Large companies like Walmart and Costco require suppliers to ship goods on block pallets of specific size and dimension. Their influence is driving change in pallet construction and causing a rise in the popularity of block pallets. Many of the large pallet suppliers are focused exclusively on this type of pallet and for good reason.
What makes a block pallet different?
Until recently, there has been a preference toward stringer pallets for material handling. Stringer pallets are named for their use of “stringers”, which are boards that run the entire length of the pallet. The stringers are sandwiched between deck boards on the top and bottom. Block pallets are named for their use of blocks. Their structure includes the blocks with parallel and perpendicular boards holding them together.
What are the benefits of block pallets?
They are easier to handle
Block pallets are known as true 4-way pallets, whereas stringer pallets are often referred to as 2-way pallets. This references the number of sides that can be used to transport the pallet. A 2-way pallet is limited to entry from the ends only. Stringer pallets can allow for four-way entry with the use of notches cut from the stringers themselves. However, the notches often do not line up with pallet jacks and require adjusting the fork spacing on forklifts.
Entry on all sides of the pallet makes a big difference in the ability to move the pallets in tight spaces. Retailers often have very limited space and the flexibility to use a pallet jack or forklift from any direction is very important and usually results in a large reduction in labor costs.
Using block pallets can save money
Block pallet construction is more complex than stringer construction and takes more time. They are also limited to using hardwood for block style, while stringer pallets can use cheaper softwoods. The result is that block pallets are often stronger but typically more expensive to buy.
The good news is that block pallets have been shown to save money in the long run. A large part of the cost savings is in transportation. Many block pallet designs are lighter than their stringer counterparts. They also can be stacked more efficiently so more pallets can be transported with each load, and the four-way entry allows for space saving loading techniques like the pinwheel configuration.
Additional cost savings is realized through decreased labor and equipment costs. Block pallets can be moved easily and efficiently with pallet jacks. Two-way pallets are proven to increase loading and stocking times, and often require additional equipment such as dock stockers to get loaded pallets moved from delivery trucks.
The demand for block pallets is increasing
Demand that was driven forward by large retailers is now spreading to other industries and companies. This is largely due to the obvious advantages of wood block pallets in many supply chain situations. Traditional style pallets still have a place in shipping and will likely not be completely overtaken by block pallets. A quality pallet supply company like All Size Pallets in Imlay City, MI deals in both types of pallets. They offer personal service and recommendations to make sure each client gets the best type of pallet for their needs.
Michigan businesses seeking more information about wood pallets and the best options for their supply chain are encouraged to contact All Size Pallets, LLC.