What is a Pallet Broker and what do they do?

Two men working as pallet brokers with their backs turned inspecting a stack of used wooden pallets.

For businesses in retail, manufacturing, distribution, and other related industries, an efficient pallet program is vital. In fact, efficient pallet management has become a requirement for every large-scale enterprise today. Managing these large scale programs can be a difficult task based on how many locations a company has or how many product SKUs are being utilized. If your company has a complex supply chain with multiple locations and pallet SKUs, this is where pallet brokers may be valuable. A pallet broker is an intermediary organization that works on behalf of a customer to find local pallet manufacturers and recyclers to service the customer’s locations.

An alternative to using a pallet broker is working directly with asset-based pallet companies. However, depending on the scale of your pallet program, this can become a lofty task. In order for this approach to be effective for a large organization, the business must have someone on staff who can manage the pallet program.

A third, and often the best, option is working with a national pallet company that can combine the positives of both pallet brokers and asset-based pallet companies, while minimizing the drawbacks of both.

A pallet broker is an intermediary organization that works on behalf of a pallet user to find local pallet manufacturers and recyclers to service the user’s locations.


Working with an Asset-Based Pallet Company

Asset-based pallet manufacturers own or control all the essential components required to support a customer’s supply chain. This includes warehouses, machinery, staff, distribution centers, and, of course, the pallets themselves. These companies offer comprehensive, end-to-end pallet solutions such as supply, retrieval, and reverse logistics – and potentially on-site services. This integrated approach usually results in lower overall costs and better service for customers as the entire supply chain is managed by a single entity. Cost and service, of course, can vary from business to business.

Providing transparent and high-quality reporting is also easier for asset-based pallet companies to accomplish. This is because all of the data necessary for reporting is housed on the company’s systems and easily accessible. This leads to accurate and real-time tracking of pallets sold, purchased, repaired, and other relevant metrics and KPIs. This level of transparency and data accessibility allows customers to gain valuable insights into their pallet management processes.

Asset-based providers offer greater flexibility and customized solutions due to their control over each step in the supply chain. This flexibility translates into personalized pallet management solutions tailored to meet the specific needs of individual businesses and their various locations.


Working with a Pallet Broker

In contrast, brokered pallet suppliers act as intermediaries, coordinating with a network of partners to manage pallet supply chains. These brokers negotiate contracts with multiple suppliers, warehouses, and distribution centers to facilitate the movement of pallets. While this approach may offer flexibility, it often results in reduced control over costs, supply, and quality due to the involvement of multiple parties.

Because pallet brokers are not tied to any specific facility, this allows them to extend an increased level of flexibility to their customers. They often have the ability to pair customers with a service provider that specializes in that particular pallet or service while also being able to pivot from service providers in case of economic or environmental factors. While not being tied to any specific facility does offer increased flexibility, pallet brokers do sacrifice control over costs, supply, and quality.

Despite the challenges, pallet brokers that excel at managing relationships with affiliates and have premium standards can offer a pleasant customer experience. However, businesses must carefully evaluate the broker’s capabilities to prevent disruptions in their supply chain.


Which one should you work with

The choice between asset-based pallet manufacturers and brokered pallet suppliers depends on the specific needs of your business. Understanding your own needs and matching these needs to the provider’s capabilities is an essential step in selecting the right pallet partner.

Asset-based pallet companies are usually a great fit for small businesses with straightforward supply chains or large organizations that have the resources to dedicate an internal team to manage their pallet program. Pallet brokers are usually a good fit for medium-sized companies that fall in between this spectrum. Once again, this is traditionally what has worked well for the average customer and every situation is unique.


The Best Option: Innovative Pallet Services from Kamps

Because every situation is unique, an option that covers all supply chains and customer cases has been needed in the marketplace for quite some time. Kamps stands out in the market because we have developed an innovative platform that combines the benefits of the asset-based and brokered approach, while minimizing the drawbacks.

In the asset-based realm, Kamps is vertically integrated and shines by owning and controlling all crucial elements of the pallet life-cycle – from cradle to grave. We have multiple sawmills that provide the raw materials to our plants, over 60 asset-based locations that provide new pallet manufacturing and pallet recycling services, and a wood resource services team that creates sustainable byproducts from end-of-life pallets. This comprehensive approach enables us to offer end-to-end solutions, ensuring seamless operations and the best value for our clients. Our commitment to transparent digital reporting and personalized services further enhances our offerings and makes us the pallet company of choice for all supply chains.

Simultaneously, Kamps utilizes our Service Provider network to integrate high-quality partners in geographical areas where we do not have asset-based locations. While this positions Kamps as a pallet broker in the traditional sense of the word, the investments we make into our service providers elevates our relationship beyond just a brokered relationship. We also spend significant amounts of resources on our internal teams and systems that manage our Service Provider network to ensure that our customers receive the same products and services from our partners as they would from our Asset-Based facilities. This alleviates the burden on our customers significantly by shifting the bulk of the program management responsibilities to our team of experts.


Innovative Pallet Service model explained by our National Sales VP, Damon Williamson, at PackExpo 2023


Kamps combines these two methods of pallet service seamlessly through our integrated divisions and systems. This results in a customer experience that is truly one of a kind. This is an experience that instills confidence, resilience, and maximum value to all of our customers’ supply chains. Our customers can rest assured knowing their entire supply chain is covered by our multiple divisions, while only working with a single key contact. This experience is why Kamps is the leading customer-centric pallet company in the country.

Ready to benefit from a Kamps program? contact our experts now.

Download article take-away: Pallet Company Structure Comparison PDF

Click image below to download

Image containing a graph that compares the value between an asset-based company, a pallet broker, and Kamps.



Scroll to Top