Monday, March 02, 2015
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How to reduce pallet damage

The cost of pallet damage can add up quickly. Fortunately, there are some inexpensive steps you can take to minimize the problem.

By Susan K. Lacefield

Pallet damage can add significant cost and waste to your supply chain. And it's not just the cost of repairing or replacing the pallet itself; you also have to factor in the expenses your company will incur if the product loaded on that pallet is damaged as a result.

"Whenever the pallet is damaged, most of the time, the product on top is also susceptible to damage," says Skip Miller, vice president of global quality for pallet pooler CHEP. "Even if it's not damaged at the same time the pallet is, it's more susceptible to damage during the rest of the trip through the supply chain."

And the damage to the pallet doesn't have to be serious in order to create problems down the road. According to Laszlo Horvath, director of the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design at Virginia Tech, even minor damage can compromise the integrity of the pallet, which can lead to product damage.

So what can you do to reduce pallet damage? For starters, you can look into products designed to protect pallets—like the PointGuard, a plastic shield that screws onto the ends of a wood pallet. Another option, Miller notes, is to invest in forklift attachments that act as energy-absorbing bumpers, like the Blue Guardian or the Product Protector.

But to truly reduce damage, you need to start with the basics: choosing a better pallet and doing a better job of training your employees.


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Bob Cudnik
Logistics Engineering, LLC
517 Patterdale Lane
Columbia, South Carolina 29016

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