Laszlo Horvath, the new director of the Center For Unit Load Design at Virginia Tech, has an interesting observation about pallet users.
Most end users pay attention to the design of their pallet after they have problems. Earlier this year, Costco Wholesale turned that model on its head, revamping its pallet spec to improve operations and avoid problems. Since January 11, Costco has only received merchandise from suppliers on block pallets – and most of those are rental pallets from CHEP, PECO or iGPS.
How’s it working out? To find out, I talked to John Thelan, Costco’s senior vice president for depots and traffic.
Wooden pallets churned out in their billions over the five decades during which they’ve dominated world trade face a challenge from a cardboard rival that’s the brainchild of furniture retailer Ikea Group.
Ikea, which uses 10 million pallets to supply its stores with bookcases, pillows and candles, will ditch wood by January in favor of a lighter, thinner, paper-based alternative the Swedish company says will shave 10 percent from transport costs.
They've carried your food, they've carried your clothes, your medicine,
and probably part of your house.
But unless you work with those industrial, stackable platforms, it's
unlikely that you've heard about pallets, or the ongoing pallet wars.
An estimated 1.2 billion pallets are in use in the United States alone --
in warehouses, in trucks, on the bottom of forklifts -- and for 60 years
since the pallet's formal debut, safety issues for this ubiquitous piece
of equipment have been minimal.