading and unloading trucks. Moreover, pallets are easy to tore and stack, which helps to free up space in your dock and warehouse.

Best of all, pallets reduce the need for manual handling. This can lead to less product damage -- and even fewer worker injuries.

Though the trend of palletizing is on the rise, it can be a bit daunting to "jump in" to the pallet industry. Don't worry -- in this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know before buying pallets, including which materials, pallet designs, and grades are available to meet your company’s needs.

Pallet Specifications

New vs. Used Pallets

When determining which pallets are best for you, you’ll first need to choose between new or used pallets. New pallets are constructed from scratch with fresh lumber. Used pallets, on the other hand, can be constructed in a few different ways:

  • Recycled/Repaired Pallets – pallets that previously had damaged boards that have been replaced by new or used boards.
  • Remanufactured Pallets – pallets that are built by reusing board components (used lumber) to build a new pallet configuration.
  • Combo Pallets – pallets that are a combination of used and recycled pallets, with some deck boards made of new lumber.

Used pallets are a great option, as they are environmentally-friendly and help reduce your company's carbon footprint. Additionally, the production of used pallets is not affected by supply or lumber shortages, so your company will always be able to find a supplier for your order. Price is another factor to consider when choosing between new and used pallets. Used pallets will always be cheaper than new pallets of a similar design; however, the prices of each particular type of used pallet will vary depending on the specifics of the pallets.

Pallet Sizes

Pallets can be built in any custom size, but there is also a list of standard sizes that suit the needs of most buyers. A standard pallet can hold approximately 4,600 pounds. The most common dimensions are:

  • 48"×40" (this is the most common size)
  • 42"×42"
  • 48"×48"

Though standard-size pallets are most popular, you might run into occasions that call for custom dimensions. For example, if you have oddly-sized/shaped products that need to be shipped, it’s a good idea to consider a custom pallet over a standard pallet.

Custom pallets can be built as large as you can imagine! In fact, we currently build a 26-foot pallet for one of our customers. To put this in perspective, the most common pallet size is roughly 4 feet by 3.5 feet — this custom order is huge in comparison!

Keep in mind, though, that the larger your pallet, the longer the turnaround time may be due to finding suitable lumber.

Additionally, the larger the pallet, the higher the cost due to increased materials (lumber, nails, and screws), and less pallets per truck for higher-per-pallet transportation costs.

Whether standard or custom, obtaining the right-sized pallets for your job can mitigate product damage, reduce worksite injuries, and optimize your company’s automation lines. Pallets also allow manufacturers to maximize unit load capacities, reduce the number of truck deliveries, and even reduce transportation costs.

If you’re unsure whether you need a standard or custom pallet, contact us either via our website or the number listed below – we’d be happy to help you identify which pallets best meet your needs.

Pallet Size vs. Truck Size

We've already mentioned a ton of different pallet measurements, so now you're probably wondering how pallet size compares to the size of an average truck bed.

Most trucks are 96 inches wide, which means that two standard 48-inch pallets can fit side by side. A 53-foot (length) truck can typically carry 26 single-stacked 48×40 pallets, and a 48-foot truck can carry 24 single-stacked 48×40 pallets. See what we mean when we say that pallets can help you maximize unit load capacities?

Hardwood vs. Softwood Pallets

Most pallet suppliers will offer a variety of wood species for pallet construction. These species are divided into hardwood and softwood varieties. Hardwood is more dense, so it tends to create stronger pallets. But, softwood pallets can mimic hardwood strength by increasing the thickness of the boards.

At FALM, we use a pallet design software that considers both the density of the lumber and your company's load size, and we determine which type of wood/density of wood is needed to safely carry your intended load.

2-Way vs. 4-Way Pallets

The main difference between 2-way and 4-way pallets has to do with accessibility and forklift entry. You see, 2-way pallets have forklift openings on only two opposite sides of the pallet. 2-way pallets are also called “un-notched” pallets.

By contrast, 4-way pallets have forklift openings on all four sides of the pallet, allowing a forklift to lock in and lift the pallet when approaching from any direction. Stringer vs. Block Pallets "Stringer" and "block" refer to two different method of pallet assembly. Stringer and block pallets are both able to handle heavy loads, so when selecting a design, you should mainly focus on how you plan to transport your pallets.

  • Stringer pallets: These pallets are 2-way in their forklift openings, and they rely on stringer boards to support the load. Stringer pallets can also have notches in the side to create a partial four-way forklift entry.

