Pallets: Industry introduces a new pallet pool

Coalition of pallet and logistics providers aims to compete with other poolers

By ·

9BLOC, a new pallet pool run by members of the pallet industry, may soon be in the offing.

Created as a response to third party pallet pools operated by CHEP, PECO and iGPS, the pool from Pallet Logistics & Unit-Load Solutions will offer a block pallet designed to meet the Costco specification in a rent, lease or purchase model. That means that pallet users can choose from a variety of models, ranging from a per trip rental to outright ownership of their own managed pool.

The benefit to pallet producers, recyclers and distributors is an opportunity to retain current customers using stringer pallets who may be considering a shift to a block or leased pallet as a result of the Costco specification or the shortage of cores

The benefit to pallet users, according to John Swenby, a member of the 9BLOC, development team, is “the power of choice. Now, you can choose to rent, lease or purchase your own pallet inventory, based on your needs, from the 9BLOC participating pallet maker you select.”

According to Swenby, the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association had been discussing the idea of a national pallet pool for years. “Within the industry, we have been asking what can we do to compete with the big pallet pooling guys,” Swenby says. “If you look around the globe, Europe has EPAL and Canada has the CPC. We don’t have anything like this in the US.”

While the concept was initially just industry chatter, Swenby says a group of leaders began to investigate what it would take to put together a pool managed by pallet producers in October of 2010, about the time Costco announced its plans to convert to a block pallet. The reason: although CHEP and PECO offer block pallets in their pools, most US pallet manufacturers make stringer pallets, which would no longer be accepted by Costco. To stay in that game, would require an industry response. “I think there are other major retailers out there who are looking at the Costco model but have not switched to a block pallet because there wasn’t a pooling business model that worked for them,” Swenby says. “We decided to spend a few months to see what the industry is thinking.”

Out of those discussions came the formation of Pallet Logistics & Unit Load Solutions, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that will oversee the operation of the pool, about a year ago. A collaboration of companies that represent the entire product supply chain, the group will work together to provide a pool of high-quality wood block pallets that are manufactured and repaired to an industry-wide standard along with a software asset-tracking solution to manage the pool. An independent third party inspection service will conduct routine inspections of participating suppliers to assess quality standards.
“There are several thousand pallet manufacturers located around the US,” says Swenby. “If there are 500 of them with 100 trailers and 100 employees to manufacture, distribute and repair pallets, that’s a lot of scale. We can use our network to serve customers who are already working with us, but have a need to go to a block pallet.”

You can learn more about the 9BLOC standard and model  on the organization’s website. 


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. 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!

Latest Whitepaper
Download the full 2016 Modern Materials Handling Salary Survey
How does your earning power match up with your peers across the material handling industry? Materials Handling salary survey, Warehouse manager salary survey, Warehouse Salary Research
Download Today!
From the November 2016 Issue
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to the line. The result is a more consistent, efficient and safer operation.
Optimizing home delivery: It takes more than planning
9th Annual Salary Survey: Success and Satisfaction Continue to Reign
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Systems Report: Whirpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...
Modern Materials Handling’s 2017 Casebook Collection
The 2017 Casebook features more than 35 case studies that put the spotlight on successful innovation...

Brownells: Designing for Efficiency and Growth
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order...
Industry celebrates National Manufacturing Day
Fourth annual Manufacturing Day is a grassroots effort by U.S. manufacturers to improve the public...