Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Is another pallet pool in the offing?

The new Costco spec could open the door for an independent pallet pool from NWPCA members
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
January 05, 2011

With a new Costco pallet spec right around the corner, seven members of the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (http://www.palletcentral.com), the trade association that represents pallet manufacturers, are betting that there’s room for a new independent pallet pool. The initiative is known as the Pallet Industry Management System project—or PIMS (http://www.pimspallet.com)—and would establish an independent, free market pallet pool to compete with the Big Three of the pallet pooling industry: CHEP, iGPS and PECO.

“The idea is to establish a pool where the pallets are repaired to a very high standard of quality and end users aren’t tied into a leasing agreement,” says John Swenby, the managing partner of the Paltech Enterprise Group (http://www.palletsales.net) and one of the members of the development team for PIMS.

While NWPCA members have been batting around the concept of creating their own pallet pool for several years, the catalyst is the new Costco spec. As Modern reported last month, starting in January 2011, Costco is requiring its suppliers to use a pallet from CHEP, iGPS or PECO, or an alternative pallet design that is equal to or better than the pallet pool specs based on an analysis using the NWPCA’s Pallet Design System.

Depending on whom you talk to, pooled pallets offered by CHEP, iGPS and PECO account for 80 to 85 million of the pallets in circulation in the United States. While that sounds like a big number, pallet pooling is still a niche, representing about 20% of total pallet usage, according to CHEP.

Those figures are consistent with Modern’s pallet survey, which found that only 33% of readers said they were participating in some kind of pallet pool, and only 34% of those were renting their pallets from one of the big three pooling providers. The remaining readers were using a third party to manage a pool of captive pallets or were handling it in house. However, more than half of our readers said they would consider using a pallet pool, especially if their customers required it.

The Costco pallet spec could create that demand for more pool users, especially if there are no contracts required, according to Swenby. “We’re still working out the details, but our goal is to maintain a very high standard of quality, similar to the Canadian and European pools, and create a logistics network that can get the pallets back into the system quickly,” he says.

It is a large undertaking, but Swenby believes the pool could be operational in early 2011. “There are 800 NWPCA members who are already familiar with our goals and objectives and some 3,000 pallet makers and recyclers in the country,” he says. “That’s a deep infrastructure we can tap into.”

Get the most from your unit load
Pallet and unit load design systems minimize the cost of maximizing your unit load

Pallets and RFID
Some end users putting RFID and pallets to work to track work-in-process and finished goods in their facilities and supply chains

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, a world leader in 3D design software, 3D Digital Mock Up and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, today announced the signing of a definitive share purchase agreement for Dassault Systèmes to acquire Quintiq, a leading provider of on-premise and on-cloud supply chain and Operations Planning & Optimization software, for approximately €250 million

During this complimentary webcast you'll learn the 6 reasons your operation could benefit from voice and multi-modal solutions and exactly how The Container Store did it. They were able to improve efficiency, safety and accuracy, without a complete WMS overhaul and their employees find it faster and easier to use.

Study suggests solutions for filling the talent gap, including the development of robust ties with the education system.

Global business optimism reaches highest level in survey history.

Mentor-based program aims to help students develop STEM skills and foster innovation, self-confidence, communication and leadership.

Article Topics

News · Pallets · Pallet Report · Pallet Pool · CHEP · NWPCA · iGPS · PECO · All topics


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA