Inbound Logistics | May 2023


With rising prices for wood and labor, wood pallets aren’t always a low-cost option. Some wood pallet builders have shaved fractions of an inch off of deck and stringer dimensions, so they may not be as durable as in the past. “When some pallet builders cut corners, the quality diminished over the years,” Dunham says. “The quality shift along with environmental and sustainability concerns have pushed plastic to the forefront.” With roots in both sides of the pallet industry, Plastic Pallet Pros can provide experienced insight as shippers consider their options. “We use our knowledge and expertise to help customers nd the right solution and understand how to implement it, looking at the processes to help them transition successfully,” Dunham says. ORBIS POSITIONS PLASTIC PALLETS FOR SUSTAINABILITY As companies embrace sustainability in all aspects of the supply chain, companies seek solutions from ORBIS Corporation for reusable packaging, including bulk containers, pallets, handheld totes, carts, racks, dunnage, and custom solutions. Some companies are switching from wood pallets to plastic pallets to reduce waste, improve supply chain efciency, and lower overall costs, says Alison Zitzke, senior product manager of pallets at ORBIS Corporation. “Customers care more about buying from companies with sustainable goals, such as reducing their carbon footprint and manufacturing or packaging waste,” Zitzke says. “This trend has encouraged companies to seriously investigate plastic pallets and other reusable solutions as replacements for their expendable packaging.” All of ORBIS’ plastic pallets are fully recyclable at the end of their service life, and many of them, such as the Odyssey pallet, are made from 100% recycled materials. Customers are getting in on the recycling efforts as well. “We have several customers who are requesting to repurpose their internal

ORBIS Corporation provides reusable packaging solutions, from pallets to handheld totes and custom solutions. ORBIS plastic pallets are available in various materials and include features such as X-ray compatibility, FDA compliance, and FM approval.

plastic scrap into their plastic pallets to achieve sustainability initiatives,” Zitzke says. ORBIS plastic pallets are available in various materials and include features such as X-ray compatibility, metal detection, FDA-compliant, FM-approved, UL-approved, ocean- bound plastic, and more. Companies can outsource their pallet operations to ORBIS’ pallet management services to improve asset efciency and reduce loss. ORBIS’ RPM service handles inbound and outbound pallet movements, signicantly reducing the time and effort needed to track, retrieve, clean, and inventory them. MANAGED PALLET SERVICE PROVIDES RELIABILITY With a managed pallet service, shippers can eliminate premium freight spending associated with packaging stockouts, maximize return truck utilization, and ensure packaging availability across the supply chain. In addition, a management service provides visibility into areas of the supply chain where packaging is damaged or lost. This visibility allows companies to address these issues to extend the lifetime of an asset and reduce replacement costs.

As supply chains become more automated, plastic pallets are able to interact with technology in the

warehouse. Track-and-trace technology can pinpoint the location of a pallet and the goods it carries to improve supply chain efciency. Because plastic pallets are dimensionally stable, they work well with warehouse automation systems. The growth in automation helps companies overcome labor shortages and streamline their operations. “As companies look for innovative ways to increase efciency and reduce costs, plastic pallets are a part of the solution,” Zitzke says. ORBIS pallet designs, such as the 40-inch x 48-inch Odyssey, can be customized with optional steel reinforcements and molded-in frictional elements to help improve load handling. For many users, load stability can be a factor. These frictional elements ease the transition from wood to plastic pallets by helping with load stability and minimizing pallet slippage off fork equipment. While plastic pallets have been widely used in automotive, consumer goods, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals, other industries are adopting these

80 Inbound Logistics • May 2023

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