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How Paper Pallet Costs Are Being Affected By Supply Chain Issues

Posted by Sonoco Conitex Team on July 19,2022

You need a good paper pallet supply to keep your customers satisfied, but when paper pallets themselves are hard to find, it’s tough to keep your business moving. Here’s what’s been going on with the paper pallet supply and what you can do about it. 

Why are paper pallet costs rising? 

As you’re looking for wooden pallet alternatives, you may wonder whether corrugated pallets are an option or if they’re affordable.

Here’s the thing: Paper pallets can be competitive and more accessible, but you should know the challenges affecting costs across the corrugated pallet manufacturing industry. These are the main factors contributing to the rising cost of paper pallets: 

Labor Shortages

Getting the materials to produce high-quality pallets, the specialized labor required to create them, and the processing equipment central to the job all in the same place is proving difficult. While some experts believe the labor shortage is easing, staffing pallet manufacturing plants with a reliable workforce is still a challenge. Many manufacturers raise prices to cover the heightened costs of increasingly frequent recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, overtime, and more.

Supply Chain Challenges

The idea that supply chain issues are fueling challenges for wooden pallet manufacturers isn’t new. Now that the world has been affected by supply chain issues for a few years, even resilient industries are assessing a hit. 

In particular, the demand for pallets is so high (and the ability to reliably source materials to create pallets is so low) that many manufacturers are scrambling to fulfill orders. Because supply chain challenges may not be going away anytime soon, it’s important to factor this into your upcoming conversations with prospective pallet manufacturers. 

Rising Interest in Wooden Pallet Alternatives

The combination of wooden pallet shortages and a growing interest in the power of sustainable packaging options has increased the popularity of sustainable and recyclable pallets. Because paper pallets are affordable, eco-friendly, and safe, the demand for them is growing.

However, other pallet alternatives—plastic, for example—are also garnering interest. As options for wooden pallet alternatives grow, will paper pallets be the choice that sustainability-minded companies favor in the future? 

These are fundamental factors and issues that may not be going away anytime soon. Is it still worth it to learn more about paper pallets? 

And, if you choose to use paper pallets in your processes, what can you do to safeguard your daily operations and pallet supply? 

Are paper pallets a (truly) viable alternative? 

First, let’s talk about paper pallets themselves. 

You might be leery of paper pallets if you’re used to wooden or plastic ones. Fortunately, paper pallets provide lots of benefits you might not be expecting. For example, when comparing paper pallets with wood pallets, paper pallets are: 

  • Cheaper
  • Safer—no splinters here! 
  • Lighter, which leads to lower freight costs or fuel emissions and increased warehouse safety
  • Easier to recycle (getting rid of wooden pallets is surprisingly costly!)
  • Simpler to store, leading to a more organized, space-savvy warehouse

Paper pallets provide distinct advantages over their alternatives, so you may be interested in seeing how well they perform for you.

However, if you’re going to switch to paper pallets, you want to know that you’re going to be able to have a reliable supply. That issue comes down to making sure you’re working with the right manufacturer. 

Selecting the Right Paper Pallet Manufacturer for You

Making sure that your company’s stock of paper pallets isn’t affected by supply chain issues can be difficult, but working with a paper pallet manufacturer ready to overcome those issues can be a game changer. 

Look for a manufacturer that: 

  • Has deep expertise in the area, with trained pallet design engineers on staff
  • Offers pallet samples to ensure a successful transition
  • Has consistent, accessible communication practices
  • Has a practical range of customization options for you to choose from

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your prospective manufacturer’s strategies for dealing with supply chain issues and their policies for what could happen if conditions worsen or something unexpected happens to delay your order. 

Having these expectations securely in place will reduce your stress—and make it clear that you’re working with a manufacturer ready to weather labor shortages, supply chain issues, and more while keeping you as informed and well stocked as possible. 

Keep your company’s paper pallet supply secure through supply chain issues and more.

While a more stable supply chain may be in the future, there are ways to ensure that your company supplies the materials necessary for daily operations to be consistent. Partnering with a packaging distributor that has systems in place to remain resilient is vital. 

At Sonoco, we are proud to be committed to both sustainability and your success. When you require a reliable source of paper pallets and other smart, high-performing packaging products, Sonoco’s team of friendly representatives will be there to provide the support you require. Reach out to us today for more information! 

And, to learn more about paper pallets, download our e-book, Everything You Need to Know About Paper Pallets.

Tags: Pallets, LoadRunner®, Corrugated, alternatives to wooden pallets

Sonoco Conitex Team
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Sonoco Conitex Team