Supply chain sustainability is almost always dependent on efficient packaging and transport. This includes lowering packaging cost while at the same time maintaining quality and reducing product damage in transit.
Most businesses have grown accustomed to losing a few units each time they transport something. Be it bags of corn or fragile electronics, they have started reporting them under an expense (Normal Loss), thus having a direct impact on gross profit. However, this loss should soon be in the past as technologies advance and new ways of minimizing normal loss are introduced.
Most shippers use wooden pallets for large shipments, whether it is from warehouse to warehouse or to a customer. Although useful in their own sense, with the introduction of plastic pallets, the wooden alternatives aren’t as relevant anymore.
Wood is an organic material making it susceptible to rot and pests, unreliable, and problematic to use over long periods. Combined with industrial machinery and heavy loads, even slightly damaged wood can result in compromising the overall integrity of the whole pallet. Repetitive use of wooden pallets can also lead to splinters in the material or nails wriggling out of place, which could end up damaging your product.
Plastic pallets have no such issue as the whole pallet is one sturdy piece, contains no nails, and is not susceptible to pests or rot. Extensive use of plastic pallets poses no hazard to the forklift operator or your products as their expected life is more than 10 years, against wood’s 6 months to 1 year, even with proper maintenance.
Natural elements, such as water, affect wooden pallets, serving as the prime source of damage. Any contact with water, if not treated, can lead to rot and fungi on wooden pallets. This can not only reduce the strength of your pallet, but the fungi can also find their way into your products!
Water doesn’t get absorbed by plastic pallets due to its polyethylene’s nonpolar properties. This prevents fungi, rot, or other damaging elements from impacting the pallets and in turn, your products.
Plastic pallets are very light compared to wooden pallets because of their chemical structure. Wood is naturally heavy, but plastic maintains almost the same density level, while being a lot lighter due to its foaming process. Normally, a standard (48x 40) plastic pallet weighs up to 3 pounds, while a wood pallet of the same size weighs 30 to 70 pounds. This can save you a lot of money on cargo, especially when shipping over long distances by air.
Wooden pallets often end up absorbing moisture either from the air or due to spillage. If one side of the pallet absorbs more moisture than the other, the weight distribution becomes uneven to a point where column stacking might prove extremely difficult.
No Gaps Between Decks
Plastic pallets usually have little to no gaps between their decks, opposed to wooden pellets’ inch and a half gap. Smaller products can easily slip into these gaps, despite the plastic coating over them, leading to damage. Additionally, these slipped products can make it very difficult for fork lift operators to safely pick the whole batch up.
Although most shippers use slip sheets to prevent this when using wooden pallets, plastic ones eliminate the danger and the need to buy slip sheets altogether!
While wooden pallets are cheaper up front, they end up costing a lot more in the long run due to their extensive and exhaustive maintenance issues, slip sheets, shorter lifespans, and their ability to damage your goods.
In order to save up on costs and increase your profit margins, consider investing in plastic pallets. They offer immense benefits, and of course, you will be protecting the environment with your transportation needs. Plastic pallets are fully recyclable, meaning it’s a win-win for you in all aspects.
If you are looking for a plastic pallet supplier that promises premium quality at affordable prices, PTM Solutions is your number one option.