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Half Pallets: What Does this Growing Trend Mean for Retail?

14 Nov 2015

The growth during the past few years of the logistics and distribution sector has, of course, been accompanied by an increased global use of plastic and wooden pallets. A recent survey among qualified market participants indicated a high degree of optimism that this expansion would continue in the medium and long term, although there was concern that rising costs could inhibit the industry’s development. “No single factor consistently influences supply chain decisions as much as cost reduction,” concluded the report, adding that “Certainly pallets are no exception to this imperative.” This factor has been central to ongoing attempts to alter the design of pallets for optimal time-saving and cost-effectiveness. While half pallets are not a new innovation, their commercial benefits have created a significant rise in their use throughout Europe and the United States.

What Are the Benefits of Half Pallets?

There will clearly always be situations in the supply chain when standard plastic or wooden pallets are the proper units, but commerce is evolving and users have pointed out numerous advantages of using the smaller half pallets. For businesses, perhaps the most important of these are:

– The transportation of loads which are smaller, in terms both of quantities being shipped and the size of the actual products. This is a clear boon for many organisations – especially those tasked with distributing goods directly to consumers or where fast-moving or perishable consumer goods are involved.

– Half pallets can be moved through narrower doors, making them ideally suited to accommodate delivery through a retail loading bay door or even the door of consumer premises.

– A greater variety of stock can be shown in warehouses or retail outlets which use half pallets as a base for displaying their inventory. This application of a half pallet can lead to a notable cost saving, since it eliminates the need for large amounts of extra packaging or storage apparatus.

– They are lighter, smaller and easier to move, meaning that stock in a grocery outlet where product turnaround needs to be fast, for example, can be replenished quickly and efficiently. Health and safety experts point out that the size and weight of the half pallet can provide another advantage: they may reduce the risk of injury to personnel and to customers.

– They are uniquely suited to point-of-purchase displays. Statistics suggest that the latter accounts for a major proportion – possibly as great as fifty per cent – of retail sales, so anything which can facilitate its easy deployment is to be welcomed.

Is This Trend Likely to Continue?

Commentators say that they can’t predict with any real certainty “the movement of the sales needle” in the short term because such extrinsic factors as the economy or new consumer trends can intervene. They are satisfied, however, that the use of half pallets is on an upward trajectory which will gather momentum as increasingly efficient designs are created. Work in this direction, they say, is continuing apace, with such experts as Mike Miller in the US just recently having introduced a creative modification which will dramatically improve performance and reduce cost. Against this backdrop, it is worth keeping a keen eye on the role of the half pallet.

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