5 Questions to Ask National Pallet Suppliers | Pallet Consultants
Incorporate the following questions into your RFQ process to gauge potential pallet partners and ensure you get the most qualified provider.
Choosing your national pallet provider is an important decision with millions of dollars on the line. Reliable service and quality pallets are key to maintaining tight delivery schedules and preventing product damage during shipment. Choosing the wrong pallet supplier can result in missed deadlines, decreased efficiency and lowered customer satisfaction. To learn more about our national capabilities and industry-leading customer service, start a conversation with us. To have the best possible experience and ensure your new pallet partnership will meet your needs, ask the following questions:
- What other national accounts have you successfully managed?
- Where are your physical locations?
- How will you ensure quality where you don’t have a physical location?
- What incentive programs do you offer?
- Will I have a dedicated account representative?
Check our blog for all the latest in the pallet industry:
1. What other national accounts have you successfully managed?
Two of the best indicators of supplier competency are current clients and past experience. That’s why the first question asked when qualifying a national pallet provider should focus on accounts they've handled well. Their answer can give you a lot of information, from what industries and networks they are comfortable with to how their practices might work within your business model.
The size, type and locations of those accounts should be compared to your own network. For an inside look at service quality, contacting their clients may also be an option for those who want a firsthand account.
The size of managed accounts and how long they’ve been serviced can also be telling. A pallet company that has been able to retain multiple large clients over a long period of time is likely competent, while those who have a higher client turnover rate may not be able to provide the necessary level of service. A good follow up question may ask what difficulties the pallet company encountered when taking on new national clients and how those challenges were overcome.
2. Where are your physical locations?
Fast delivery times and a short distance between their facility and yours can mean the difference between getting that last-minute pallet order this afternoon rather than tomorrow morning. Every industry is different, but having a pallet provider close by can become a valuable asset for operations running on tight schedules.
A pallet company’s physical locations act as bases of support for your facilities. That support includes everything from off-site sort and repair to pallet delivery and retrieval. The closer you are to the pallet facility, the faster and more flexible the service. Scheduling plays a large part in how important this might be to your situation, but those in dynamic industries can gain a lot of benefit from working with pallet operations that are close.
3. How will you ensure quality where you don’t have a physical location?
Even pallet companies with a large number of locations across the country may have some areas where they can’t service your facilities directly. In these cases, your warehouses will have to be serviced by a third party through a brokered arrangement.
This is an opportunity to assess how your potential pallet supplier will handle your locations outside of their facilities' range. The following questions will help you gauge the competency of their affiliate network:
- How good is their relationship with their brokerage partners in the areas that you’d be receiving the service?
- How have other customers liked the brokered service?
- What measures are in place to ensure pallets from the brokered partner will meet the same standards as the national pallet company?
- If there are issues with pallet or service quality, how confident is the national pallet company that they can resolve the issue?
National pallet providers should have answers ready for all of these related concerns.
4. What incentive programs do you offer?
This question gets down to the dollars and cents of your potential business relationship. Finding out potential incentive programs may open new negotiation possibilities. With large national accounts, pallet companies are often willing to include bonuses or be more flexible with pricing and service bundles. Knowing what is most important to your network and business model will give you the clearest idea of what would or wouldn’t make a deal work.
Whether the discussion is related to deadlines, cost, service level or other important factors, incentives may be given on:
- Total pallet management pricing
- Pallet sorting and retrieval costs
- Credit or payment given for used or scrap pallets
- Order scheduling deadlines
- Dedicated inventory storage
- Pallet pricing
- Related services like recycling and heat treatment
5. Will I have a dedicated account representative?
Communication is key to a good working relationship with your pallet company, and having a dedicated account representative is the best way to ensure quick and easy contact. Dedicated representatives only manage one account, and they are responsible for your customer satisfaction. Although dedicated representatives are common, they may not be offered in every situation or to every account.
Knowing whether or not your account would receive a dedicated representative could be an influencing factor in your decision making. Dedicated account representatives streamline the communication process between your company and the pallet supplier, especially when applied at the national level. Rather than speaking to local pallet offices to address questions or issues for your affected facilities, the representative will facilitate that communication. As a direct liaison between you and the pallet company, their function is to handle and address changes in orders, emergency situations, general questions, delivery issues and any other problems.
Pallet Consultants has been in the pallet industry since 1996 and has gained a reputation for quality products, competitive services and industry-leading customer service. We offer a wide variety of pallet products, services and consultation programs around the country and across industries. Ask us the five questions mentioned in this blog to learn how we’re uniquely suited to handling your national pallet needs in a way that keeps quality consistent and puts your customer satisfaction first.
Whether you need to buy pallets, sell pallets or have us handle your entire inventory for you, Pallet Consultants has the solutions to optimize your facility anywhere in the United States. We service clients nationally with a focus on customer service, dependability and speed. Start a conversation with us and see how we can improve your supply chain and offer you industry-leading service.