The pallet and packaging industry has seen a number of developments in the past year with escalating energy, transport and raw material costs creating an intensely competitive market for the transportation of international goods. In the face of these challenges, the European Pallet Association (EPAL) has played a key role as an industry figure, providing an effective practical alternative to what can be an expensive closed pool pallet system.
EPAL has made significant industry developments throughout the year and to ensure the quality and performance of its pallets, it has changed the way its pallets are maintained in the UK by applying the same strict guidelines for repair as apply in its other markets. All licensed repairs receive an unannounced monthly visit and only new wood can be used in the repairs. Where compressed wood blocks have to be replaced, the supplier of those blocks also has to be a licensed provider. This stipulation also applies to the nail suppliers.
With the launch of its new website, EPAL created a source for customers to obtain information and locate authorised EPAL suppliers within the UK. Visitors can also view links, which provide direct access to information on current industry legislations such as ISPM 15 and governing bodies such as FEFPEB and the National Committees and Inspection Companies. A password-protected area is dedicated to approved EPAL licensees, providing exclusive easy access to the latest legislation news, standards and information to ensure they comply with requirements. The area also provides support by giving licensees access to official documents and technical information. The website also provides information to visitors, interested in becoming authorised repairers for the open pool system.
Strengthening its quality assurance, EPAL has also announced its partnership with two newly approved repairers, Demes Logistics and TWP Packaging. Demes Logistics is a European leading logistics supplier and part of the D S Smith Plc Group and TWP Packaging is a leader in the pallet and packaging industry. Both companies possess a wealth of logistics and reusable packaging experience, built on their own commitment to their customers and quality assurance. As an EPAL repairer, each company has instant recognition as many customers recognise the EPAL standard and in itself, it offers credibility to repairers who are approved to use it.
EPAL assures the quality of the pallets in its pool and because EPAL does not own the pallets the end-user is free to source pallets, new or used, from wherever the best commercial advantage can be achieved. The simple ownership structure allows users to achieve the optimal system for their business from simple one-for-one exchange to more complex fully managed systems. Whatever the problem Epal approved companies can provide solutions to the most complex returnable packaging problems
To further its quality assurance, EPAL has undertaken insightful joint research with Holliger Paletten Logistik AG and Swisscom, to test the use of the ECP/RFID-technology with wooden pallets. EPAL is undertaking further research in 2009, which focuses on the findings between open and closed pool pallet systems.
Paul Davidson, Chief Executive for EPAL UK and Ireland Operations comments: “This year has seen a number of significant developments for both EPAL and the overall pallet industry. As we approach the new year there are changes ahead, however we understand it is important to embrace them and proactively provide solutions for our customers. We have been delighted to welcome Demes and TWP as approved repairers and we continue to receive interest from other UK companies, which is very positive for the quality of our pallets and service. At a time when our customers are looking for high quality pallets, it is our responsibility to deliver a cost effective solution without compromising on the standards of our pallets.”