A Tale of Three Pallets: Wooden, Metal and Plastic

In many of our articles, we have spoken of the advantages of using plastic pallets as your main packaging material. Today we will return to this topic, but with a twist. Since the winter holidays are drawing near and everyone loves hearing tales, we have prepared a meaningful one: a tale of three pallets.

Meet the Characters

The characters of our tale are, indeed, pallets: one is made of wood, one is made of metal and the last one is made of plastic. All three of them were purchased brand new by their respective owners, three merchandize distribution companies. These pallets have a similar existence: they are loaded with products, loaded in trailers and travel long distance under sun, rain and snow. They are handled in the same manner by warehouse workers and equipment and are subject to wear and tear of the same intensity.

How will each of them fare? Let us begin, however, with the cost of purchase and the promised benefits.

The metal pallet is the most expensive. The price tag is justified by its sturdy build, adequate for very heavy products and the long useful life. The metal pallet also comes with the added benefit of being hygienic, rust-free, easy to clean and adequate for food and pharmaceutical products.

The wooden pallet is the cheapest of the three products in our story. It is also known for being a standard, tried and tested product over decades. It is easy to manufacture and to repair and can be easily recycled at the end of useful life either as mulch, or by upscaling into modern furniture.

The plastic pallet is the most recent type of product among the three. It is the result of continuous research and development of modern and reliable raw materials and it can be designed in a large variety of models, by comparison to the other two types of pallets. The plastic pallet has a well balanced price/quality ratio and can be safely used in any industry, for any kind of product.

The Three Pallets Start on Their Journey

The first step in any journey of any pallet is the weighing performed by the shipping company in order to determine the tariff of the lot of products. The shipment placed on the metal pallet is the heaviest and will be more expensive than the others. Over time, the wooden pallet will absorb moisture from the atmosphere or from leaking products. Although it will not be immediately noticeable, it will get heavier and heavier over months and years.

The plastic pallet is a little heavier than the wooden one. However, it will continue to maintain its weight over time. If the shipment tariffs do not change, the company using it will continue to pay the same price every time for the same quantity of shipped products.

A Long and Difficult Trip for The Three Pallets

The journey of these pallets is not easy. Roads are not always kept in the best conditions, and the pallets are subject to shocks and vibrations. The metal pallet and the plastic pallet can sustain these shocks without any negative consequences. However, the wooden pallet will suffer a crack here and a splinter there and already no longer looks brand new.

After a cold, rainy day, the chill of night will further affect these three pallets. The metal pallet is made of stainless steel and does not suffer major consequences, but the wooden pallet, which has absorbed some rain water, may freeze, suffering more tiny cracks which compromise its overall reliability.

The plastic pallet does not suffer any visible or structural damages at all. Virgin polypropylene is impervious to weather conditions and does not absorb liquids.

The Arrival at the Client

The client who receives the products packed on metal pallets will not be fully happy with the cost of transportation, but will at least be thankful that all the products arrived safely, without damages. The recipient of products packed on wooden pallets will have to return a few damaged products and will note the less than clean and solid aspect of the packaging materials.

The client who receives the goods stacked on the plastic pallet will be satisfied by the final cost of their order, including shipping and will receive the products in good condition, without damages. The pallet looks reliable and clean and they are more than happy to receive further products packaged on it.

The Return to the Owner

The metal pallet is still in a good condition, but it has not yet attained the return on investment. The client also inquires if it is possible to reduce the shipment costs before they decide to place a further order.

The wooden pallet needs a few repairs and, no matter how well it is cleaned, it still does not look as hygienic as at the beginning. Once the repairs and cleaning are completed, the cost of ownership increases, pushing farther away the moment when ROI is fully achieved.

The plastic pallet still looks as good as new. It is quickly cleaned and sent to the warehouse to be loaded once again with products and sent to another happy client.

Our story has a happy end, like all great stories: the companies which used to ship their products on the wooden and metal pallets have now switched to plastic pallets and have improved both their logistic costs and the relationships with their customers.