Inbound Logistics | May 2022


the pallets, however, the high costs are understandable in the current climate—and the pressing need makes them more likely to pay without pause. “This is the first time since I’ve been in the industry that companies are accepting the increases in pallet costs the way that they are,” says Bryon Robbins, chief operating officer of Plastic Pallet Pros. Although pallets remain relatively low-tech, they increasingly play a role in supply chain connectivity by being equipped with RFID tags, barcodes, and other technologies. The addition of these smart technologies gives pallets a larger role to play in the widespread push to end-to-end visibility of shipments. NEW NORMAL FOR PALLETS The concept of a new normal that permeates so much of business and life extends to the pallet industry. For instance, growing emphasis on

environmental responsibility across industries means companies expect their pallet companies to play an active role in improving the sustainability of their supply chain. “There’s a big trend away from the send-it-and-forget-it mentality and more toward determining how to get the maximum use and life out of this product,” says Sam Dunham, director of operations, Plastic Pallet Pros. “That is a more sustainable option.” In addition, the widespread labor shortage that has affected every corner of the supply chain has led to increased adoption of automation in manufacturer facilities and distribution centers that appears likely to continue to grow. For automation to work in that environment, pallets must be reliable and consistent for the robotic tools that handle them. “We’re in a dynamic phase of explosion in automation,” Pepperworth says. “The pandemic has shown us that the necessity

of workers and laborers can be a challenge, and that has forced a lot of companies to move to automating their environments.” In light of that changing environment, here are some standout players in the pallet industry that are leading the field in meeting the supply chain’s complex, evolving challenges. iGPS EMBRACES ITS PROMINENT PLACE AS AN INDUSTRY LEADER IN SUSTAINABILITY For iGPS Logistics, sustainability is far from anything new. The Florida- based company, which provides plastic pallet pooling solutions throughout the United States, has long placed a distinctive emphasis on environmental responsibility, ensuring that it is ingrained into the organization’s culture. “Sustainability has been a part of our mission and business model since the beginning,” says Jeff Pepperworth, president and CEO.


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76 Inbound Logistics • May 2022


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