Travel essentials retailer Strandbags recently fit out its Sydney distribution centre with Ozkor plastic pallets. MHD finds out how plastic pallets are lifting Strandbags’ operation to new levels.
In a departure from the conventional tradition of using wooden pallets, fashion bag, luggage and travel essentials retailer Strandbags Pty Ltd has fitted its 15,000 sqm distribution centre in Sydney’s western suburb of Erskine Park with up to 6000 plastic pallets in order to store its wide range of products. This DC services over 260 Strandbags retail stores in Australia and New Zealand and fulfils both wholesale and online orders for the recently acquired Antler Luggage brand in Australia.
“This was the culmination of a two-year project and is expected to accommodate our operational requirements for years to come,” says Tim Myers, Global Head of Logistics for Strandbags. “Our team have worked closely with plastic pallet manufacturer Ozkor Pty Ltd, and after many hours of testing the Expal-1140 model, including an eight-month trial period to ensure the product met the required standards, 6000 Expal-1140 pallets were phased in to synchronise with the gradual warehouse expansion over time”.
When Strandbags first considered the advantages of using plastic pallets, as opposed to the timber units, it needed to consider how it would impact operational needs. The final determining factors were based on time saving efficiencies, a reduction in the need for mechanical handling resources, and OH&S issues associated with materials handling accidents.
Tim explains: “On the one hand, if we used traditional timber pallets our order picking staff could not pick one up because they were too heavy and staff had to wait around for a forklift to do the lifting. The Ozpal-1140 pallets weigh only eight kilograms, which means pallets can easily be picked up and replaced in our live storage racking by our team of pickers regardless of their size or strength. Additionally, as we only load between 250-300 kg on the pallets we also didn’t need a pallet to rack with a very high safe working load.”
Made from 100 per cent re-granulated polypropylene material, the Expal-1140 pallet was originally designed for export purposes as an alternative to timber, and according to Ozkor Marketing Manager Alan Morgan its popularity with Australian exporters has increased over time as more overseas customers express a preference for non – timber alternatives.
“Concerns about meeting international quarantine regulations that comply with ISPM-15 as well as the need to heat, treat, or fumigate timber pallets has influenced many exporters to use the low cost Ozkor plastic ‘Expal-1140’ pallet,” Alan says. “Other factors such as hygiene and waste management are also important considerations according to our customer feedback research.
“This particular plastic pallet also has a residual value; overseas customers can reuse it or even resell to other exporters, thereby not only retrieving some costs but also saving on waste disposal expenses associated with cheap single-use timber pallets,” he added.
While timber pallets will no doubt be with us for some time to come there appears to be no doubt that plastic alternatives for many diverse applications are becoming increasingly more attractive for a growing number of industries both in Australia and overseas. This is particularly relevant when considering shortages of wooden pallets currently being experienced throughout the Australian supply chain.