The misappropriation of pallets is costing the FMCG supply chain both financially and in terms of environmental impact and is a situation that could be avoided, warns leading pallet pool operator and owner of the red pallet, LPR.
A new awareness campaign, developed by LPR, will involve a series of posters with hard-hitting messages put up in retailer regional distribution centres, across the UK, to try and reduce the potentially illegal mis-use of pallets.
“The number of pallets being lost in the supply chain is unsustainable for the industry. If pallets were treated with the same seriousness as stock and given the security of retailers' sites, then there is little reason why they should end up outside the FMCG supply chain,” says LPR's managing director, Jane Gorick.
“Due to significant numbers of pallets now involved, the industry is having to pass the cost of recovery on to customers, seeing spend go up unnecessarily across the supply chain,” she continues.
As well as the financial cost involved in large numbers of lost pallets, there is also the environmental impact of replacing them. When one considers that the numbers run into the millions, both sets of costs stack up – literally.
People who take what they think are unwanted pallets will, probably unknowingly, be committing an offence. So, if red pallets are at a retailer's distribution point, or any other facility and warehouse personnel or drivers are unsure what to do, it is just a matter of ringing LPR's pallet hotline – 0845 165 0000 – and the company will arrange collection. It's as simple as that.
The campaign will highlight these issues in a bid to encourage the industry to work together to help keep pallet costs across the sector down and efficiency up. Indeed, if the FMCG retail supply chain improved pallets losses by 1% this would save the equivalent of 175,000 trees being felled each year to replace the losses.
“To the FMCG sector, the pallet is integral to the flow of goods through the supply chain and processes are significantly improved when everyone does their bit,” continues Gorick.
“Operating smoothly and adhering to each other's guidelines will help keep both environmental and financial costs in the supply chain down. We hope the posters help us, as an industry, move towards this,” she concludes.