Can anything replace pallets in the supply chain?

The pallet is the most common base for unit loads. And for good reason. When the palletization concept was first introduced, it had a dramatic impact on material handling efficiency. Then as it is now, pallets offer myriad benefits compared to other methods of handling.

boxes sitting on wooden pallets

Loading and unloading of goods without the use of pallets—either by hand/floor loading or alternative options may cost less up-front, but the savings do not add up over time.

Pallets vs. Alternative Options

Can anything replace the pallet? While it is certainly possible, it’s important to weigh the differences between alternatives and the tried-and-true pallet. Here’s how they stack up when compared:

  • Wood pallets can be repaired and re-used, which saves money.
  • Some alternative options are simply discarded after use; pallets are fully recyclable.
  • Wood pallets can support more than 3,000 pounds, making them the strongest option for the money.
  • When used alone, wood pallets provide more structural support and pose less risk for product damage compared to alternatives.
  • Pallets are the most compatible with cranes, forklifts, and hand-jacks. Other alternatives require special attachments on forklifts for handling. These additional attachments can run between $6,000 and $8,000 dollars.
  • Storage – Pallet racking systems are only set up to accommodate pallets, not alternative options.
  • Handling without pallets increases loading/unloading time by up to 60%.

We’re happy to continue this discussion, answer any questions you may have, and help you find the right solution for your material handling needs. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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