PALLETS: FRONT AND CENTER
iGPS pallets are 100% recyclable. When a pallet reaches the end of its useful life, iGPS regrinds it and makes a new one. The company recycled more than 32 million pounds of plastic into pallets in 2021. The result is an infinite life cycle loop—“cradle to cradle,” Pepperworth says—that keeps waste to a minimum.
A COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY
The company’s commitment to sustainability aligns with the
growing emphasis on environmental responsibility in the supply chain field. “We see tremendous engagement from our customers right now,” Pepperworth says. Customers also appreciate that iGPS plastic pallets are lighter than their wood-block counterparts. “That not only makes our pallets safer and easier for workers to manage, but they’re also lighter when being shipped,” Pepperworth says. “Each pallet also is encoded with RFID chips that can be scanned throughout their journey,” he adds. “That not only gives us visibility to the pallets, but it also gives our customers visibility into their supply chains.” In addition, because iGPS pallets are lighter than wood-block pallets, trucks loaded with them carry less weight on the road—leading to lower fuel needs. The company estimates the use of its pallets kept approximately 28 million pounds of greenhouse emissions out of the atmosphere last year. The ongoing shift to automation has made the uniformity of iGPS’s plastic pallets a particularly appealing asset. “Our pallets are very consistent and uniform,” Pepperworth says. “They don’t swell up, they don’t absorb moisture, and they don’t have any kind of nails or splinters. They flow through automation equipment easily and that is becoming a big topic right now as more operations move to automation.” A central component of iGPS’s offerings is its iDepot model. Retail stores that receive pallets and become
iGPS Logistics recycled more than 32 million pounds of plastic into pallets in 2021. In addition, because iGPS pallets are lighter than wood-block pallets, trucks loaded with them carry less weight on the road—leading to lower fuel needs.
iDepots sort and inspect iGPS pallets and have them ready for shipment to the next user, which streamlines logistics. EFFICIENCY AND OPTIMIZATION Introduced in 2008, iDepots have led to new levels of efficiency and optimization within the supply chain for participants, leading to lower costs and reduced deadhead miles, Pepperworth says. “We shortened the work-in-process timeline and that became a tremendous benefit, not only to retailers getting product faster but also to manufacturers having pallets sent directly back to them so they could utilize them in their system,” he says. “It eliminates a transportation leg in the journey of a pallet, creating an efficient closed- loop ecosystem.” Today, the iDepot retail network is stronger than ever. “As we see surges in the marketplace, or in demand, we can partner with those retailers to essentially become a node of the network,” Pepperworth says. “We’ve grown to well over 200 participating retail locations nationwide, and it has become an effective model for the entire pallet industry.”
ORBIS: REUSABLE PLASTIC PALLETS FOR EVERY STEP IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN As businesses increasingly embrace sustainability and search for efficiencies and cost savings throughout their supply chain, more shippers are turning to reusable plastic pallets to protect their products, says Michael Del Vecchio, product manager at ORBIS. Reusable plastic pallets, which can be recycled and reprocessed into new packaging solutions at the end of their usefulness, are sustainable, efficient, and durable, and have high weight capacities and a long service life. “The durability of reusable plastic pallets allows them to make many trips through the supply chain before being recycled, representing great savings over wood pallets on a cost-per-trip basis,” Del Vecchio says. “Eliminating corrugated packaging and wood pallets also reduces waste.” ORBIS’s reusable plastic pallets are particularly versatile, protecting products during production, assembly, processing, storage, and distribution for a wide variety of industries, including those that need their pallets to meet strict requirements.
78 Inbound Logistics • May 2022
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