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PDQ Plastics Inc. The plastic pallets that deliver true cost savings.

As early as 1969, the founders of PDQ PLASTICS INC. recognized the potential cost savings and operational advantages of a "permanent" plastic pallet. The company introduced a plastic pallet into the marketplace (computer designed) that had an initial cost ten times that of a wooden pallet, and substantially more than other plastic pallets that were being introduced at about the same time. This was a tough business choice, but one that was based on the rock-solid notion that a pallet should be manufactured to engender the design elements specifically intended to reduce the users cost per trip. And this was 33 years ago.

As recently as ten years ago, the primary emphasis of most pallet selection processes was still on the cost per pallet. That emphasis has been slowly shifting to the analysis and control of cost per trip. Planning beyond the immediate purchase price of a pallet has become essential. Often the cost of an expendable pallet is built into the overall cost assigned to the product the pallet is carrying. The ratio of the cost of the product to the cost of the pallet is sighted as the basis for an acceptable and necessary expense of doing business. The introduction of a pallet that will provide multiple trips over the long haul takes the pallet out of the expense column and buts it into the assets column. Return on the initial investment is not only rapid, but continues to pay dividends long term. The notion of the pallet as a cost of doing business is being replaced by the view that the pallet is indeed, an asset. And like any other company asset, the pallet should be scrutinized, analyzed, and ultimately managed to produce that desired result: reduced cost per trip.

What are the elements that will reduce pallet cost per trip? The most obvious is service life. The longer a pallet stays on the job and out of the waste stream, the larger the number of trips (your divisor) will be in establishing the basic cost per trip equation. From the outset, PDQ's plastic pallets have been designed and manufactured to provide the longest service life possible from a pallet of any type. This extended durability also translates into another of the most important elements of reducing cost per trip: protecting the transported product from damage. A pallet that maintains its structural integrity will be much less likely to cause damage to the product it is carrying. Loss estimates from product damage caused by inferior pallets have been staggering, and to PDQ's management, unacceptable. Offer a pallet with no nails to pop, no boards to splinter, no modular parts to come loose, and no brittle pieces of cellular plastic to break off, and the pallet becomes part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Another vitally important element of reducing cost per trip is the reduction of pallet related worker injuries. Besides the economic impact worker injuries cause to a business, any increase in safety that a devise as ubiquitous as the pallet can bring to the table is surely welcome. PDQ PLASTICS has always held that a durable pallet is also a safe pallet. The problems listed above that damage product are the same problems that injure workers. The longer a pallet maintains its structural integrity, the longer it will provide the safe, operational advantage it was meant to deliver in the first place. A poor-quality pallet may be safe when it is new, but give it a bit of hard use and see what happens.

Another important element that will impact cost per trip is application suitability. Simply stated, the right pallet for the right job. Technology has given the pallet manufacturer the ability to computer design pallets to maximize such aspects as strength to weight ratio, load bearing configurations, and impact resistance. PDQ PLASTICS has used computer aided design from the very beginning, and continues to use computer aided product testing and development to bring the right pallet to the right application. One of the more notable achievements of this development has been to add the option of UL 94 V-2 Flame Retardancy to PDQ's entire line of pallets. The goal was to find a flame-retardant material that could be processed into our existing designs with a minimum loss of other properties, again, maintaining the basic cost per trip imperative.

There is little argument left that would support a "cheaper pallet" over one that has a higher initial cost, but an exponentially extended service life. Operationally, economically and even environmentally, the long life pallet is the winner every time. There is, however, still the challenge of protecting and managing that asset. It is in this area, the area of asset management, and in this case, pallet management, that technology has made its biggest impact felt. Once the mindset of the pallet user has been changed to accept the pallet as an asset, it becomes the job of the pallet professional to offer ways that will allow that asset to be seamlessly managed. Achieving this goal, although challenging, needs only to be considered as part and parcel to the overall asset management programs and procedures that are in current use and development today. For example, if your company is using a simple SKU system to control inventory, give your pallets an SKU number, and maintain records accordingly. As your asset management system becomes more sophisticated, simply include the pallet in the system. This makes the durability of a pallet such as the PDQ 40 x 48 "Super D" even more essential, as it adds fundamental consistency to its job in the transport loop, while at the same time virtually eliminating one branch of that loop, pallet repair.

Whether you're controlling your pallets with a system as simple as color coding, hot stamping or bar coding, or perhaps something more sophisticated like internet based RF data retrieval, it still comes down to calculating the cost per trip being assigned to your pallets. And that's where PDQ PLASTICS comes in. Through the latest advances in technology (some of which are 33 years old), we will continue to supply only the most durable plastic pallets available, sell them only into those applications to which they are suited, and provide the best customer service in the industry to back them up.



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Title Annotation:2005 TECHNOLOGY TRENDS
Publication:Material Handling Product News
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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