Pallet management: nothing gets lost in the building!

Bastian Späth, CEO/Vorstand EIKONA AG
Many pallets stacked on top of each other in the yard of a forwarding company

Losses in pallet exchange programmes are frustrating and can add up to large amounts. When the pallets are truly expensive, the losses should dwindle to nothing. A pallet management system allows manufacturers and logistics service providers to better control their use.

If you use pallets that cost more than Euro pallets, you should treat them as business resources and not just materials. That means pallet inventories have to be carefully managed. To do this, you have to be able to answer the following questions at any given time:

  • What pallets does the company own?
  • What are these pallets worth?
  • To whom does the company owe pallets?
  • Who owes the company pallets?
  • Where in the company are the pallets stored, and what kinds of pallets are they?

These questions are difficult to answer without a special pallet accounting system. Many businesses can only answer them following extensive research.

Define goals

Tasks for pallet management

A lot of information has to be recorded centrally in order to effectively control the use of your company's pallets. It starts with the inventory data. It has to be broken down into further categories. In addition to the simple number of pallets, you also need to know where they are stored. Only then can you trace their movements. In addition, you need to know which pallets were shipped, when, in what condition and to what locations. These pallets then have to be deducted from inventory.

Introduce system

Pallet accounting keeps accurate data

A pallet accounting system is the best way to always know which pallets are yours. Only a few enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems maintain this data and treat pallets as a resource. In addition, many products require a transport rack, cage, or intermediate bulk container (IBC) for shipping. Pallet management systems always assign pallets, cages, and high-quality packaging materials to a processing point in the company and then record whether these items are still there. If the pallets have moved on to the next department, the system will book them there as well. Material that is shipped and thus leaves the company is associated with the customer order in the software solution. This ensures that the pallets are either returned in exchange or charged to the customer. For international shipping orders, the data from the pallet accounting system can also serve as proof that the material was imported – as long as part or serial numbers are stored.

Use apps

Enter pallet exchanges locally

Many processes that use pallets take place away from IT workstations. Typical processes include truck deliveries and the associated exchange of pallets. Mobile apps are therefore recommended in order to keep your pallet accounts accurate. This allows the returned pallets to be credited directly to an exchange account or shortages to be recorded if necessary. In addition, the exchange partners can rate the condition of the material as good, average or poor, for example. This prevents an unfair exchange process in which one party repeatedly receives worn-out pallets in exchange for material that is as good as new. The condition information is logged in the pallet accounting system as characteristics that determine the item's value.


Keep track of your pallets

A pallet management system provides companies with clear data on their use of load carriers. Recording these materials during the main process at all transfer points significantly reduces the risk of loss. This makes it possible to verify at any time what pallets are held by whom, both inside your own organisation and in exchange with external partners and customers. The improved transparency is good for your company's finances, too.

Bastian Späth
Bastian Späth

As a college-educated computer scientist, Bastian Späth understands how IT solutions are developed from the ground up. For more than 15 years, he has spent every workday collecting requirements, finding ideas, developing designs, setting up projects and getting them safely across the finish line.

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