Here are 5 specific ways to manage and possibly reduce the cost of shipping empty pallets.
- Use Nestable Pallets
When it comes to shipping plastic pallets, the term “Nestable” = “Savings”. Pallets are labeled nestable when the legs or blocks are able to “nest” inside each other. Using nestable plastic pallets, you can fit 50 or more pallets per stack or “skid spot” when shipping empty pallets. If a nestable plastic pallet is not an option because bottom runners are needed, ship the pallets unassembled and then assemble them at your plant. Generally speaking you can fit about 800 unassembled pallets on a truck vs 540 assembled. The more pallets per load, the less shipping cost per pallet.
- Maximize your Stacks
This may seem obvious, but you would be amazed at how many companies waste money by ordering a set amount of pallets without giving consideration to how many fit into a stack. For example, a purchase order comes in for 100 stackable, plastic pallets. Most of our designs fit about 18 pallets per stack. 100/18= 5.5 stacks. You are already paying full price for the space holding the half stack, so why not maximize the height? They should have ordered 108 to make 6 full stacks, 18 pallets high. Every little bit helps.
- Invert the Stacks
If purchasing a 3-runner style pallet, don’t just stack empty ones on top of the other. Invert them so you can get more in each column. Using the 18 pallets per stack example, if the pallets are 3-runner and you invert them, you can get 25-28 pallets per stack depending on the actual height of the pallet design. That’s almost 10 more pallets per pallet spot on the truck… $$$.
- Push Pallets all the Way Back
Make sure the pallets get shoved all the way into the truck. Many times we see space at the end of the truck when we first open the door. Usually, it’s just short of a pallet space so the assumption is that they left the last two columns off the truck because they couldn’t fit. If the person loading the truck had pushed each individual stack all the way back, they would have been able to fit the last two stacks on the back. It may be worth a reminder to your truck loaders.
- Shop, Shop, Shop
Finally, make sure you are staying current on your freight estimates. Without giving up quality of service, you should always have a few options on how you can move your freight. Not every carrier has the same prices for the same lanes, so it’s good to check around every now and then. Most companies, including the Nelson Company, develop strong relationships with specific carriers who keep an eye on better lanes. This can be effective when looking to save money.
Do you use other methods to help get the most out of your truckload? Share your tips by commenting below.
Post by: Mike Cunneen, Director of Sales and Marketing