Seven benefits of switching to the IFCO Plastic Pallet

written by IFCO SYSTEMS, 7th March 2024, in Stories

Wood or reusable plastic pallet? When it comes to sustainability, cost-savings, efficiency and hygiene, Dora, the reusable IFCO Plastic Pallet, is the superior choice. Here’s why trusting IFCO to pool and expertly manage your reusable pallets makes the fresh grocery supply chain sustainable.

ifco plastic pallet

Benefits of reusable plastic pallets

With IFCO in charge of pooling your pallets, you reduce costs and your carbon footprint

"In my experience, there are many benefits to switching to the reusable IFCO Plastic Pallet and they are all relevant for producers, distributors and retailers alike." Marco Geremia, Sales Director Plastic Pallet Europe at IFCO explains. Consider an exceptionally durable pallet, precisely sized, ensuring consistent performance across all operational conditions – enhancing product safety during handling and transportation. This represents just the beginning of what tops the wish list for IFCO customers. The IFCO pooling system, designed for reusable plastic pallets, stems from extensive collaborations and practical trials within the fresh grocery supply chain. These partnerships play a pivotal role in crafting packaging and transport solutions that minimize carbon emissions, lower expenses, and notably steer us toward a sustainable and efficient distribution supply chain.

The feedback on the downsides to traditional wooden pallet exchange systems enabled IFCO to develop a pooling system for reusable plastic pallets that is precisely tailored to the changing demands of the fresh grocery supply chain. As Marco Geremia has been working closely with IFCO customers for several years, and is a member of the IFCO innovation team, he knows the customer pain points when it comes to conventional wooden pallets.

“Essentially, the key benefits are related to cost, efficiency and sustainability. IFCO’s pooling system lowers the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for pallets and simplifies the workload, while also lowering the environmental cost.”

Marco Geremia , Sales Director Plastic Pallet Europe at IFCO

Exactly how the IFCO Plastic Pallet – which also goes by the name Dora – lowers costs on multiple levels is outlined in detail below.

Seven benefits to pooling the reusable IFCO Plastic Pallet

1- The IFCO Plastic Pallet is perfect for automation

Why is Dora, the IFCO Plastic Pallet, best suited for automated logistics?

A much-cited reason for switching to reusable plastic pallets is automation. Traditional wooden pallets can greatly disrupt the operation of automated warehouses. Their uneven quality, imprecise dimensions, and tendency to splinter are huge disadvantages in modern logistics centers. In the worst-case scenario, they can even bring an automated system to a standstill.

As precision is paramount in warehouse automation, a small deviation in the dimensions of a pallet or packaging containers can lead to significant and costly delays and disadvantages. Since wooden pallets absorb humidity, they can change shape and weight. This characteristic makes them ill-suited for highly automated supply chains. Another is the fact that wooden pallets are held together with nails, which can come loose and damage machinery.

In contrast, every IFCO Plastic Pallet has the same stable dimensions and is free from loose components – including nails. For automated systems to work efficiently, the best option is to have standardized, stable and stackable IFCO reusable packaging containers (RPCS) travelling on the sturdy and highly robust IFCO Plastic Pallets.

"The IFCO Plastic Pallet is the best possible load carrier for our IFCO RPCs on automated conveyor systems," says Geremia. "With Dora, logistics run like a well-oiled machine."

2- The IFCO Plastic Pallet simplifies the workflow

How does Dora improve efficiency and cut down on administrative tasks?

See #1. As the IFCO Plastic Pallet is more easily incorporated into automated processes, it helps free up time for employees to work on other tasks, such as customer service. In addition, by outsourcing the responsibility for your pallets to IFCO, you benefit from a superior, professional and time-saving pooling service.

Since 1992, IFCO has built up unrivaled expertise in the pooling of reusable packaging and the closed-loop recycling of packaging material. The IFCO pooling system for reusable plastic pallets draws on this experience and knowledge.

By transferring the management of your pallets entirely to IFCO, you immediately cut down on the time-consuming administrative burden of dealing with wooden pallets. And you always receive the pallets in top condition when you need them.

