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Ikea's Challenge to the Wooden Shipping Pallet

Posted November 25, 2011 2:15 PM

From BusinessWeek.com -- Innovation:

The Swedish retailer says it will save millions by switching to paper. For five decades, wood has reigned as the material of choice for the humble shipping pallet, used for moving everything from Wheaties to washing machines. Now, Swedish retailer Ikea is replacing wooden pallets with a paper variant that's lighter, thinner, and-the company says-cheaper to use. "We don't know if the paper pallet will be the ultimate solution, but it's better than wood," says Jeanette Skjelmose, sustainability chief at Ikea's supply-chain unit.

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#1

Re: Ikea's Challenge to the Wooden Shipping Pallet

11/26/2011 1:41 AM

I would have expected Ikea to use pallets that could be assembled and sold as book shelves or dining tables.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Ikea's Challenge to the Wooden Shipping Pallet

11/28/2011 4:29 AM

OK. Here is the news.....

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Re: Ikea's Challenge to the Wooden Shipping Pallet

11/26/2011 4:04 PM

Use it once and toss it out because its junk sounds like Ikea to me.

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Re: Ikea's Challenge to the Wooden Shipping Pallet

11/28/2011 6:33 AM

Is it really better overall? Have IKEA carried out a life-cycle cost analysis? What is the cost of recycling? In Europe, companies need to have a cardboard recycling license, the cost of which is proportional to the amount of cardboard recycled. I wonder if this has been factored into their cost-benefit analysis.

We've just changed substrate supplier. The new one has done away with cardboard boxes and foam inserts (shame as both have second life uses...) for returnable plastic carriers that sit on wooden pallets.

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#5

Re: Ikea's Challenge to the Wooden Shipping Pallet

11/29/2011 10:43 PM

Working with train and semi cargo on 10s of thousands of pallets, I don't think it will take the abuse most high volume cargo gets. Slip sheets are used with special forks that push and pull the sheet into wide forks but don't protect the product much.

As a special onetime use on high value/ low volume products they should be fine. When you have 40 semi loads of apples going onto rail cars in a 12 hour set, the wood pallets have a hard time handling the abuse. With bags of onions the cardboard is not stiff enough with the moisture to not sag. Some dry goods it might work well with. The cost would have to be under a $1.50 to be competitive to a $6.00 pallet used 4 times.

Also in rail cars floor loads are not the norm. 2 and 3 high are and sometimes 4. On semis it is more weight driven. 2 high is normal but apples and other boxed fruit are single pallets 6 to 12 high. These are stored at high humidity (90% plus).

Without actually using them I don't know how they will respond to load shifting and the like.

Also it is my understanding that Euro rail and semi trucks do not carry near the weight per car/axel that the US transports do. If so they may do well in Europe.

Brad

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