The Five Things Retail Pallet Customers Want in a Custom Solution

The majority of 48forty retail customers have custom pallet management solutions designed to fit their needs. See how we do it.

Each year, 48forty processes 90 million pallets for more than 2,700 customers across the United States and Canada. With that kind of volume, you’d expect us to offer standard pallet management solutions. Here’s what’s interesting. The majority of 48forty customers, and in particular the regional and national retail customers, have custom pallet management solutions personalized to fit their individual needs and support their businesses.

That’s because we recognize there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all relationship in retail. Large discount retailers, their shoppers, merchandise mix, distribution centers and supply chains, are very different from those of a smaller specialty retailer. How each wants their pallets handled differs greatly as well. Thus custom is the name of our game.

[The right supplier is based on your needs and how well the supplier's capabilities align. Get the full guide on how to select the right supplier here.]

A major component of our custom pallet management solutions for retailers is an onsite pallet management program. While these solutions typically include pallet sorting and repair, they’re designed to meet individual customer needs. For one top five national retailer, we provide a total pallet management solution; we sort used pallets to specifications, repair damaged pallets, process and ship pooled pallets, manage pallet inventories, sell excess pallets, and handle all wood debris. Another large retailer simply has us sort pallets and return all reusable spec pallets to them, reducing their overall pallet spend. The key is delivering the five things retail customers want from their custom solution:

1) Deliver value.

value48forty adds value by applying our expertise to streamline processes, extend the lifecycle of pallets through appropriate repairs, provide accurate documentation of sorted cores, and offer favorable financial models that include pay for services, hourly rates or core offsets in which services are provided in exchange for cores.

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2) Make life easier.

transparencyRetailers want to focus on what they do best, which is the retail business. We make retail customers’ lives easier by taking things off their plates. Because pallets are our business, we know how to optimize efficiency in retrieving, sorting and repairing pallets. But we offer other time and resource-saving services as well. Many retail customers consider handling recyclables a headache. 48forty gladly manages recyclables like corrugated, shrink wrap, scrap wood, and other packaging, handling consolidating, sorting, bailing, and disposal. We also consolidate and return pooled pallets. Custom solutions are all about making life easier.

[It's important to have a clear understanding of your pallet needs. Get the full guide on how to improve your pallet performance here.]

3) Be transparent.

transparencyWhen we work onsite with a customer, there has to be transparency between the two companies. This includes trust in the 48forty employees who work at the customer’s distribution center. As a national company, 48forty has strict hiring practices that include thorough screening and verification of our employees. Those we hire undergo best practices-based training that includes not only the knowledge to sort, repair and account for pallets, but also safety practices. When a retailer hires 48forty the company, you get 48forty employees, not contractors. The same team members you trust to get the job done come to work everyday.

Make The Switch cover[Do you know how much pallets affect your overall product costs?  See how making the switch to recycled pallets can give your business a competitive edge here.] 

4) Be proactive.

supply chain optimizationConsumers want their favorite retailers to be the experts. A pet store, for example, sells pet food, treats, collars and leads, but they also offer training and feeding expertise. Likewise, 48forty’s customers look to us as their pallet experts. As part of our custom retail solutions, we suggest ways to optimize a customer’s pallet use and supply chain. We recently worked with a customer on a vendor compliance project that involved auditing pallets as they came into the distribution center with product. The purpose was to determine if suppliers were in compliance with the retailer’s pallet specifications, and performing as needed. These kind of proactive services can prevent issues of product damage, lost productivity, and additional expense to replace off-spec pallets.

[Vetting potential pallet suppliers? Conduct site visits before you make the final decision. Here's what to look for.]

5) Provide a digital “paper trail.”

pallet-protectionPallet companies of the past relied on paper. 48forty has replaced paper with digital record keeping. Every pallet management solution, custom or otherwise, includes a comprehensive digital paper trail through our online customer portal, PalTrax. We track every pallet we sort, grade, repair, return to service, sell, or remove from a customer’s supply chain. We track by date, time, trailer load, location, pallet spec and quantity—virtually any metric a customer wants. This data is available to customers on demand as standard reports or we’ll even provide deeper-dive analysis. Everything related to customers’ pallet supply chains, associated costs and/or income is documented, transparent and available.

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Frank-Novotny-48fortyAs Director of Retail Services at 48forty, Frank focuses on maximizing value for customer onsite operations. His experience includes 10 years in the logistics industry, and prior to joining 48forty, 25 years in retail management. Frank holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Northern Colorado.