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It’s 11 p.m. Do you know where your pallets are?

By Susan K. Lacefield

pallet picIt is far too easy for pallets to “leak” out of a supply chain. A pallet misplaced in the distribution center here. One never returned from a customer there. Another used for an in-store display. Yet another stuck “temporarily” in an offsite warehouse and then forgotten. A few more picked up by thieves in back of a retail store.

Taken individually, these losses might seem minor, but the problem of a few missing pallets can quickly add up to considerable cost. In fact, according to Mark Baum, chief collaboration officer and senior vice president of industry relations for the Food Marketing Institute, lost reusable packaging assets (which include not just pallets but also such things as dairy crates, beverage containers, rolling carts, and bread trays) end up costing American business $750 million to $1 billion each year.

And it’s not just the pallet owners that feel the financial pain—inevitably those costs will be spread throughout the entire supply chain, according to Dan Gormley, vice president of asset control and retail services at CHEP, the largest rental pallet pooler in North America.

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