Like all businesses, we need to be smart with the way we manage resources, in our case our vehicles and warehouse!
We have a mixed fleet of 75 vehicles but even with that sizable resource, we can’t be everywhere at once. This is where Pallet Networks have revolutionised our industry.
Some 25 years ago the first pallet network started utilising a hub and spoke system that pretty much all networks have duplicated.
A pallet network consists of a cooperative of haulage companies taking ownership of postcodes local to their business, freight is effectively swapped between themselves. During the day they deliver any local freight that was collected from the hub the night before, on behalf of the other network members, and also collect freight from their local customers which is then sent to the hub. This freight is then trans shipped for onward delivery the next day by the haulier that covers that postcode.
So what has this meant to you our customers?
When pallet networks first started, they were not the reliable cost effective solution they are now.
Customers generally had two choices, your goods went on groupage loads, or they were put on a dedicated vehicle. The groupage load could take anywhere up to a week to get delivered and the dedicated delivery service generally cost quite a bit more.
Pallet networks saw a gap in the market and decided to concentrate on the 1 to 5 pallet consignments that were being sent on groupage runs. Now because of the daily collections and the efficient way the hub and spoke system works, the goods end up with a local haulier very close to their end destination within 24hrs. Which means that we can offer our customers next day or economy services at very competitive prices.
In the early day’s hauliers generally ran an 18 tonne vehicle or an artic and trailer to the hubs during the night. As the networks became more popular and reliable, and customers realised how cost effective they were, growth was quick, and there was a need for hauliers to use Double Deck trailers. These double deck trailers enable us to input on average between 150 -200 pallets per night. All in all throughout the 8 pallet networks, each night over 90,000 pallets get sorted between the hours of about 20:00 and 06:00.
A welcome side effect of all this is the reduction in miles per pallet movement, and by using double deck trailers, the industry has in effect taken vehicles off the road.
So to sum up – quicker, more cost effective and greener, but it doesn’t stop there. All this has happened at a time when IT has been developing to improve and streamline the whole process of delivering and collecting freight. We can offer all our customers online booking, track and trace of their goods, with pods being available minutes after the delivery has been done.
Pallet networks have come a long way in 25 years and are now a very cost effective way for our customers to move their freight. For more information or to discuss any other national distribution requirements give us a call on 01299 254545 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also like to read our recent article – Tooles Transport, not just general haulage.