If you are a business that relies on pallets for your operations, auditing a pallet supplier on a regular basis is key to ensuring you are working with a partner that is dedicated to excellence and integrity just as much as you are.
It can be the difference between on-time delivery or delays, a profitable supply chain or budget cuts, and peace of mind or constant worry and scrambling. It truly is more of a partnership than a traditional buyer / seller transaction.
While most businesses understand this, the challenge they face is identifying the perfect pallet supplier to trust with such an important responsibility.
In this guide, we have outlined 8 IOS’s (Indicators of Success) that will help you audit your new or current pallet supplier – and together they will help you identify the perfect pallet partner.
IOS #1: Transparency & Honesty
Transparency and honesty is paramount in any business relationship, but especially when it comes to pallets. A pallet supplier that is dishonest, or not transparent about their operations, can hurt your bottom line directly.
Checklist for Auditing a Pallet Supplier’s Transparency & Honesty
⊕ Supplier has an open and honest grading and counting system.
⊕ Supplier is able to commit to regular business reviews of your partnership.
⊕ Market pricing for pallets in any “buy-back” programs.
IOS #2: Housekeeping & Organization
Standard housekeeping at the plants where pallets are being sorted, refurbished, or made is important. Unkempt and unorganized plants can cause low quality products, delayed deliveries, and damage to your products.
Checklist for Auditing a Pallet Supplier’s Housekeeping & Organization
⊕ The yard and building are organized and clean.
⊕ Pallets are neatly stacked and managers are aware of pallets available.
Example: The supplier should use some sort of identifying system for types of wood, pallets, and other components.
IOS #3: Continued Investment Into Their Business
A pallet supplier that invests back into their business indicates that:
- They care about the customer (you).
- They are in it for the long haul.
- They care about their employees.
- They care about the quality of the product.
Checklist for Auditing a Pallet Supplier’s Continued Investments
⊕ Well maintained equipment.
⊕ Planned Investment into equipment and R &D.
⊕ Up-to-date data management and IT tools / systems.
⊕ Multiple Locations, or plans for opening multiple locations.
IOS #4: Clearly Defined KPI
Partnering with a pallet supplier that understands the importance of tracking KPIs will not only allow your business to be more productive, but will also allow you to keep your supplier more accountable.
Checklist for Auditing a Pallet Supplier’s KPI
⊕ They collect and report on vital KPIs such as: on-time deliveries, quality, cost, and safety.
⊕ Openly discusses the methods they use to collect and report these KPIs.
IOS #5: Their Safety Program
A pallet supplier that places emphasis on the safety of their employees is an organization that, more often than not, has strong business values and principals. It is a business can be trusted as a long-term partner – as the likelihood of business interruption, due to OSHA shutdowns or large lawsuits, is mitigated.
Checklist for Auditing a Pallet Supplier’s Safety Program
⊕ They have set safety standards and practices.
⊕ Set standards are practices are enforced strongly.
⊕ Regular, mandatory, safety meetings.
IOS #6: Proper Heat Treatment Certification
While heat treated pallets are not mandatory for every business, those that are shipping goods internationally will need them; as well as legitimate certification from their supplier.
Checklist for Auditing a Pallet Supplier’s Heat Treatment Certification
⊕ They are able to provide up-to-date Heat Treatment certification (these are required by law to be renewed annually).
⊕ Supplier allows you to physically see their heat treatment chamber.
IOS #7: Recycling Efforts
Working with a pallet supplier that places an emphasis on recycling can have many positive effects on your business. Examples of these positive effects can include lowered costs, added value to your business / products, and overall positive environmental impact.
Checklist for Auditing a Pallet Supplier’s Recycling Efforts
⊕ They have multiple recycling efforts.
⊕ They track and quantify their recycling efforts.
⊕ Supplier can provide a personalized green scorecard of your organization’s positive impact through their recycling programs.
IOS #8: Experience & Professionalism of Team
The pallet business is a fast-paced and unique environment – unlike any other. Because of this, partnering with a pallet supplier that has a well-trained, experienced, and professional staff to support your business is extremely important.
Checklist for Auditing a Pallet Supplier’s Experience & Professionalism
⊕ Members of the leadership team have extensive experience working with pallets.
⊕ Customer Service staff has a speedy response time.
⊕ All employees carry themselves in a professional manner (top to bottom).
Our guide to auditing your pallet supplier is comprehensive and educational. However, just having it in your possession does not guarantee that the perfect partner will find its way to you.
Our advice is to take a proactive approach to identifying that perfect supplier. If your current supplier does not meet all 8 IOS’s, it may be time to set up meetings with others that can.
Audit Kamps Pallets
At Kamps Pallets we pride ourselves on the ability to meet all 8 IOS’s and welcome all audits.
To perform your audit of Kamps, reach out to one of our pallet experts and set up a time to meet: Request a Quote
This post was originally published on March 2, 2020 and updated on February 19th, 2021.