Pallets make a move on British shop floors

Some industry watchers predict that the art of shelf stacking could be threatened as more and more British retailers move towards displaying palletized goods on the shop floor

They've been doing it on the continent for years. Now retailers throughout the UK are also identifying the benefits of being able to get produce or product palletised by the supplier and in front of the customer without the need for handling. Not surprisingly, this is a system which can rapidly speed up stocking and improve the bottom line.

Managing director of the UK's fastest-growing plastic pallets company, goplasticpallets.com, says: "Retail managers are looking at the cost implications and realising that packaging and handling can be significantly reduced."

And, it's all happening pretty fast. A few years ago plastic pallets were purchased by the big pharmaceutical companies and leading food producers to improve hygiene. However, buyers soon realised that in addition to being dust-free, pest-free and easy to clean, plastic pallets also provided a serious return on investment in a closed loop

"Retailers are really starting to see the advantages, especially with the development of RFID. We're getting enquiries all the time and are developing our own range of 'supplier-to-shop-floor' products by working closely with Belgian company, Innova Packaging Systems," says Hardisty.

Their latest product is a half-euro sized pallet, 600x800mm, which weighs-in at 7kg and can be adapted to include lips, or wheels, a company logo or other features. "The half euro has already proved popular with retailers across Europe and I think it will do well here," says Hardisty, "retailers can get samples from us overnight and once an order is received we can usually fulfil it within 24 hours. We hold the largest stocks of plastic pallets in the UK".

So, is this the future? Hardisty thinks it is: "We are seeing all kinds of innovative pallet products which will improve stocking, reduce costs and look good on the shop floor. I think we are witnessing a sea change."

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