What is the single most important thing in the global economy? The Nelson Company’s answer is the
But don’t just take our word for it. Last year, Tom Vanderbilt wrote an article for Slate.com titled “The Single Most Important Object in the Global Economy, The pallet.” Mr. Vanderbilt’s article is a great explanation of the importance of the pallet.
So why do we at Nelson like this article? Let's ask our team!
Which line of the article is the most important to you and why?
“The pallet is one of those things that, once you start to look for it, you see everywhere: Clustered in stacks near freight depots and distribution centers (where they are targets for theft), holding pyramids of Coke in an “endcap display” at your local big-box retailer, providing gritty atmosphere in movies, forming the dramatic stage-setting for wartime boondoggles (news accounts of the Iraqi scandal seemed obsessed with the fact the money was delivered on pallets, as if to underscore the sheer mass of the currency), being broken up for a beach bonfire somewhere, even repurposed into innovative modern architecture.”
When describing my job to people I often need to tell them what a pallet is. Most people know pallets from floor displays or as those wooden things leaning against dumpsters. As a former actor, I especially like seeing pallets in movies or on TV. If you see a pallet on the screen it invariably means trouble. It is amusing that something so simple and ubiquitous as the pallet can so effectively set a visual tone.
David Caltrider, President
“Of course, nothing in supply chains is so simple: To be effectively used in containers, pallets would have to become thinner — “you want to max the cube,” White says, i.e., fill the container’s volume with as much product as possible, and current pallets would take up valuable space. But creating thinner pallets, he says, would require changes down the line in the way companies store products. Warehouse rack storage, he says, would have to be retrofit to accommodate the newer designs.”
I am drawn to this concept of thinking about overall cost vs. pallet price. Supply chain costs usually are much greater than pallet prices. If you are able to understand overall costs, you might invest in a different pallet (like the lower profile mentioned for this application) that significantly reduces overall supply chain costs, not to mention being greener for the environment by using less material, less fuel, etc.
John Clarke, Technical Director
“Some 80 percent of all US commerce is carried on pallets”.
To me, this sentence screams that a pallet is NOT just a pallet. The design, size and shape of a pallet greatly affect all of us in the food we eat, the cars we drive and the homes we live in. Bad pallets cost all of us a lot of money, unfortunately, we have no idea that they do. BETTER PALLETS for a BETTER WORLD!
Rich Reiher, Vice President
“The pallet, that humble construction of wood joists and planks (or, less typically, plastic or metal ones) upon which most every object in the world, at some time or another, is carried.”
This line points out how important and far reaching our product is and the vast opportunities for us to help prospective customers and expand our business.
Pete Caltrider, Chairman of the Board
“The second factor in the rise of the pallet was World War II. Logistics—the “Big ‘L’,” as one history puts it—is the secret story behind any successful military campaign, and pallets played a large role in the extraordinary supply efforts in the world’s first truly global war.”
Being a fan of history and the “chain of events”, I liked the part about pallets being an offshoot of WWII. Although there hasn’t been a major movement or event that has triggered growth, we are witnessing the advent of a new generation of plastic pallet uses - thanks to new nestable lightweight, economical designs. It will be very interesting to see this demographic in 20 years’ time.
Mike Cunneen, Director of Sales and Marketing
We want to know what you think. Do you agree that the pallet is the single most important thing in the global economy? Let us know why or why not by commenting below.
Post by: Kaitlin Manning, Creative Director
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