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Letter from Ed: Pallet Industry Faces a Changing World
Certainly one of the most talked about issues at the recent NWPCA meeting was the announcement that Costco has indicated it will require shipments be made on block pallets by the beginning of 2009.
By Edward C. Brindley, Jr.
Date Posted: 4/1/2008
The theme of change that ran through the recent NWPCA annual meeting is still echoing in my ears. Ask anybody in the business world and they will probably tell you that it is not as much fun as it once was to be in business. More regulations, more problems that are totally outside of your own boundaries, more details to keep up with, it seems like more of just about everything.
Certainly, I can not remember a time when there have been any more issues to cover editorially than there has been so far in 2008. Since New Years, our Pallet Profile Weekly has featured such stories as Bill Sardo’s death, the discussion of mandatory domestic pallet treatment, the shrinking number of softwood sawmills, the new nail tariff levied on nails imported from China and the United Arab Emirates, Sam’s Club RFID tagging requirement, a class action suit against CHEP by a group of recyclers, and a California agency cracking down on the underground pallet economy. All of these stories plus more appeared before the end of February.
Keeping pace with the fast changing world today, Industrial Reporting Inc., the publisher of this magazine, recently announced the new digital edition of the Pallet Enterprise. See page 16 for our coverage of this new exciting electronic product. If you provide us with your email address and permission to use it, we will be happy to send you an email message each month when the new digital Pallet Enterprise is available. You can access it by using the link off our email or go to the Pallet Enterprise Web site (www.palletenterprise.com).
The digital edition is ideal for those who have a high-speed Internet connection and want to integrate their reading and Web browsing experiences. I believe it is a revolutionary way to engage with content, and we are proud to be leading the way for the pallet industry.
Speaking of change, Chaille has written about some of the changes that are impacting the pallet industry. See his comments on page 18.
Certainly one of the most talked about issues at the recent NWPCA meeting was the announcement that Costco has indicated it will require shipments be made on block pallets by the beginning of 2009. The association is working with Costco to confirm a block pallet specification and coordinate the details surrounding this block pallet change.
Readers may recall that we have sounded the horn about a movement toward more block pallets a number of times in recent years. My warnings that more block pallets are likely to be part of our future came primarily on the assumption that at some point in the future international shipments are more and more likely to lean toward block pallets. Europe favors block pallets, CHEP favors block pallets, and the U.S. grocery industry has been making waves toward a block pallet preference. While the stringer pallet is not going to go anywhere any time soon, you will certainly see tremendous growth in the block pallet over the next few years. The big question is, “Will many of those pallets be white wood?”
Another thing that I have been preaching for a long time is that the future might be bright for companies that are successful in providing logistics and pallet management services. I never meant to imply that you cannot succeed by being an efficient pallet manufacturer or recycler. As far as I can see into my crystal ball, we will need companies to provide pallet and container products and support services for years to come. But the need for those who can efficiently manage and coordinate these services is likely to be the big growth area in the future.
By reading the Pallet Enterprise and taking advantage of our new electronic edition, you can help stay abreast of budding issues and developing solutions. Subscribers to the Pallet Profile Weekly and Recycle Record often have more details and a head start when it comes to staying informed. Those reports have become the hot news source to our industry as well as the only source for trusted market information. Subscribe today by calling 800-805-0263 and ask for Jeff McBee. He will be happy to add you to our e-news alert service too.
The world is changing very fast, and our industry has to adjust in ways that we once never even imagined. Get ready! – 2008 already looks like a year to remember.