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Ways to Reduce Waste in Pallet Manufacturing

Recycled Wooden Pallets
Thad KingThad King
February 17, 2023

Pallets are the unsung heroes of the logistics industry, but many retailers also rely on pallets to deliver large amounts of goods. Additionally, the medical industry often requires pallets of supplies to be sent to hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and industrial facilities rely on pallets to receive shipments of materials.

Due to the importance of pallets across a wide range of industries, companies specializing in pallet manufacturing have a lot of responsibility to ensure their pallets are readily available and affordable. Unfortunately, despite refined manufacturing processes in place today, waste in pallet manufacturing still needs to be solved. This waste can cause costs to rise, and wasted wood in pallet manufacturing can also harm the environment.

If you’re a pallet manufacturer who is looking for ways to reduce waste in pallet manufacturing, below are some easy tips you can use to increase efficiency:

Re-Examine Design and Manufacturing Processes

Man redesigning or fixing a pallet

One way to reduce waste in pallet manufacturing is to re-examine design and processing methods. Although most pallet designs are simple, there may be ways to streamline existing designs and processes to reduce waste.

For example, if your company’s manufacturing processes require wood to be sheared in order to cut the boards that form the supports of a pallet, consider other methods that reduce the amount of waste. In addition, you may find that making minor changes to a pallet’s design can reduce the amount of wood left over, and this also has the potential to reduce costs. Finally, you can look into the raw materials used to manufacture your pallets to see if alternatives can make manufacturing more efficient. Polymer pallets may be a viable alternative to wood pallets that provide a longer service life.

Recycle Wood Waste When Possible

Lumber to be recycled

Your pallet manufacturing company can also reduce waste by recycling wood. Even if you receive lumber unsuitable for pallet manufacturing, it may be suitable for other uses. Look for ways to use this wood at your manufacturing facility or within the communities your company serves. Partnering with other businesses to share excess materials is also a good idea. This reduces the amount of pallet waste your company generates but can also reduce the amount of waste other businesses generate.

If you have lumber left over in the manufacturing process that cannot be used to make wood pallets, you can give this wood to a community partner or offer it in trade for other materials or services. Not only does this reduce waste, but it also strengthens relationships in business communities and can potentially open new opportunities.

Create a Dedicated Pallet Exchange

In keeping with the above, some industries can participate in dedicated pallet exchange programs. Such a program is a closed-loop system since receiving used pallets and sending out refurbished wooden pallets creates a cycle. These programs allow business owners to offload used pallets to other businesses or directly back to the manufacturer.

If you represent a pallet manufacturer, starting an exchange program means your company can recover pallets for reconditioning. A lightly-used pallet may need a little tightening up to function as well as new. The only real investment in this process is the cost of transporting the used pallets back to your facility. As long as a pallet is not severely damaged and remains structurally sound, a simple cleaning and general refurbishing can make it viable for use many times. Advertising your pallet exchange program can also be a selling point for environmentally-conscious partners, and you can even advertise partnership opportunities on your pallet business website to generate interest.

Make Every Inch Count

Pallets stacked very close

One of the biggest challenges in logistics is making every square inch of available space count. This is true for trucking companies specializing in air and sea freight, but it’s also vital for pallet manufacturers. Pallet sizes are standardized to a degree, but many manufacturers also offer custom pallet sizes. This can make it challenging to create a uniform standard for how much space a pallet order can offer.

By examining how pallets are loaded, your company can reduce pallet manufacturing waste by utilizing available space more efficiently. This is true even if your manufacturing business produces customized pallets of differing sizes. Although the bulk of the decision-making in loading pallets is handled by the companies that ultimately end up using your pallets, there may be some guidance that your business can offer to customers to help them cut down on wasted space and reduce pallet order volume.

Learn More About Efficiency in Pallet Manufacturing

To learn more about steps pallet manufacturers can take to reduce waste in pallet manufacturing, contact Pallet Company Marketing today.

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