  • Block Pallets: These pallets are generally considered to be more durable than stringers. Block pallets feature a 4-way forklift entry, and they use blocks of solid wood to support the load. However, block pallets re usually more expensive than stringer models because they are more difficult to assemble and require more lumber.

Pallet Grades

The pallet industry has established a grading system to assess the condition of recycled pallets. At FALM, we rarely quote for pallets beyond Grade A and Grade B, as lower pallet grades are less structurally sound. So, for the purposes of this guide, we will only look at the definitions and qualifications of Grades A & B.

  • Grade A (also referred to as #1)“Grade A” pallets are recycled pallets that have been refurbished to near original condition. All damaged boards have been replaced, and this pallet is highly dependable. You might mistake Grade A pallets for new pallets!The specs on an A-Grade pallet are more consistent than a B, and A-Grades are likely to have experienced fewer shipment cycles than Bs.Also, Grade A pallets will never have block repairs to stringers, but each stringer can have up to one repair plate to strengthen a splint.
  • Grade B (also referred to as #2)“Grade B” pallets have been previously used and typically have experienced damage to at least one stringer. To fix, or reinforce, the damaged wood, an additional runner is typically placed alongside the broken or cracked piece. The top and bottom deck boards may have also been replaced in previous repair cycles, which means the deck configuration on “B” pallets may not be consistent, but they are still a reliable alternative to new pallets.Grade B pallets have repairs on their stringers, and they can have plates or staples on cracked boards. Additionally, Grade B pallets can have chips or partial split boards.

The chart on the following page can also assist you in identifying different pallet grades:

Pallet Materials

There are a few different types of pallet materials to choose from, including wood, compressed wood, metal, cardboard, and plastic. Wood is obviously the most common material for pallets, but there are unique advantages to each type.

FALM only handles wood and compressed wood pallets.

These kinds of pallets are the easiest to repair and recycle, so they are both incredibly eco-friendly and affordable.

Pallet Treatment

Why are pallets treated?

If a pallet is going to be used for an international shipment, then it must be treated to meet ISPM-15 (International Phytosanitary Measure) standards. The ISPM states that wood used for international shipping must be treated to prevent the spread of disease and insect infestation between countries. Below, we’ve identified the most common types of pallet treatment:

  • Heat Treated Pallets: The process of heat treatment for pallets is mandated by the U.S. customs authorities. It is the most common way to meet ISPM-15 standards.When pallets are constructed with green lumber, insects frequently try to seek refuge in the freshly-cut wood. When pallets are treated with extreme heat, these bugs either flee or are killed -- and this reduces the risk of spreading insect infestations between countries.Heat treating prices vary, but typically it costs between $0.75 to $1.25 per pallet.
  • Methyl Bromide (MB) Treated Pallets: In this treatment method, pallets are stacked in a sealed chamber and sprayed with the pesticide, methyl bromide. The chemical soaks into the wood and dries, which kills insects and prevents the growth of mold.

    Wood pallets manufactured in the US, Canada and Europe are no longer treated with MB, due to numerous health hazards posed by the chemical. *It’s still possible to find pallets that have been MB treated, but because of their high toxicity, we don’t recommend using these pallets.*

  • Kiln-Dried Pallets: New wood pallets are often made from recently harvested trees. Before this lumber can be constructed into a pallet, it needs to be thoroughly dried. To accomplish this, the fresh lumber (green lumber) can either be left outside to dry (air-dried) or placed into a kiln to dry (kiln-dried).

    Kiln-drying is advantageous because it quickly eliminates moisture in the wood -- the speed of this process prevents warping and it reduces weight. Be aware that while kilndrying is a great treatment for green lumber, it does not meet ISPM-15 standards. Kiln-treated wood must still undergo heat treatment if it will be used for international shipping.

How do I know if my pallets have been treated?

Once a pallet has been treated, a certification label (shown below) will be stamped onto the side of the pallet. If the pallet has been repaired with untreated wood, then the entire pallet needs to be retreated and re-stamped.

You can learn a lot by looking at a pallet treatment stamp, including the country of origin and treatment method used.

For instance, the "US" in the above stamp stands for "United States," and the "HT" stands for "Heat Treatment."

Here is a useful chart of pallet treatment codes:

Renting vs. Buying

Renting Pallets

Renting pallets has become more common in recent years. Large pallet pool companies like CHEP (blue pallets) and PECO (red pallets) have a notable presence in the U.S.

While renting typically has lower upfront costs, it does come with a few disadvantages as well.

For example, rented pallets must be returned to the vendor once your shipment is completed. This leaves you with few pallets on hand for unforeseen shipments or last-minute customer orders. In this way, renting pallets can cause you to miss out on business.

And, while renting may seem cheaper due to the advertised rate, rented pallets typically come with a number of surprising fees. In fact, the typical pallet rental contract includes:

  • Issue Fee
  • Transfer Fee
  • Non-Participant Fee (not all rental companies charge this)
  • Heat-Treating Fee
  • Lost Pallet Fee

Most of these fees are minimal, but some -- such as the transfer fee and the non-participant fee (occurs when you ship to a company outside of the rental company’s network) -- can quickly catapult you over budget.

Buying Pallets

On the other hand, the costs associated with buying pallets are more straightforward. Yes, there is a higher initial cost, but there are fewer hidden fees.

Plus, once you purchase your pallets, they are 100% yours – you can use them, reuse them, or recycle them. Even better -- you'll always have an in-house means of transporting goods and fulfilling orders. Purchasing pallets is a great investment for the longevity of your business.

If you have a constant need for pallets, you can even create your own recovery system. Creating a closed pallet recycling loop comes with many benefits. FALM is an expert in creating pallet recycling and recovery systems, so if you have any questions about how this may benefit your company, please feel free to contact us at the number listed at the bottom of the page.

Where to Buy Pallets

When you are ready to buy your pallets, you can look in a couple different places. You can buy in bulk from different pallet manufacturers across the country. Or, you can choose to work with a pallet management company, like First Alliance Logistics Management (FALM), who has partners across the country that can help you find pallets wherever and whenever the need arises.

Because of freight costs, you should look for a pallet company located within 50-100 miles of your facility. Using a pallet provider with a nationwide scope can be incredibly valuable, because it allows you to consolidate vendors and maintain only one point of contact for your entire pallet sourcing needs.

Pallet Pricing

As we mentioned before, there are a lot of variables when it comes to the price of pallets, which makes it difficult to provide a standard pricing list. But, we can give you a list of questions that a pallet manufacturer will ask in order to determine a quote:

  • What material should be used to build the pallet?
  • Do you prefer new or used pallets?
  • Do you need a custom or standard pallet size?
  • What are the dimensions needed for your pallet?
  • Where are you located?
  • Do you need treated/untreated pallets?

All of the above factors play a role in pricing your pallets. If you’re interested in a quote, contact us with your desired specs today. We’ll link you up with a supplier who can meet your exact needs.

We hope that this guide has helped you better understand the process and decisions involved in buying pallets. If you have any more questions, check out our FAQ page or contact us directly.

We'll be happy to help you find the perfect pallets for your business!

 

Ultimate-Guide

Celebrating 25 Years In Business

First Alliance Logistics Management is an early entry to the national accounts game and is looking to grow its supplier network thanks to enhanced digital marketing and outreach.

First Alliance Logistics Management is a pioneer in the development of centralized service for regional and national accounts. More than 25 years ago, a group of 20 pallet companies saw the need for an organization to create an extensive network and supply customers wanting service on a large scale. The original founders were Girard Wood Products, Litco International, Interstate Pallet, Potomac Supply and Remmey – The Pallet Company. This year First Alliance celebrates its 25th anniversary as the organization seeks to further develop its supplier network and enhance its digital marketing efforts.

The organization began in 1995 in Naperville, Illinois, and later moved to Charlotte, North Carolina the following year. The number of investor partners has dwindled somewhat to 12 companies, but they include some of the leading pallet suppliers in the United States. Some of the original members left FALM to sell or dissolve their former businesses. You can see the list on page 27. The partners have combined sales in the range of $250-$300 million and produce-30-35 million pallets annually, according to Glenn Merritt, a managing partner since 1996 and CEO and President since 2002. First Alliance boasts six former chairmen of the NWPCA, the world’s largest trade association of wooden pallet and packaging professionals.

While about 60% of First Alliance revenue comes from sales of new or recycled pallets, the other 40% is derived from products or services related to pallet management. The company has focused on the Eastern United States but has a good presence throughout the continental US.

The original partners “had the vision to foresee the expanded use of recycled pallets,” observed Merritt. Most of the original partners were new pallet manufacturers, he added – and still are. “They took the concepts of buying and selling pallets from local areas to a national basis.”

The mission of the business has remained unchanged; it is to form a network of pallet suppliers that represents them across the country and brings its supply chain sales leads. In addition to 11 investor pallet companies, First Alliance can tap a network of 225 pallet suppliers throughout the country. FALM is encouraging pallet manufacturers to join its supplier team if there is ample interest in growing sales together.

