A guide to pallet delivery in the UK

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 10:00

Which pallet delivery company should you choose?

Perhaps you have a little (or a lot) of goods (stock for your shop?), and you’ve now made the decision to locate a pallet delivery company in the UK – which means you’ll probably benefit from a guide to pallet delivery.

In this guide, we will highlight the important things you’ll need to know when it comes to choosing the right haulage partner for your business.

Short cuts (Click the link to the section below if you need a short cut – otherwise, read on!)

  1. Terms used for pallet transport transport and types of service by road.
  2. What you need to know if your choosing a transporter.
  3. What you need to know about pallet delivery preparation.
  4. The most common 2 types of pallet size.
  5. So how do you find the right Pallet Couriers?
  6. So how do you filter out which one is suitable for your business?
  7. What to know when your pallets get delivered | Completing the Process

1. Terms used for pallet transport transport and types of service by road:

Full load Service: Are your goods (load), going to take up the entire lorry? Then you’re going to need to find a transporter that will fulfil a full load requirement. Depending on the dimensions of the goods, you’re likely to find that they can be stacked 2 high (or 3 if you’re lucky). However, even if you think you will be able to stack them 3 high, you should still contact your transporter to ensure that the load is ‘suitable for stacking’.

Partial Load Service: Perhaps you’re only looking to move a few pallets or you are looking to break up a large delivery. In this instance you can ask for a Part Load Pallet Delivery. The main advantage of using this method of delivery is that your goods will probably be filling up empty space on the hauliers part-empty journeys – this means it’s more cost effective for them – but more importantly, will be reflected in your quote for service.

Pallet Courier: This option is for companies who wish to transport a couple of pallets or so.

Dedicated Service: As the term suggests – it’s a dedicated delivery for you. One driver picks up and delivers your pallets. There is no time spent in warehousing and therefore makes sense if you want to have an express pallet delivery or a next-day pallet delivery.

Distribution Network: If you’re not constrained by time and are looking to keep the costs for delivery to a minimum, then you can use a pallet distribution network. When you use a pallet distributor, your goods are picked up and transported to the ‘main distribution hub’. When at the hub, they will be prepared for collection and taken onwards to their destination. This method means low cost pallet delivery, but it also means you could be waiting longer for the goods to be delivered.

2. What you need to know if your choosing a transporter:

Loading and unloading: Ensure you find out what method of loading your chosen haulier will use. For example: will the vehicle they send have a rear load facility? If so, you can use a standard pallet jack to load (or unload). If it doesn’t have this facility, you will need a forklift.

Helpful Service Included? Some pallet distribution services will actually help you with unloading and unwrapping your goods. However, this is highly dependant on the provider – it doesn’t help to ask the question, right?

Pallet Provision: If you think you might be short of pallets – ask the transporter – they might be able to bring some along for you when they come to pick up your goods.

Insurance (be safe): When you move your products around the country, you have to accept that you lose the control you had over them when they were in your warehouse. Therefore, you should ensue that you have ample cover for your stock whilst its in transit. It’s best to expect the unexpected.

You should also check with the transporter to ensure that they have adequate cover (and don’t be afraid to ask for a copy).

Driver Association: What’s the situation with the driver collecting your goods? It’s not uncommon for the driver who collects your goods to be independent, a member of a pallet network, a member of an outsourced organisation or something else. This doesn’t mean that you should steer clear. It means that you should ask about the relationship and see if their knowledge on the individual satisfies you. Perhaps you could check to see what experience the driver has in moving loads of your size?

3. What you need to know about pallet delivery preparation

If you are transporting a large amount of goods that will be applicable to a stacking and packing method, then palletised delivery is likely to be the best option for you.

For the sake of clarity, a pallet is a type of platform which can hold a large number of products can be stacked, which makes transport easier. It is a method that is preferred by the transport, logistics and shipping industry. Having products secured and contained when moving them in shipping containers or lorries is easier and more efficient. Having a flat base and a strong construction makes the pallet easy to move about, meaning that it’s more efficient for the warehouse operatives and loading yard staff to move efficiently.

Typically, pallet sizes are standard and have been produced this way to make packaging more efficient. They do however, vary form country to country. European sizes will be different from say, US sizes as their haulage trucks are larger.

4. The most common 2 types of pallet size

Type 1 | Stringer: The stinger pallet is the most common and are likely to be the ones you’ve seen being loaded into pretty much every delivery vehicle in the UK. They are commonly made from wood – but are increasing in numbers as plastic varieties. The wood pallet is normally made with the top deck boards laid perpendicular to the “stinger” bottoms. Mass produced and disposable they can be lifted form either end by a forklift or pallet truck.

Type 2 | Block Pallet: Block pallets are a stronger design. They have extra spacers which make the pallet easy to get access on all sides. They tend to be crafted from any number of different materials, such as; paper, plastics, or even metal. Depending on weight, the materials used usually reflect the overall weight of the cargo. Some of the strongest pallets available can hold up to 9 tonnes!

5. So how do you find the right Pallet Couriers?

Firstly, work out your haulage requirements. Once you know this, you can begin the process of finding the cheapest pallet delivery quote available. Pallet distribution companies are plentiful in the UK.

Weight, dimensions, number of pallets and type of goods being moved and the destinations will all
help you get the best quotes.

6. So how do you filter out which one is suitable for your business?

Choosing to use a pallet network is one option, but you will know very little about the types of company who will be delivering your goods. Are you OK with this?

Another option is to find and build a relationship with a tried, tested and long-established haulage company. It might be the most time involving way to find what you’re looking for – but you’ll find it worth it in the long run. For example: if you have a long term requirement for a pallet distribution company, then building a relationship with one you can trust is going to be an important asset for your company in the long run.

Looking at a hauliers background is important.

How long have they been established?
Who are their current clients?
What sort of reputation do they have?
Do they have a testimonials page? (Here’s ours as an example)

7. What to know when your pallets get delivered | Completing the Process

At the point where your palletised goods arrive at their destination, make sure that you (or the recipient of the pallets) check them over thoroughly. Any decent driver will happily go over any checks with you if anything, to check the quantities and to ensure that nothing has been damage whilst in transit.

We touched on it earlier – so if you managed to get a helpful service (where the driver helps to unload and unpack), make sure that you ave the right tools ready to do so. For example: what happens if the person at the other end does not have a pallet truck or forklift truck? How will they get the goods offloaded? Consider putting a one in with the shipment or ask the driver to have one on board to help at the other end.

So all’s well and good with the chosen supplier and the goods have been delivered safe and sound?

What else is there?

Remember, you’ve jut been through the process of finding a pallet delivery service. Would it not be a good idea to help others in this process moving forward? Could you write a review on one of the popular haulage review sites? Could you provide written feedback to the haulage company for them to use on their testimonial page?