From vendor-managed inventories to tracking, three leading pallet companies explain how they have grown by providing innovative pallet management solutions.
By Rick LeBlanc
Date Posted: 7/6/2001
The future of the pallet industry is hard to predict, but there seems to be one certainty. Those that offer customers the best value will endure, and value will be measured to a certain degree by the innovative and customized services they provide.
The pallet industry is more than about simply supplying pallets, according to Darren Bronco, president of Pallet Services Inc. in Anacortes, Wash. "The companies that will succeed going forward are going to be service companies, not pallet companies," he said. "You have to get away from (just) being a pallet guy."
Pallet Services, the largest recycler in the Northwest, is one of several companies that is providing an expanding array of third-party custom services that include from vendor-managed inventory, pallet exchange mediation and retrieval, dock sweeps and more.
The key to surviving and prospering, according to Darren, is to stop thinking like a "pallet guy" and start thinking like distribution-minded customers. Offer them innovative programs that will add value to their unique logistics processes rather than a one-size-fits-all solution that may fit worse than a borrowed suit from an older brother.
"It sounds like a cliché," said Erik Bronstein, president at Premium Pallet in Philadelphia, "but the first thing you have to do is to go in and listen to your customer. Listen to what he is doing, and go home and think about how you can wrap something around what he is doing. Then you’ve got something to talk about."
Pallet recycling will undergo a fundamental change, Darren predicted. "Our whole industry in recycling at some point is going to be really progressive and transform itself from pallet people to service, and the ones who can do that will be the ones who will survive."
While the transformation is still in its infancy, some companies already are succeeding in bridging the gap between simply supplying pallets and offering pallet-related services that add an extra dimension to their businesses.
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