The problems and challenges in the pallet distribution process

There are many problems and challenges in the pallet distribution and delivery process. While some may be minor, others can prevent delivery. To ensure the safe and reliable delivery of your palletised goods, here are the problems and challenges to be aware of.

Check out our guide on pallet distribution and delivery

Poorly stacked pallets

How a pallet is stacked and packaged is one of the biggest problems faced in the pallet distribution process. Often, people will incorrectly stack a pallet, such as in a pyramid, or attempt to overstack a pallet to save money.

To prevent possible damage to goods, a pallet should always be properly stacked. This includes ensuring there are no gaps present between items and nothing is sticking out from the edges. Boxes should also be stacked on top of one another and not interlocked.

You should also keep to the weight guidelines for pallets. Pallet distribution companies will have certain weight limits that affect the distribution and the price of the service. These weight limits are set to prevent unnecessary damage and help maximise vehicle space.

Overweighing a pallet can cause the pallet base to bow, bend, buckle, or break. Of course, when the pallet base becomes unstable, the whole load could fall over. Again, this creates a health and safety risk and could lead to an injury.

Stacking items on the wrong pallet

For those stacking pallets, you may be unaware that there are different pallets for different items. Someone oblivious to this may use any old pallet when preparing their shipments not realising the risk it can cause.

The weight a pallet can safely hold will depend on the grades. These grades are the UK standard and should be followed when preparing pallet shipments. The grades are as follows:

  • Grade 1 – a weight of up to 1,000kg
  • Grade 2 – a weight of up to 750kg
  • Grade 3 – a weight of 500kg or less

For the safe distribution of pallets, the weight should not exceed the grade of the pallet. You should take into consideration the weight of your shipment when choosing the correct pallet to minimise potential damage or health and safety risks.

Using damaged or worn pallets

Another problem faced in the pallet distribution process is the use of damaged or worn pallets. Those using second-hand pallets will be most susceptible to this problem, although it can still happen with new pallets too.

In extreme cases, using a pallet that is damaged or worn could result in the whole pallet collapsing. Not only will this cause damage to your goods and unnecessary costs, but it can also result in injury during distribution.

To avoid such problems from happening, it is always best to check the quality of a pallet before usage. Check If a pallet shows any signs of wear, dampness, or breakage. If a pallet does signs of any degrading or damage, it is always best to use an alternative pallet.

Reusing or correctly disposing of pallets

What happens once you’ve had a pallet load delivered and you are left with empty pallet racks? If they are still in good condition, you could reuse them for future pallet loads. If you won’t need them again, how do you correctly dispose of pallets?

No hauliers want to be left with a pile of pallets. For one, they don’t have the room to keep them. Secondly, carting a lorry full of empty pallets is wasted money. Leaving a haulage company to dispose of pallets costs them money to dispose of correctly.

If a pallet has not been treated or painted, it could be broken up to use as firewood. All the nails will need to be removed first though. Pallets that have been treated with chemicals or painted will need to be disposed of carefully to prevent environmental damage.

Not having pallet shipments ready

Another problem commonly faced in the pallet distribution process is not having pallet shipments ready for when they are due for collection. This means your shipments should be fully stacked and prepared, with the necessary paperwork attached, for the agreed collection time. You should also ensure your pallet collection point can be easily accessed and provides ample room for loading shipments onto the collection vehicle.

Improperly securing a pallet load

Alongside the problems faced during the stacking of a pallet, there can also be problems during the securing of a pallet. All pallets must be secured. How a pallet is secured depends on the items. Heavy, large, or unusual-shaped items should be held down using ratchet straps.

Pallet shipments with boxes should be wrapped using plastic film. You should also consider placing a sheet between each layer on your pallet shipment. Using a thin sheet of wood between each layer prevents boxes from slipping and sliding during transit. All liquid containers must be tightly sealed.

Missed or refused deliveries

Missed deliveries are an all-too-common occurrence in logistics. A missed delivery can happen for several reasons, including nobody present at the delivery address to accept delivery or someone refusing delivery.

Some may make the mistake of thinking a delivery driver will unload and leave the pallets at the delivery destination, even if no one is present. That is not the case. If no one is available to accept the delivery, your shipment will be sent back to the depot. You will then need to rearrange delivery.

Alternatively, deliveries can also be refused by someone who may be unaware of an expected delivery. Someone at the delivery destination who may be unaware of an expected delivery, such as from warehouse storage, may accidentally refuse delivery. Again, you will have to rearrange delivery.

Pallet distribution and delivery is a complex process with many problems and challenges. To ensure the smooth and trouble-free delivery of your pallet shipments, make sure you bare the points above in mind.

Have a question about pallet distribution and delivery? Check out our pallet distribution and delivery FAQs page.