Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!



Shipping Pallets: Are pallets the most important object in the global economy?

By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
August 14, 2012

It’s not every day that materials handling and transport packaging, let along pallets, are covered in the mainstream media. It’s less common that an outsider steps into our world with that sense of curiosity of how things work that is the mark of good reporters. It’s even less common that they understand it.

That’s all prelude to an article about the role of the pallet in the global supply chain by Tom Vanderbilt that was posted on Slate.com today.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a little obsessed with pallets since I grew up in the industry. There’s probably a twelve step program for guys like me. What’s more, Vanderbilt called me to learn about the industry and quotes me in the piece. So, complimenting an article in which I am quoted is a little like my mother telling you I wrote a great piece on conveyors. However, Vanderbilt did his own reporting and called Mark White, a professor emeritus at Virginia Tech. To quote the lyrics of one of my favorite country songs, Mark has forgotten more about pallets than I’ll ever know.

The point he made, and one I think our industry should keep making over and over again, is that materials handling products and processes - whether its the mundane like corrugated cartons and pallets or the sexy like shuttle systems and AGVs - are playing a vital but unreported role in delivering the products that make all of our lives a little more enjoyable.

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

MHI announced the MHI 2015 Innovation and Young Professional Award winners last night at their 70th Anniversary Celebration during ProMat 2015.

Today marks the conclusion of ProMat 2015, four days of comprehensive problem solving and networking to provide solutions to the complex manufacturing and supply chain challenges faced by industry today.

With a record 155,000 square feet of exhibit space reserved by nearly 350 companies back in December 2014, Modex 2016 will continue the show’s expansion in both solution offerings and popularity.

Doosan (Booth 662) highlighted the new BR18/20SP-7 narrow aisle reach truck, its first product in the class. It also showcased its first engine, which replaced third-party engines and is now used in all Doosan products.

During Wednesday’s afternoon keynote address, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, affectionately known as “The Woz,” suggested the future of technology now is every bit as uncertain to him as it was 30 years ago.

Article Topics

Blogs · Pallets · Marshall White · Slate.com · All topics

About the Author

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 or email [email protected].


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA