Supply Chain

Supply Chain Technology: Innovation in Pallet Operations

Just as the wants and needs of customers are constantly evolving, technology in the supply chain arena continually advances in search of solutions capable of satisfying them. Now, supply chains operate more rapidly and on a larger scale than ever before, particularly with the increasingly prevailing notion that customer orders need be fulfilled within days if not hours of placing. Technology has always been an attractive and promising option for optimization, to expedite processes and save money while doing so. As with any new method or product, however, many supply chain technologies have come and gone with little to no benefit added to the user; for example, radio-frequency identification or RFID tags, which were intended to track items from manufacturer to customer, were ultimately found to be too cost prohibitive to have any real benefit. For companies, this muddies the waters when looking to invest in advanced systems. Prime360 offers the services of and support for technologies proven to create tangible benefits for companies looking to increase efficiency, promote safety, improve sustainability, and more, backed with the expertise to ensure seamless integration with existing practices and structures.

Real-time Visibility, Technology for Transparency

Transparency in the supply chain is one of the key ingredients to a maximally efficient operation. A supply chain necessarily consists of multiple points of contact, between distribution centers, outsourced partners, stores, and more. As pallets move through each point, unexpected delays at any step can have serious consequences for those later on, potentially resulting in fees and lost time. Real-time Visibility Platforms (RTTVPs) offer one method of keeping these delays and their impacts to a minimum, allowing access to a wealth of information that ensures that every party participating in the supply chain is kept in the loop and functioning in synch. RTTVPs, like

Prime360’s own PrimeVision, compiles minute-by-minute data on the location of pallets, inventory, delivery progress and counts, and more, making it available to customers in one easy to use interface.

With 50% of global enterprises projected to adopt one of these systems by 2023, they are among the latest and greatest in supply chain technologies, opening opportunities for increased efficiency and cost savings in numerous arenas. Equipped with accurate and up-to-date information, estimated time of arrival (ETA) can be more accurately calculated, reducing costs related to dwell and detention while mitigating late delivery fees. This also allows for better management of labor, as workers need not stand around and wait for incoming deliveries nor spend additional time calling after shipments. Further, expedited and automated reporting within RTTVPs reduce time spent on tedious documentation. These benefits and others offered by services like PrimeVision produce measurable results, all of which are evaluated, recorded, and made viewable within the program itself. With the further boom of eCommerce caused by COVID-19, these systems have become indispensable tools to creating and maintaining a well-oiled supply chain machine.

Custom Pallet Solutions

Pallet requirements can vary greatly from company to company depending on the product they will be used to transport. Some may need to carry larger loads than the standard, withstand more extreme temperatures, or have special coatings to meet particular standards.

Where this is the case, the Pallet Design System™ (PDS) is called into action to design, engineer, and test pallets that meet the exact, specific requirements needed to safety transport any product.

Offered complementarily by Prime360 to our customers, PDS utilizes the latest research and technology coming out of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association to guide users through every step of creating pallets uniquely suited to their individual products, from understanding what adaptations must be made to comparing specification options to determine what works best.

The custom pallet solutions system moves past more obvious requirements like structural and physical properties so accommodate even the most specialized of aspects, such as special manufacturing features that make a pallet better suited to one packaging method or another. Wood, the most versatile of pallet materials, in itself has many features to consider when creating a pallet, including species and grade which may dictate things like load carrying capacity and durability. Our experts provide complementary PDS not only helps customers navigate these requirements and design their ideal pallets but provide them with necessary information to best and safely operate with and care for them.

Automation and the Role of Pallets

One place in which pallet design becomes particularly relevant is when implementing automated systems. Automation is becoming more and more commonplace each day as the technology continues to improve and advance, with interest in non-human and/or robotic labor reaching all-time highs in the wake of COVID-19 and infection prevention measures. At Prime360, we go to great lengths to assist our customers’ endeavors to implement automation in their distribution centers and elsewhere. While one may think that pallets and their design are of little consequence in this process, the fact is that pallets have the potential to make or break an automated tool or process, in some cases quite literally.

In one study surveying automated systems users, it was found that a large majority faces pallet-related issues, with 53% reporting jams or faults in their systems on a daily or weekly basis as a result of low quality or broken bottom boards.

Meanwhile, other leading pallet quality issues such as missing or incorrectly placed bottom boards present significant challenges when running automated systems.

More simply put, paying close attention to the type and quality of pallets intended to be used with devices such as automated forklifts and pallet jacks can save significant amounts of time, money, and labor by preventing such complications before they occur. Utilizing a PDS is one way this can be done, allowing for modifications to be made that accommodate the exact automated tool or process in which the pallet will be used, whether they be special design qualities or simply reinforcing particular parts. Often, however, simply establishing and ensuring that high quality pallets are being used, as is done as part of our TPM service, is enough to remedy most automation-related issues.

Technology has always been the driving force for advancement, not only in logistics, but in every aspect of society. Today, novel technologies are being released on a constant basis, each attached to promising statements of how they will solve problems and make improvements in the supply chain. Yet, determining which will produce tangible ROI and effectively integrating them into a company’s established operations can be a daunting task. At Prime360, our customers are given access to technologies with results proven by respected industry establishments. Our custom pallet solutions, as well as our Total Pallet Management Service have provided our customers with the efficiency gains and ROI that they seek. Moreover, our experts provide the support needed to ensure that the supply chain and the pallets within it are prepared for seamless integration with leading innovations like automation and robotics. As your business grows and advances, we make certain that your supply chain will keep pace.

Let us help you optimize your operations with the latest in supply chain technologies today!

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