When it comes to moving stuff through the supply chain, pallets are, quite literally, the way to go. That’s long been true, but today’s models are better at doing it than ever. “Without the pallet, the modern distribution system could not operate,” asserts Ralph Rupert, manager of unit load technology at Vienna, Ohio-based Millwood Inc. “The ability to unitize products for ease of movement is based on the pallet.” “The pallet is the foundation of the unit load,” says Gary Sharon, EVP at Litco International Inc., also based in Vienna, Ohio, adding that “a shipping pal-let’s primary function is to protect, and facilitate the distribution of, products while traveling through the hazards of the supply chain.” Sharon notes that pallets are the primary interface between the shipper’s valuable products and the many material-handling forces they encounter. “In other words,” he says, “they are the ﬁrst line of defense for ensuring products reach their destination in the same condition as when they left the shipper.”
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