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Analyzing Cost of Pallets; another Cost Containment Solution


Standard Size of PalletsManufacturing companies ship a lot of goods throughout the country and abroad. In this new era of environmental and economic responsibility, every aspect of the shipping process is being examined. When it comes to the cost of pallets there are several factors to consider such as what type and size of pallets does your business normally use. The number of pallets you use on a consistent basis is also another consideration. 

Currently, there is an on-going debate over which pallet type is more efficient, environmentally friendly and, most importantly, offers an opportunity to realize some good cost savings to your business. So far there is no clear cut answer to which is best. The kind of pallet you use is going to come down to what works well for your individual needs in shipping specific goods. 

There are certain trends emerging in the world of pallet creation. You should be aware of what is happening so that you can decide if you wish to make changes or stick with your current pallet situation. Wooden pallets are still predominant but there are alternatives such as plastic and cardboard. You may also want to take a look at buying recycled pallets over new, or joining a pallet pool.

 What is the Standard Pallet Size? 

In the U.S. there are many standard size of pallets available. Normally, pallet sizes depend on the height, weight and dimensions of the specific product being shipped. It’s important to get the sizing right so that you make full use of every inch of space. 

The most common North American pallet sizes are: 

48x40 – Commonly used for groceries and perishable items – very popular

42x42 – Commonly used for communications equipment and paint

40x48 – Commonly used for cement and military items

36x36 – Commonly used for beverages

48x36 – Commonly used for roofing materials

48x48 and 44x44 – Commonly used for drums 

Wood Pallets 

Pallets made from softwood (stringer pallets) or hardwood (block pallets) is still the most common found in manufacturing circles. Wood is an abundant resource that is readily available and relatively cheap to produce. There are many wooden pallet manufacturers online where you can buy wood pallets in bulk. Most companies are sticking with wood pallets because they are extremely sturdy and can be reused numerous times until they wear out. 

Plastic Pallets 

The plastic pallet is gaining in popularity as a main alternative to wood. Proponents of plastic pallets tout their positive benefits such as: longevity of use, immunity to contamination, ability to save space and that they are 100% recyclable. If you are looking to buy plastic pallets outright, consider that they tend to be more expensive than their wooden counterpart. 

Cardboard Pallets 

Most manufacturers shy away from using cardboard pallets because they are not considered as reliable as plastic or wood. In general this is true, however, some companies are experimenting with cardboard and finding ways to make it work. 

For instance, IKEA is currently using a cardboard pallet they designed especially to ship their type of goods. These paper pallets are assembled by their local suppliers and are 90% lighter than normal wood ones. Their pallet can hold up to 1,650 pounds. The drawback is that it is only good for one use. Time will tell if this design is truly more cost effective. 

Recycled Pallets 

The good thing about pallets is that they can often be repaired, reconditioned or completely recycled into new ones. To save money it may be more cost efficient for you to look for suppliers of recycled pallets. Recycling means that they are not wasting away in a landfill, but finding new life in the chain of shipping goods. 

Pallet Pools 

Many manufacturers rely on pallet pools instead of purchasing their own. Pallet pools are an ideal solution because you only have to deal with one company. Simply order the number of pallets you need, the pool operator delivers them, you ship out your products and the receiving customer can have the pallets sent back to the pool operator for reuse.