There was a great response to last week's post "How Pallets are Made". But for complete appreciation of the role the wooden pallet plays in the low cost of your food, clothing, and pharmaceuticals, you need to understand the continuous improvements being made in supply-chain science and technology. Now, you can get a university degree in this sort of thing, there is so much to digest. But here's a couple of nice videos that demonstrate how essential the pallet is to the movement of goods around the world...and how companies are always trying to make that movement faster and more efficient.
How about a forklift that can load and unload an entire trailer of pallets in a single move? Seeing is believing...
You'll notice that the pallets in the video above are "stringer" pallets, the first type of pallet we saw being made in last week's video of the Remmey production facility. This type of pallet serves one of two distinct major pallet markets - the one in which pallets are used as the lowest-cost, structurally-capable means of moving product from point A to point B, and ownership of the pallet is transferred from the product seller to the product buyer.
The other major pallet market is the "block" pallet, which we saw being assembled in the second half of the Remmey video. Block pallets are heavier, more costly wooden pallets specifically designed for the demanding handling requirements of automated pallet transfer systems in most of today's modern distribution systems. Because of their cost and strict control of design and manufacturing standards, these block pallets are usually rented from a pallet pooling company, which retains the ownership of the pallet. Their reliability is the key to successful use in the complex but efficient product movement systems of today. And despite the higher cost of the block pallet, the wooden version is still more cost-effective than plastic or steel counterparts.
As high-tech as the world gets, wood still holds its place...better, in fact, than human laborers. So, Go Wood, or go home.