As a manufacturer often shipping products to different destinations, you frequently use pallets in your business. In fact, you cannot imagine shipping products without them. But as important as pallets are to your business strategy, how much thought do you put into your pallet choice? We’ve done the thinking for you and have thought of how you can choose the right pallet for your operation.
What you ship determines everything when choosing pallets for shipping – their dimensions, material, and price among others. So before considering anything else, first look at your product. What do you intend to ship – beverages, perishable goods, pharmaceutical drugs?
After knowing what you’ll ship, now you can determine the size of the pallet to use. Most importantly, ensure it fits underneath your product, being neither too small nor too large. With that said, you’ll find the standard American 40×48 inch pallet adequate for your needs.
Despite having a standard size, pallets vary. However, you only have only two types to choose from – the stringer pallet and the block pallet. Also called the two-way pallet, the first is made from parallel stringers, rendering it unstable. As a result, you can only lift it in two directions using a jack.
In contrast, the block pallet – also called the four-way pallet – combines parallel and perpendicular stringers, making it stronger and more stable. For this reason, you can lift it in four directions, and use it for heavy products.
Regardless of their size or type, pallets come in four materials – paper, plastic, wood, and metal. As you’d expect, the first three are the cheapest, lightest, and most common. And while you dispose of paper pallets, you reuse the ones made from wood and plastic. Best reserved for only heavy-duty use, the heavier aluminium or steel pallets are also reusable.
5. Frequency of Use
How you choose the pallet size, type, and material depends on how frequently you use the pallet. For one-time shipments, a pallet’s durability matters little unless you’re shipping a heavy product. In this case, paper or plastic pallets suffice. But for repeated shipments of similar goods, use durable and reusable wooden or metallic pallets, depending on the product.
6. Shipping Destination
The destination to which you’re shipping also determines the pallet you use, especially its material. If you ship within your home country, a standard wooden pallet suffices. But to ship abroad, use only pallets made from heat-treated, certified, and stamped wood.
Finally, there’s the pallet price to consider. Obviously, the more durable heat-treated wooden pallets and metallic pallets cost more. However, your final choice also depends on your budget. If you’re on a shoestring budget, go for used or reconditioned pallets, regardless of your pallet needs.
When choosing the right pallet, first consider your product. With that in mind, pick a pallet size fitting your product. Also consider the pallet type for it affects storage, handling, and weight of the products you can ship in it.