Precise Pallet Management | Pallet Hire

The right pallet controller can make a big difference to the cost of hire and management, and it can be a difficult position to fill.  Your pallet controller should understand the commercial impact of pallets within your supply chain and will need to be a team player who is plugged into the daily operation and is supported.

They will need excellent communication skills and should be focused, dedicated and an expert in their field. For some businesses, an inhouse pallet controller would be most beneficial, for others the expertise and stability of an outsourced third-party pallet controller is the best option. Making the right choice for your business will help you to avoid excess costs due to poor pallet control

Creating a clear pallet policy and distributing it to your customers, suppliers and 3rd party providers ensures everyone understands how you trade in pallets.  Make sure your policy fits with those of your trading parties, so there are no unwelcome surprises.   

The purpose of the policy should be to ensure fair trade and to help you avoid disputes that disrupt your commercial arrangements and relationships.

An audit serves to investigate potential pallet loss in the account and to understand how the losses occurred. 

It can help you to identify gaps in team skills and business process that have caused historical loss and help you to provide training and support, apply process improvement and implement compliance reporting.  

Pallets rely on a duplicate copy paper-based system but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leverage technology.  Both CHEP and Loscam offer free web-based docket creating software that captures the docket details in real time and if you want a single-entry and reporting point for both equipment types, Pallet Watch and 2ic Pallets are worth a look

Software can reduce human effort and error, streamline and automate your processes as well as providing up to date reports. How far you go in this space is limited only by your return on investment. 

CHEP and Loscam both need to receive notification of your transfer within specific time frames.  CHEP’s terms and conditions allow for 180 days from the movement date while Loscam is a little tighter at current month plus the two months prior.  

Despite the hire companies’ terms and conditions there are many organisations trading in pallets that specify their own timeframes.  Some as tight as 7 and 14 days!  Miss these varying windows of opportunity and you could end up paying for additional hire days and even compensation for pallets you gave away. 

You need to understand what is on your invoice and why it is there. Knowing how and why transactions relate to your operation can lead to reducing your overall invoice costs. It is important to be familiar with your invoices and know what to look out for.  At a high level this would include your on-hire balance, invoice cost and unusual trading partners, patterns or equipment.   

Suppliers have different terms for different charges, and some costs are recoverable if you take notice and action the requests in a timely manner.

A pallet account is a lot like a bank account except anyone can access it, so reconciliation is a must!  To reconcile your invoice, confirm the transfers you expect and identify any that you did not expect for further investigation.  Sometimes it is just a date, quantity or equipment type that needs to be corrected and other times you may need to reject a transfer back off your account. 

Simple invoice reconciliation is achieved when everything that happens before it is done right.  With a choice of weekly or monthly invoices, we recommend you get them weekly, so you are working as close to the movement date as possible. 

Pallet account trend monitoring is an important component of pallet management and while a pallet controller may track additional KPI’s it is important that your business understands the account variance, flow through ratio (FTR) and exception rate and how to effect positive change.

The variance tells you if you are paying for more pallets than you have in your care and the FTR is an early indicator that your variance is going to shift.  A high exception rate impacts a pallet controllers ability to report accurate numbers and tells you if you need process improvement or team training.   

Set deadlines for your weekly and monthly workflows so that the need to recover lost pallets can be seen and actioned as soon as possible.  When a pallet movement is fresh in the minds of the team who handled the pallet, and documentation is at hand, it can make the process of recovering your pallets much easier.  

Relying on archived paperwork may not yield a result especially if it is incomplete and conversations around back dated pallet hire can cause ill will.  Outcomes can also lead to process improvement between organisations, limiting your future risk. 

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