We recently sat down with Marcus Blood, Regional Director of Supply Chain for the West, to get the scoop on what’s impacting the pallet industry right now. Check out our latest market update.
My name is Marcus Blood. I am the regional director of Supply Chain for the West. I've been with 48 Forty since March of 2008, so I'm moving on 14 years. I started as the general manager for the Salt Lake City plant. I was in that role for roughly eight years and then shifted over to supply chain or brokerage about six years ago. I have filled that role in the West for that time, actually was just recently promoted to the director position for the West.
What's impacting the pallet industry right now?
We've seen unprecedented demand within our industry in the last 18 months that hasn't existed at any time since the pallet was really invented in the World War II era. It's almost been a perfect storm of different things affecting the demand and increasing that while we've seen incredible challenges on providing the supply, whether it's lumber supply, nail issues with some of the steel, transportation issues that we've, that everybody's been dealing with, to labor issues, and simply trying to remain staffed at a facility that's either producing or repairing pallets.
Will customers see demand change anytime soon?
From the indicators that we're seeing over the last 30 days, I don't see much of a change over the next three to six months and possibly a year to 18 months. There's a lot of factors in play that make it very challenging to predict.
How is 48forty taking on supply chain challenges?
We've continued to look for places where we can increase our available pallets and ensure that those are available to our customers. In my almost 14 years in this industry, there's never been anything like what we currently are and what we're growing into from an aspect of offering resources. The combination of Relogistics, 48 Forty and Prime 360 has also brought together a network of partner companies that we work with that is three times the size of what it was six months ago. In a lot of markets we're able to leverage that network along with our plants.
What are you watching as we move into the new year?
You know, the list could go on and on and on, but those are the key factors that I look at pretty much day in, day out. What's happening at the ports? What's happening with lumber supply? What's happening with transportation? What is government saying and taking a look at and trying to help address in this country? And, you know, finally, I take a look at the stock market and interest rates. Those are indicators to what's going on in our economy, which quite honestly affects the pallet industry, no matter what happens.