Most companies that use transport in some form or shape also plan carefully what the overall cost of the final product will be, and whenever possible cut costs in order to reach that unique price that will make their clients happy. When going into more details the supply chain becomes complex and the price to pay for it will depend on two things: a) type of client involved and b) type of products needed to be transported to their final destination. Let’s examine a bit how the correlation works.

Supplying building products will involve a very precise delivery time as the whole timetable is planned way ahead in detail and the supply of materials needs to follow very strict procedures. When the products are goods purchased in a supermarket, the delivery time and the volume of goods supplied needs to be carefully considered in order to determine the cost. Home delivery will similarly follow the ‘destiny’ of the mentioned scenario with supermarkets, the reason being that the volume of products can often be low and at delivery the client is often absent which immediately rises the final cost of the supply.

By careful investigation some areas are identified as ‘a space to work with’ in order to lower the cost of supply/delivery:

  • Customer service – importance being to identify what the client really wants/needs;
  • Creating a Supply chain strategy that will be the driving force for the whole activity;
  • Supply chain network design – as this is a complex system, a detailed and planned network is important to create at the very start;
  • Outsourcing – cooperation with reliable subcontractors is often the best solution;
  • Asset utilization – the frequency of using one’s assets will be a sure way to lower the costs;
  • Performance Measurement – this will enable certain improvements where necessary and lead to benefits in the future.

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An important element in supplying goods that has not been mentioned so far is the use of Pallets in transportation. In the above mentioned supply chain pallets are indispensable and the idea of ‘cost-cutting’ can be affected by what kind of pallets have been used while transporting goods. The cost of pallets is determined by the initial purchase of pallets, their maintenance, replacement when they are damaged, and the transportation of the pallets. Traditionally the pallets have been made out of timber but the cheaper and better product is a pallet made of plastic. Lately companies that seriously plan their savings, specially ones based in Sydney, use plastic pallets and further more so-called ‘pallet pooling’ will bring even more savings. Rather than maintaining pallets, hiring them from another company/supplier will create some savings. Using plastic pallets is also safer as nails can do the ‘damage’ in handling them. The plastic pallets are also a more environmentally friendly option and lots of businesses will take this into consideration.

It is rather important to concentrate a bit on this aspect of the environmental issue when using packaging in supply and transport. Timber solution proved to be lot less enduring than the plastic and there are some very efficient and sturdy plastic products on the market that are 100% recyclable so when the pallets are ready to ‘retire’ the companies that recycle them will be happy to accept them.

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The plastic products (pallets and other packaging) are more ergonomic, and that is the next matter to take into consideration. In real terms the lifting will be easier and safer in various spots where the goods are handled. With the pallets the plastic ones will be more consistent in sizing, there are no dangerous nails, and the whole environment will be cleaner simply because there are no wooden remains like with the timber version. Large companies and world most famous Businesses are switching to plastic pallets constantly.

There is even a market for re-used plastic pallets out there. It might sound a bit drastic to purchase the ones already used in other places but when the topic is yet again cost-cutting this solution might not be so ‘out of the question’. The plastic is more enduring and storing items is easier. A good example to outline their durability is to mention the sun and the rain damage, and in this particular aspect plastic pallets ‘perform’ so much better than the timber ones.

In summary to all that has been mentioned it is clear that transport/supply of the goods is becoming more complex in recent years and it is easy to imagine it going in that direction further. The trend of plastic packaging versus timber (that includes items like plastic pallets) is even more evident for all the reason stated. Cost of the entire supply business is determining ‘how’ and ‘where’ to go with transport, though the environmental issue of using plastic is really the ‘frame’ future supply industry will need to develop within.

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Posted by Oscar Waterworth