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  4. How to pick the perfect pallet network – part 1

As is the case with any new business partnership, choosing a pallet network to meet your distribution needs should be a considered and informed choice.

However, for those with limited experience of the sector it can be a little daunting. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the top elements to consider to ensure you forge a lasting and beneficial relationship.

Our top 10 has been split into two handy instalments, so below, we kick things off with part one:

Quality & reliability

No matter how big or small, you should be confident that your freight is always being well looked after. Therefore, it’s important to establish the processes that a network has in place to ensure that you and your customers will receive a quality and reliable service.

Find out if they hold any ISO accreditations, which acts as a symbol of quality assurance. You should also be asking about auditing systems to establish if operations are constantly being monitored and reviewed, as well as about training procedures. A network with a quality focus should also have no problem providing you with details on things like scanning accuracy and late trunks too.

IT

It’s so important to be kept up-to-date with the progress of your freight’s journey. In this hyper-digital age, customers have come to expect information at the tip of their fingertips.

Your customers will be asking you for the same information, so it’s vital you ask about a network’s IT capabilities.

Do they offer real-time proof of delivery? Are you going to receive full visibility throughout the entire delivery process? How do they handle shipping documentation? These are all important things for you to find out.

The best businesses will always be looking to improve and stay ahead of the technological curve, so make sure you ask about planned advancements and new technology that’s in the pipeline. They may not be able to provide you with all of the details but it’s good to know they are looking to the future.

No matter how big or small, you should be confident that your freight is always being well looked after.


Value for money rates

Remember that the best value for money doesn’t necessarily mean just going for the cheapest option. You should consider exactly what you’re getting for your investment and do your research.

Don’t be afraid to ask some tough questions. Ask to see things like KPIs for damages and on-time delivery rates. Any decent network should easily provide you with this kind of information. Your deliveries and collections are a reflection of your brand in the eyes of your customers, so you will undoubtedly want to offer them the very best in terms of both value and quality. It’s about finding that balance and remembering that a super cheap option can sometimes leave your customers feeling short-changed in terms of service levels.


Connected

You should find out all of the delivery options available to you. You may have read up on how a specific pallet network operates here in the UK but what about further afield? You should be asking how expansive their operations across Europe are and about any key differences in service levels across the continent.

Find out if both UK and Euro pallet sizes can be transported throughout the entire network, if IT systems cover the whole of Europe, how the tariff rate is worked out and ask for details on delivery schedules and if they are day specific.

Ultimately, you need to know if it’s going to be as easy for you to send freight from Leeds to Lisbon as it is from Brighton to Bradford.

Customer service

Ensure that the pallet network you’re speaking to has a dedicated customer service team who are on hand to answer any queries you have. There’s nothing worse than trying to solve an issue via someone who’s juggling several jobs at once. It can leave you feeling like you aren’t important and that should never be the case.

If you’re using a European service, you should also find out how the network handles issues or questions about operations on the continent. Are you expected to deal with each country individually and do they have an English-speaking customer representative to help you?

For example, at Pall-Ex, we have a dedicated international customer service desk that’s based in the UK. Our representatives will log all the details of your enquiry and then liaise with the relevant international partner on your behalf, getting back to you ASAP with a response. Hassle-free!

We would love to know if there are other major things you look out for when choosing a logistics partner and, remember, if you have any questions about the above, our team is on hand to help.

Keep an eye out for part two, coming soon!