First Alliance was a response, in part, to the fairly new presence of CHEP in the U.S. pallet industry. “At the time, CHEP was getting bigger and stronger and converting a lot of new pallet business to rental,” recalled Merritt.

“All good businesses are somewhat evolutionary and will change with the times,” commented Merritt. “Since we have been around for two and a half decades, we have obviously done some things right and have made shifts to respond to the market.”

Merritt added, “We have never been afraid to try our hand at new start-ups, and we were always able to know when to move on to greener pastures. I expect this trend to continue going forward as FALM diversifies its interests.”

First Alliance has changed in some ways over the course of 25 years. For example, initially it focused on retrieval and recycling of odd-size pallets, such as larger pallets for building materials. Odd-size pallets are still in the company’s portfolio, but the company also has seized business opportunities related to the 48×40 GMA pallet footprint and similar footprints.

First Alliance is in the process of developing and launching a preferred supplier program. One of the benefits to a pallet supplier who joins the program is the company gets sales leads provided by First Alliance.

“The interest is about the leads,” said Merritt. “Hopefully, as trust and relationships grow, we will have better inventory available during seasonal times of the year. We’re able to forecast better, and our preferred suppliers can build in inventories.”

In the past two or three years First Alliance has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to further develop, refine and optimize its website and digital marketing efforts in order to attract qualified sales leads. The company also does email marketing campaigns and is adding more sales personnel.

“The people who win…are the ones who have the highest hit rate off these leads and convert these leads into business,” said Merritt.

First Alliance also can help its preferred suppliers save money on freight. Its affiliated logistics company, C2C, acts as a freight agent – not a broker – to help provide reliable trucking at a savings. For example, if a supplier is buying lumber from 100-1,000 miles away, “we’ll run the rates,” said Merritt, “and see if we can help them drive the cost down. In some instances, we’re in a position to save them some money.”

First Alliance also is in a position to help its preferred suppliers to sell surplus pallets or material. A pallet supplier may have a surplus of odd-size pallets or lumber that already has been cut. “Nobody knows that it’s sitting there,” said Merritt. “We can help them distribute surplus inventories.”

Another benefit for preferred suppliers: First Alliance pays faster than a typical customer would do when purchasing pallets through a broker, according to Merritt. Most customers pay in 45-60 days, he noted; First Alliance pays in 30 days. “We pay faster than dealing directly with a customer.”

First Alliance has “never stolen anyone’s business,” said Merritt, who wanted to emphasize the company’s integrity and ethics. The partners are “very honest, ethical people,” and our staff operates the business the same way.

Merritt anticipates growing the segment of business that deals with odd-size pallets that generate more wood waste for national companies than the revenue they receive for 48×40 cores. “They shouldn’t have to throw those pallets away…We see that as a growing part of our business.” Solutions include supplying those odd-size pallets to recyclers who can dismantle them and cut the used lumber to size for stock for standard-size pallets or utilize the wood fiber for other wood-based products. FALM welcomes new suppliers who need wooden pallet cut down material.

Large regional or national pallet-using companies have shown an increasing interest in pallet management – and not just pallet brokerage – in the past five years or so, observed Merritt. Pallet management services can include recovering and repairing pallets for a shipper, or it could be a retailer that is looking to buy pallets or sell its surplus pallets. Retailers also may be looking to dispose of other packaging-related commodity materials, such as baled shrink wrap or cardboard, scrap metal, or others.

The partners actually considered establishing their own pallet pool system in the initial years. “The problem was the cost to be able to develop a pool like that…was incredibly large,” noted Merritt. “It was decided we would just go a different route. FALM has blazed a number of trails over its initial 25 years in order to build a business model that works.”

Merritt concluded, “Our partners have been critical to our success. Their guidance, ongoing support, and strategic vision as well as execution by FALM’s senior management team has made us a company to be reckoned with as we begin the new decade.

To find out more information on First Alliance, visit its website at www.falm.com or call 888-995-6579.

Working Safely with Pallets

If you own a contractor or construction company, you probably rely on pallets for a lot of your daily tasks. A pallet is a flat transport structure used to ship products or move materials internally. Pallets are typically made of wood or plastic. At First Alliance, we sell wooden pallets.

Though common, pallets can lead to injuries when they are handled or used improperly. The talk below is designed to help you talk with your employees to make sure that everyone knows the correct protocol for working safely with pallets.

