If your company ships anything in significant volumes, you will understand the benefits of using pallets. Of course, you could ship items loose or pack everything into cardboard boxes, but both of these approaches can bring substantial problems. Loose items can be easily lost or damaged, and cardboard boxes rarely stack well. In both cases, it is hard to maximize the available storage space. Using pallets is often easier and more cost-efficient, but to reap these benefits, you must choose the right pallets for both the product and the journey the product will undertake.
Which material is right for your pallet?
Plastic pallets are an option that is worth considering, although there are many times when they will not be suitable. If you intend to use plastic, think carefully about the weight the pallet will be carrying. You will also need to think about where the pallets will be stored. Not all plastic pallets stack well alongside wooden pallets, and not every warehouse has the equipment to easily transfer plastic pallets, so ask questions before you commit to plastic pallets.
If you decide to use wooden pallets, you must choose between softwood and hardwood pallets. Hardwood pallets could be a worthwhile investment if you plan on distributing heavy goods for a prolonged period, but most of the time softwood pallets will be adequate. An additional concern if you are shipping internationally is ISPM 15. The ISPM 15 regulations require that the pallet is treated to stop an invasive species from transferring across international borders.
What size is right for your pallet?
When considering what size of pallet you should buy, you might think that the size of the product was the most important factor. However, the transport method may matter more. Pallets must stack well with other pallets, so if you are shipping internationally in an ISO container, an 1100 × 1100 mm pallet makes sense. If the pallets will use the Australian rail network, a standard Australian pallet size would be a better choice.
What style of pallet is right for your product?
Pallets can be either stringer or block pallets. Stringer pallets are the most common style available. These use three or more parallel planks to build the pallet frame. Block pallets are a more robust alternative and are ideal for heavier loads. Your pallet supplier can provide more information about the different types of pallets and explain which would be more appropriate for what you need to ship.