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When It Comes to Pallets, Are You Getting What You Paid for?

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In the world of logistics, pallets often slip under the radar. These essential tools for supply chain execution can sometimes fall victim to a lack of rigorous quality and inventory checks, leaving your customer experience at risk. Why might this be the case?

Imagine a bustling warehouse receiving area. There is a seemingly never-ending stream of inbound goods and materials. They are meticulously matched to purchase orders, ensuring the correct items are received in perfect condition. These operations are methodically executed to ensure accuracy. For perishable goods, quality inspection personnel will take product pulp temperatures and check for variables such as sugar content and firmness. Yet, while this carefully choreographed dance takes place, a load of new pallets arrives, receiving nowhere near the same attention.

The hasty unloading of these pallets by an already busy forklift operator, who quickly signs the paperwork (that later might end up forgotten in a jacket pocket), can oftentimes stand as a stark contrast to the rigorous verification of other received goods. This scenario illustrates a larger issue: pallets, integral to a company’s operations, are often not treated with the care and attention they deserve.

But why does this casual approach matter?

A lapse in attention makes it too easy to get less than you anticipate. In the realm of pallet purchases, such lack of attention can open the door for numerous concerns, from receiving fewer pallets than you paid for to getting subpar quality that doesn’t match the agreed-upon specifications. Over the years, here are some of the circumstances we have seen where value falls short of what you paid for:

  • Short Stacks: You might expect 26 stacks of 20 pallets, only to find out you’ve received 24 stacks or stacks of 19 pallets high instead of the expected 20.
  • Substandard Material: Lower-quality lumber might be used than specified. 
  • Missing Branding: Pallets might arrive without the promised stenciling or branding. When called out, the supplier might say they didn’t have time.
  • Compromised Integrity: They may use undersized lumber or fewer/lower quality nails than agreed upon, compromising the pallet’s strength and reliability.
  • Third-party Issues: Pallets delivered to the trading partner of the pallet buyer (e.g., a sub-assembly or material supplier) might be of lower quality than quoted, making quality checks more challenging.
  • Price Hikes: The old bait and switch approach remains a concern. A company might quote a lower price initially, only to hike it up drastically when it’s time to finalize the purchase.

How, then, can pallet buyers protect themselves from these pitfalls?

  1. Equal Respect: Treating pallets with the same respect and scrutiny as other products is paramount. If your company has strict quality control protocols, pallets shouldn’t be the exception.
  2. Communication: Ensure that accurate counts of received pallets are communicated clearly to your accounts payable department, preventing any discrepancies.
  3. Rigorous QA: The quality of pallets isn’t always easy to ascertain on sight. If there’s any doubt about using substandard lumber or any other deficiency, a thorough quality assurance check is dictated.
  4. Reputation is Key: Always aim to work with pallet companies known for their robust quality assurance programs and a consistent track record of delivering as promised.

While sourcing pallets might seem as straightforward as sending out an RFQ, ensuring you get what you’ve paid for requires consistent attention to detail. Remember, the cheapest option on the market may not always provide the best value. Investing time in quality assurance and vendor research will save you money and headaches in the long run. Why not contact PalletOne and learn how you can benefit from our Pallet Concierge service?

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