Guidelines for Discussion

Everyone in the workplace is familiar with pallets. We use them every day for shipping, and for rearranging materials within the warehouse and workspace. Pallets are an excellent tool for securely moving heavy loads, but they themselves can actually be harmful when handled incorrectly. In fact, everyone in the workspace can probably recall at least one near-miss or injury as a result of mishandled pallets. Heed these safety precautions to make sure you keep yourself and your coworkers safe while working with pallets:

  • Wear gloves when working with wooden pallets, as they protect from splinters and other surface irregularities.
  • Wear protective shoes to avoid injuries from dropped or improperly loaded pallets.
  • Before lifting a wooden pallet, check the surface for loose or protruding nails. Rusty nails can spread tetanus.
  • Remove cracked, weak, and damaged pallets from the workplace so they won’t be used. Place unusable pallets in the company recycling.
  • Maintain proper posture when lifting pallets, and use two employees for heavy loads to prevent muscle strains.
  • Proper posture is especially important for plastic pallets, as these can weigh over 100 pounds without a load. Remember to lift from a squatting position, rather than craning your back.
  • Don’t drop or throw pallets.
  • Distribute weight evenly when loading, and don’t exceed the maximum weight. The maximum weight varies for different pallets – check with your supervisor to determine the maximum load for your materials and workplace.
  • Always lay pallets flat, and do not stack them higher than 4 feet.
  • Always use a forklift when stacking more than 7 or 8 pallets high.
  • Do not walk over or on top of pallets: stepping on a weak board or a protruding nail could result in injury.
  • Do not stand pallets on their sides – always lay them flat. Otherwise, the pallet can fall on a nearby coworker or crush surrounding materials.
  • Immediately pick up and recycle any broken pallet pieces to prevent accidents.
  • Make sure pallets don’t impede access to important areas such as entrances, doorways, emergency exits, fire extinguishers, and emergency equipment.

 

And remember – if you notice a coworker doing something unsafe with a pallet, say something! Your voice could prevent a painful injury, months of recovery, and damaged materials.

Food & Pharmaceutical Pallets

First Alliance Logistics Management is a full-service logistics provider offering solutions for a variety of industries. The Food & Pharmaceutical industries have some of the highest sanitation standards and rightfully so; to uphold the quality standards in protecting consumers.

The National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) maintains that wooden pallets are a safe method for transporting pharmaceutical and food goods. Wooden pallets are commonly used in shipping packaged cans, boxes, or other packaging where the pallet doesn’t come into direct contact with unpackaged food. Wooden pallets have also proven to be the lowest cost shipping option compared to metal and plastic pallets.

First Alliance Logistics has successfully helped shippers utilize wooden pallets by ensuring that they are structurally sound, dry, clean, and free from damage and/or contamination. Our teams have developed processes to ensure that pallets are kept dry and clean until they are delivered to the customer’s facility. The monitoring and quality controls are in place to ensure that the pallets remain sanitized and safe before they are placed under load. Other pallet treatments are beneficial in the higher sanitation environments with the use of heat-treat and kiln-drying processes that eliminates insects or lower moisture contents in wooden pallets.

There have been work-a-rounds where pharmaceutical manufacturers receive raw materials on new, wooden pallets. The raw materials are then transferred over to plastic pallets prior to entering the facility, which are sanitized before bringing goods into the manufacturing facility. On the other end of the production process, some manufacturers bring finished goods out of their plant on plastic pallets and then transfer the products to new, wooded pallets for final shipment to the customer. In this innovative manner, the manufacturer may have control over the sanitation of their processing environment while receiving long-term value from wooden pallets as their primary shipping platform.

Wooden Pallets Lifespan

6 Tips to Extend Your Wooden Pallets’ Lifespan

The average lifespan of wooden pallets is approximately 3-5 years, which certainly isn’t a short lifespan for a product that is constantly carrying heavy loads across the country. However, we know that it’s every supply chain manager’s goal to increase the lifespan of their pallets without sacrificing the safety of products and the employees that handle the pallets on a day-to-day basis. Because, of course, a longer pallet lifespan means less money spent on pallets. 

Read More

Pallet Recycling

4 Benefits of Recycling Pallets through a Pallet Recovery System

What to do with used pallets?

What happens to your pallets after they’ve been used for the first time? If you’re like most businesses, they are either stored, burned or disposed of after their first shipment. While it seems like an innocent mistake, this is a missed opportunity for your business for a variety of reasons – most convincingly though, you could be missing out on phenomenal cost savings.  Read More