Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Pallets: Pallet pooling for the other guys

Upstart PECO Pallet brings competition to the pallet pooling market
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
October 06, 2010

Are you red, or are you blue?

For pallet pool users, that’s not a political question, even if we are in the election season. It’s a matter of whether you prefer the ubiquitous blue pallet from CHEP or the red pallet from PECO Pallet

For years, CHEP was the only game in town when it came to leasing or renting pallets from a pallet pool. Today, CHEP is still the dominant player in the market, with a 90% share, according to CHEP’s estimate. But, they are no longer the only player in town.

Launched in 1997, upstart PECO Pallet has offered an alternative to CHEP with its signature red 48- x 40-inch wooden block pallet. Today, PECO has a pool of 5 million pallets, about 8% the size of CHEP’s pool, 136 depots across the country, and is accepted at more than 450 retail distribution centers across North America, including the top supermarket chains and discount retailers.


There are a number of similarities between the two companies, starting with the ordering process: A PECO customer places an order for pallets 72 hours before they’re needed, primarily in full truckload quantities. Most PECO customers place orders on the Web. The rental period begins when PECO delivers the pallets to a manufacturer, and it ends when the manufacturer reports that it has shipped the pallets to its customer. Later, PECO picks up the empty pallets at distribution centers or retail stores and returns them to a depot center, where they are sorted, inspected, cleaned and repaired. 

What then is PECO’s competitive advantage? The simple answer is that they aren’t CHEP. “We look at the playing field as an oligopoly, and we bring an alternative to CHEP to the market,” says David Casarez, director of sales. While most of us would love a corner on the market in our own businesses, as customers we know that competition is a good thing. 

But beyond that, PECO believes there are a few differences in how they approach the market and customer service, says Casarez.

For one, given that a significant portion of PECO’s business is in the grocery industry, PECO pallets aren’t used to ship industrial products that might contaminate a pallet.

PECO argues that it has a more rigorous inspection, cleaning and repair process than any of the pallet management and repair services on the market. As a result, “we believe we have the lowest total lifecycle cost per pallet in the industry,” says Casarez.

And finally, while PECO declined to discuss rental rates, the company bills customers one flat rate per pallet, rather than an issue fee and a rental rate. “We understand our customers volumes on a monthly basis and how long they stay in the supply chain,” says Casarez. “That allows us to offer a simple, straight-forward, all-in-one price per pallet. When you place an order, you’ll know exactly what it’s going to cost.”

Reader survey: From wood to plastic to pallet pools, our readers tell us what’s important in pallets.

Pallets and containers: A CHEP off the old block
More than a decade after entering the North American market, CHEP continues to be the leader in pallet pooling.

Pallets and containers: The plastic pool alternative
iGPS offers pallets users an alternative to wood

Reusable containers: Putting a cap on your container needs
CAPS does for reusable containers what CHEP does for pallets

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

For companies large and small, an often overlooked key to handling sales growth in their DC is having the right picking strategies and technologies. Your current facility can do more than you think -- you just need to take a hard look at your current equipment and processes to maximize productivity with improved strategies or advanced technologies.

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.

Article Topics

News · Pallets · Pallet Pool · PECO · All topics


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