Pallet science…

Looking at an unloved pallet lost in the corner of a warehouse or factory yard, it might be hard to appreciate that at the beginning of its journey real care was taken to use it efficiently.

There is a mathematical science behind the perfect use of a pallet. It is referred to as ‘pallet cube optimisation’ and a lot of people, time and research is dedicated to this unsung science.

Put very simply, ‘pallet cube optimisation’ means getting as many products on a pallet as possible. The more products you can get on to a single pallet, the more you can reduce your shipping costs and carbon footprint. Of course, this has to be done using the laws of physics. Any manipulation of the time and space continuum would be cheating.

Colin White's Strategic Management

A good read – it’s not just about pallets…

The most quoted example is the Ikea ‘Bang’ mug. In Colin White’s book ‘Strategic Management’ he describes how the mug was redesigned a number of times to specifically fit more on to a pallet. Instead of 864 mugs, Ikea managed to squeezed 2,204 on to a pallet and cut 60% off its shipping costs. It just goes to show that the boffins at Ikea are no mugs… (We’d recommend their Swedish meatballs too.)

Ikea catalogue

The 2013 Ikea Catalogue will contain a choice of mugs…

There are even 3D computer software solutions dedicated to helping manufacturers and distributors pile more products onto a pallet. At the very basic level the software allows you to type in the dimensions of your product or its packaging and it will show you the best way to stack the pallet. Most software solutions can do a lot more than that but you get the picture.

The point is that right from the start a lot of effort and care goes into using a pallet to the absolute max. So, it is a crying shame to then simple discard the wooden wonder into a corner once the product reaches its destination. The least we can do is make sure that the pallet continues to be cared for, recycled and reused to the absolute max again and again.

Good news to start with…

It’s very nice to start off our new PH Pallet blog with some good news! We’ve marked the completion of a £400,000 investment with the announcement of more plans for the future.

We’re a North West England pallet management and recycling specialist, and have just finished a £150,000 upgrade of our Dukinfield operations unit and a £250,000 bespoke IT system that tracks every pallet that enters and leaves our premises.

We’re now drafting proposals to extend and develop our recycling operations. The team wants to further enhance access to our five-acre site to increase the intake of thousands of used wooden pallets for recycling.

Mark Houghton, our partner in PH Pallets, says: “Since we started in 1988 we haven’t stopped expanding and naturally we’re now looking for the next investment.

“Even during the current economic woes we’ve been able to invest in our business because we can offer companies a source of revenue – where they may have thought there was none – by buying back used pallets and recycling them.

“We don’t deal in cash or averages: every incoming pallet is logged, sorted, graded and paid for thanks to our custom-built IT system, and our clients are provided with detailed reports of exactly what they’ve given us.

“Also, nothing from our site goes to landfill. Clients regularly audit us on this aspect of our operations because, even in an economic downturn, it’s an important benefit to our customers looking to meet environmental targets and policies.”

A very proud Mark Houghton

For a bit of background, PH Pallets employs 29 people, handles more than 30,000 pallets every week and we have a turnover of more than £2 million a year. We have a wide client base across many industries, including retail, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, freight, warehouse and the food industry.

Exciting times ahead…