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Everything old is new again

On the eve of 48forty’s public debut, one can’t help but note the irony of introducing a “new” company which has been in existence for nearly 25 years. We typically start our company timeline at the formation of PalEx in 1996, which brought together 24 regional pallet recycling and manufacturing businesses. PalEx was the original nucleus of the pallet management business built by IFCO, which acquired PalEx in 2000 and quickly expanded its pallet recycling footprint with purchases of Texas Pallet and Bromley Pallet Recyclers, the second and third largest players behind IFCO. A comprehensive October 2000 Pallet Enterprise article by Dr. Ed Brindley offers greater detail on this era in our history.

It was during this period in the early 2000’s that IFCO’s network gained critical mass, but a great many of these locations had already been serving their markets for decades: Antioch, California (1968); Chicago, Illinois (1974); Columbus, Ohio (1978); Indianapolis, Indiana (1983); just to name a few. But now, under a single banner – IFCO Systems, these locations formed the largest pallet recycling infrastructure in the United States. That banner would change in 2011, when Brambles Ltd., the parent company of CHEP, acquired IFCO Systems, and again just a few weeks ago when Grey Mountain Partners, LLC purchased the business from Brambles.

Which brings us to the present incarnation of this storied business: 48forty Solutions. While the name’s origins are obvious, the process by which it was selected was less straightforward. When we began contemplating our new name, the discussion turned quickly towards a single choice: should we honor our past or look to our future? Our leadership team, with a combined 70 years of employment with this company under its various banners, was torn. The answer, we found, lay neither entirely in our past nor our future, but in the combination of the two which makes us who we are, what we do, and what we stand for today.

First, to define who we are, we looked to our employees. Of the 2,400 people who work here, many have done so for decades, like David Hayes, a 28-year veteran of our Atlanta plant. While others may not share Hayes’ longevity with us, they have much more important qualities in common. The employees of 48forty are determined, self-made, courageous, and enduring, so our new brand was created to honor them and reflect these qualities.

Next, to define what we do, we looked to our customers. As with our employees, a great many of our customers have been with us for decades, so we asked them what keeps them coming back. The answers varied, of course, but a common theme emerged: we make pallet management easier on them, whether by reducing costs, responding quickly or simplifying the process. And so, we realized a simple, straightforward brand would fit us best.

Finally, we had to define what we stand for, and there was nowhere to look but within. Our discussion as a leadership team around our purpose and values was shockingly brief as our core values were so obvious to each of us, having guided our time with this company for a combined 70 years.

We’re going to make pallet management simple for our customers because they trust us to handle it for them. They trust us because we deliver results. We know results aren’t the only thing that matter; it matters how we get there. So we do things a little differently around here. We are 48forty, and this is how we deliver:

We put the customer first, always. Our customers are the heart of our business; everything we do is in service to them.

We act with integrity.We emphasize safety in all that we do, and we treat our people, our partners, and our planet with honesty and respect.

We think creatively and act courageously.We’re not afraid to take risks, and we dare to be better tomorrow than we are today.

We have the will to win. From the repair table to the conference table, our entrepreneurial spirit drives us to work harder.

And so, it is with strong reverence for our past, excitement for our future, and conviction in our employees, customers, and values that we present ourselves as 48forty Solutions: Pallet Management Made Simple.

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