Litco News

Making the Case for Small Pallets
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The 48” x 40” has long been one of the most popular pallet sizes for a wide range of applications.  Recent MMH Pallet Surveys have suggested that while the 48” x 40” still remains king, times are changing and while there is no clear consensus on a replacement for the 48 x 40, there is growing interest in smaller pallets.  Rick LeBlanc’s recent story in Pallet Enterprise explores the rising popularity of smaller pallets and looks forward to a world where bigger is not always better.

Larger pallets such as the 48” x 40” have been traditionally favored for efficiency reasons.  Simply put, a larger platform moves more goods.  Assuming adequate storage space, wide loading docks and doors, and the proper forklift capabilities, a larger pallet CAN be a more efficient pallet.  With this said, there are applications where a smaller pallet is actually the better play.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Shipping smaller quantities and small sizes of products
  • Moving pallets through smaller doors—consider the difference between a loading dock door at the average DC versus the smaller doors found in retail establishments
  • Left over partial pallet positions on full trailers
  • Warehouse and retail situations requiring more product facings in the same length of aisle
  • Supply chains looking to eliminate case picking may palletize smaller loads on smaller pallets
  • Point of Purchase Displays

This last point, promotion and POP displays, has huge potential to move the smaller pallet sales needle.  CHEP’s recent Strategic Leadership Forum, which drew on the brain power of key customers in the manufacturing and retail space, found that POP displays may drive up to 50% of retail sales.  This is a huge number, but what does it mean to pallet manufacturers?

Much of the available data suggests the POP pallet market is still highly fragmented.  LeBlanc notes that it is common to see quarter and half pallets, but there is no consensus on the best footprint.  The 48” x 20” work well for end aisle applications and 24”x40” are better suited for aisle displays.  The 24”x40”pallets can also move through the supply chain without a 48” x40” base pallet below.  As for material, white wood, corrugated, plastic, and presswood are all viable for POP displays, depending on the application.

In European markets, half pallets are gaining traction for the shipment of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (high volume, low margin non-durable goods such as soft drinks, toiletries, and grocery items).  LeBlanc cites a conversation with a European pooling executive explaining approximately 50% of FMCG pallets used in France are half size pallets, with about 80% of those taking the form of rental units. Half pallets occupy about a 20% share of the FMCG space in Spain and Portugal.

Although none of us here at Litco International can point to a crystal ball clearly showing where the smaller pallet market is headed, thanks to our significant investment in production capacity tooling, we are poised to take full advantage of changes in the pallet landscape thanks to our 24” x 20 and 24” x 40” presswood pallets.  In addition to these sizes, we offer the traditional 48”x40” as well as a number of  alternative sizes that may be better suited for your package requirements. All of which can be purchased online at www.litco.com

To learn more about small pallets, or a free Topps analysis to find if you are using the most efficient pallet size for your application and mode of shipping, contact one of our product specialists at Litco International.

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