The ALC believes that the key to more efficient pallet use is a national approach to the problem
CHEP Australia and Loscam , the two largest pallet providers in Australia, have joined with members of the Australian Logistics Council to form a Pallet Working Group that will focus on improving the efficient use of pallets in the national supply chain.
Announcing the new Working Group, ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff explained that "pallets are the unsung heroes of the supply chain, underpinning millions of freight movements around the country and the world every year. All participants in the supply chain - including suppliers, transporters, retailers and pallet providers - have an interest in promoting their more efficient use."
The problem at hand, Mr Kilgariff stated, is that until now, there has not been a nationally consistent approach to the development, promotion and implementation of best practice for the use of pallets in Australia.
"This has led to the application of inconsistent practices across the industry as well as conflicting information being provided among supply chain participants, all of which affects efficiency and productivity," he added.
Both CHEP and Loscam agree that the lack of a national approach is the fundamental impediment to further progress.
Loscam Australia Regional Director Daniel Bunnett said that "the major issue was that we work in a national environment and to have a multitude of state arrangements would only lead to confusion amongst customers and increasing costs of compliance."
As a sign of how seriously the two companies are taking the working group initiative, CHEP Australia and New Zealand President Phillip Austin noted that it was rare for the two to tackle such an issue together.
"It gave us a chance to sit and collaborate across all of those perspectives and again it is one of the reasons we are pleased and encouraged at the ALC starting this process is that it is about avoiding the silos," Austin said.
Mr Kilgariff also stated that industry self-regulation should be sought before there is concrete government involvement, prompting the establishment of the Pallet Working Group.
“ALC is now calling for expressions of interest from ALC Members to participate in the Working Group that has been established to address these important issues. In practical terms, the Working Group will aim to deliver a greater degree of national consistency and uniformity when it comes to the use of pallets by supply chain participants," he explained.
In addition to developing and implementing a process guideline for dispute resolution for pallet transactions across the supply chain, Mr Kilgariff said the Group will "also be the place where the industry can go to obtain information about the existing processes, requirements and the 'guidelines' stakeholders have in place regarding the use of pallets in the supply chain."
Mr Kilgariff has also written recently to Federal Small Business Minister Brendan O’Connor explaining the initiative and seeking a meeting.