A guide to pallet distribution and delivery: from what it is to how it works

Pallet distribution and delivery is the process of getting your pallets safely from point A to B. Many logistics companies will offer pallet distribution and delivery, making it essential in order to provide a successful and efficient range of courier services.

Every day, pallets are distributed up and down the country consisting of all different shapes and sizes. In today’s fast-moving market, pallet distribution and delivery provide a safe and efficient method for transporting business goods.

If you have never used pallet distribution before (or just need a refresher), our guide to pallet distribution and delivery will get you off to a good start. We cover what it is, the different types of pallets, and how it works. Let’s hit the road!

What are pallets?

A pile of pallets

First things first, what are pallets? Pallets are a flat and rigid platform that is used as a structural base for any pallet load. A pallet forms the structural foundation for a safe and solid pallet shipment. A pallet is used at the bottom of goods to act as a base and structural support for a pallet load.

A pallet is a crucial piece of structural transport equipment. Using pallets not only helps to improve the efficiency of delivery and distribution, but it also allows for the safe and secure handling and movement of goods.

Pallets can be made from a variety of different materials suiting different contents of a pallet load (more on that later). Wood pallets are the most well-known and widely used. A pallet will come with slots in the side to allow for the lifting and carrying by forklift trucks and other loading equipment.

Pallet sizes can range in shipment sizes, including the number of pallets distributed, alongside the height and size. Logistics companies will typically price pallet distribution in their network according to the weight.

What is pallet distribution and delivery?

Pallet distribution and delivery is the network and processes that get a pallet shipment from the shipping address (where the pallet is being sent from) to the shipping destination. Pallet distribution and delivery are considered one of the most common logistic methods across the globe.

Pallet distribution and delivery does not involve the preparation of shipment (that’s down to the sender). Instead, the process begins the moment a logistic company picks up a pallet load and ends once it is delivered.

The process of pallet distribution and delivery:

Depending on the service provided, you may be able to track the location of your pallet goods in the logistics network. Delivery will be made according to the chosen timeframe, such as the same day or the next day.

Some logistics companies, including Nu Vision Logistics, will find ways to offer cost-effective pallet distribution and delivery services. Distributing single pallets can be expensive. However, combining pallets from multiple customers into a single shipment provides much more efficient and cost-effective pallet distribution.

The cost of pallet distribution and delivery is determined by:

  • Location (including pickup location and delivery destination)
  • Weight (the UK standard can take a weight of up to 1,200kg)
  • Size
  • Quantity
  • Delivery timeframe (the faster the distribution and delivery, the more it will cost)

Many logistics companies will also operate warehouse storage facilities, allowing pallet shipments to be safely and securely stored until such a time that the palletised goods are required. Warehouse storage solutions, such as those from Nu Vision Logistics, range from emergency to short-term and long-term storage solutions.

Find out the benefits of using warehouse storage for your business

What can you use pallet distribution and delivery for?

Pallets come in a variety of different sizes to cater for a wide range of different items:

  • Quartet pallets are typically used for smaller items or quantities that do not exceed 250kg or 0.6m.
  • Half pallets can be used for slightly bigger items up to 1m in height or larger shipments not exceeding 500kg.
  • A full pallet is the maximum size and weight and should not exceed 1250kg or 2.2m in height.

A wide range of items is suitable to be processed through a pallet distribution network. Items such as machine parts, appliances, building materials, furniture items, job lots of boxed items or stackable goods are all great examples of pallet shipment contents.

Some items, such as liquids and chemicals will require specialist distribution. Make sure the logistics provider you choose for pallet distribution have the expertise and experience at dealing with specialist equipment.

Preparing your pallets

The preparation and packaging of a pallet are down to the sender. The logistics company do not play a role in the preparation of pallets. However, to improve the efficiency and safety of your pallets, there are some tips to consider for preparing pallets:

  • Make sure you choose the right pallet for your needs (see below). Always make sure the pallet you are using is free from any damage as it could lead to your items being damaged.
  • If using a pallet with slats, place a large sheet of wood over the pallet to prevent any items from slipping in between the slats.
  • Maximise the space and weight of your pallet. Pack heavy and bulky items first at the bottom. Large or unusual shipments should be secured with ratchet straps.
  • Keep a note of your pallet weight. It helps in providing efficient pallet distribution. Remove any old delivery labels.
  • Make sure items are safely wrapped, including fragile and perishable goods. Bubble wrap is great for keeping fragile items secure.
  • Leave your pallet in a location that is easy to access to improve the efficiency of collection. Make sure your pallet is ready for collection as well. Don’t leave packing till the last minute.
  • Ensure your pallet load does not contain any gaps that can lead to movement during transit. There shouldn’t be anything sticking out either. Slip sheets are good for securing layers on a pallet.
  • Don’t stack boxes interlaced. Always stack items on top of one another to give your pallet load extra strength. Don’t stack items in a pyramid formation either.

The different pallet types

Pallets can be made from a wide range of materials, including wood, plastic, and metal. The size and contents of a pallet will affect the type you should use. We’ll go through the different pallet types and their recommended use:

Deck board pallets

Deck board pallet

Deck board pallets are the most commonly used. Deck board pallets can be lifted from all four sides as there are slots on each side allowing for handling efficiency. While wood deck board pallets are the most commonly used, they can also be made from plastic or metal. Deck board pallets can be used for a wide range of shipments.

Solid deck pallets

Solid deck pallet

Very similar to deck board pallets, solid deck pallets have a single wood covering as opposed to the more traditional slats seen on deck board pallets. As a result, there are no gaps between the top layer of the pallet. Solid deck pallets are suited for distributing smaller items.

Stringer pallets

Stringer pallet

Very similar to deck board pallets, stringer pallets provide extra support. Not only are the slats smaller, but stringer pallets come with two boards across the top and bottom on opposite ends for extra reinforcement. While they can only be lifted from two sides, stringer pallets are more suited for heavier pallet loads.

Double face pallets

Double face pallet

Another pallet made from wood, double face pallets come with a top and bottom deck (most pallets only come with a top deck). As these pallets are much stronger and studier, they can be used for heavy-duty shipments.

Injection moulded pallets

Injection moulded pallet

These are flat pallets that typically are made from plastic. Coming in a range of different sizes and colours, injection moulded pallets are designed for transporting goods safely and hygienically. They are also ideally suited for automated palletisation.

Roto moulded pallets

Roto moulded pallet

Another pallet made from plastic, roto moulded pallets are an economical choice. Available in standard pallet sizes, roto moulded pallets are ideal for increasing the load-bearing weight as they can be reinforced using steel frames. They are suited for industries where hygiene is important.

Pallet distribution and delivery play an important role in helping to keep businesses moving forward. Choosing the right pallet is the first step to ensuring efficiency in delivering goods. Also, following the tips for preparing a pallet will help improve the efficiency and cost of pallet distribution.

Have you considered these 6 considerations for choosing the right logistics company?