IFCO Pallet SmartCycle

3- The IFCO pooling service is reliable and saves costs

Why is the IFCO pooling of reusable pallets so cost-effective?

IFCO takes full responsibility for the pooling and return of IFCO Plastic Pallets, including inspection and quality assurance. "We ensure that the pallets are delivered and picked up on time," says Geremia. "This means that customers can order their pallets as needed, via the MyIFCO app."

Unlike with exchange wooden pallets, with the IFCO pooling system it’s clear who has responsibility for ensuring quality standards are upheld. IFCO takes over monitoring the quality of the pallets and makes sure the high-quality reusable pallets are where they need to be. After each use and rotation, IFCO inspects every IFCO Plastic Pallet. Only pallets that are in optimal condition are sent out to customers. Any broken IFCO Plastic Pallet is exchanged free of charge. This set-up is in stark contrast to wooden pallet exchanges, which often involve lengthy discussions about quality.

In addition, by pooling the IFCO Plastic Pallet through IFCO’s pooling system, you reduce your up-front costs. Working with IFCO eliminates the need – and costs – for stocking additional intact pallets, which is often necessary when working with wooden pallets. Many suppliers and retailers hold an extra supply of wooden pallets in stock, just in case the ones in circulation are not up to standard. This unnecessarily ties up resources and space.

Traditional exchange systems for wooden pallets therefore require you to purchase pallets and deal with asset management and exchange discussions. This is never the case with IFCO. There is no discussion. Dora, the IFCO Plastic Pallet is always collected, whatever the condition. No questions asked.

pallet hygiene

4- Hygiene is prioritized throughout the IFCO pooling system for pallets

Why is the IFCO Plastic Pallet more hygienic?

We have eliminated nails, splinters, dirt and contamination from the fresh food supply chain and automated systems. The IFCO Plastic Pallet is made from high-quality high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, so there is no danger of a build-up of mold or rust, unlike with wooden pallets. If required, Dora can also be washed at temperatures up to 90°C or with a steam cleaner.

What’s more, as the IFCO reusable pallet is made from HDPE, the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM-15) do not apply to Dora. These require, for instance, that wooden pallets are heat-treated to mitigate the risk of pest and disease transmission in international trade.

pallet efficiency

5- The IFCO circular model makes reusable plastic pallets more sustainable

What makes the IFCO Plastic Pallet sustainable?

The IFCO Plastic Pallet has a long service life and is used many times more than traditional wooden pallets. By increasing the service life, we help lower the carbon footprint of our customers’ operations – as well as improve the efficiency of their operations.

In addition, Dora is 100% recyclable, which extends its life infinitely. In line with the principles of the circular economy, our target is to ensure our pallets remain in circulation for longer and are recycled sustainably after a long service life. In future, our goal is to produce new pallets using 30% recycled IFCO Plastic Pallet material.

6- IFCO digital services improves supply chain visibility

Why is the IFCO Plastic Pallet more suited for the modern supply chain?

The IFCO Plastic Pallet supports supply chain transparency thanks to IFCO digital services. As the reusable pallets are assigned a GRAI code, switching to Dora will allow real-time tracking, which will help you identify bottlenecks and those moments in the supply chain where pallets are most likely to get stuck, broken or lost. Declarations will be automated to ensure easier inventory management.

Adopting digital solutions goes a long way to increasing network efficiency and reducing losses and costs.

ifco plastic pallet

7- Switching to IFCO Plastic Pallets is simple, smooth and saves costs

How do you make the switch to reusable plastic pallets?

"In our experience, the transition to IFCO Plastic Pallets is incredibly smooth, which is why we increasingly see more of our customers eager to replace their exchange wooden pallets with Dora, the IFCO Plastic Pallet," notes Geremia.

As switching to the IFCO Plastic Pallet invariably streamlines and simplifies the workload for our customers, the cost-effective benefits are clear. "Once you switch, you’ll never go back," adds Geremia. "Dora is simply the perfect fit for our IFCO RPCs and today’s modern, sustainable fresh grocery supply chain."

Make the switch!

Sign up for a trial with the IFCO Plastic Pallet and join us in the more sustainable and cost-efficient pooling of reusable pallets.

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