Measham, United Kingdom (PressExposure) November 09, 2009 -- PPS Equipment Management Ltd is based at Measham in the geographic centre of the UK and specialises in the management of returnable transit equipment (RTE) The main items the company handles are plastic food crates and plastic pallets, as well as, roll cages and crate hire.
Most of the PPS client base is in the food sectors, and it has a major customer who packs raw poultry meat into the PPS crates prior to dispatch. Furthermore these crates are then loaded on to plastic pallets for transport.
Due to the nature then of this business, PPS must ensure that all its equipment reaches the highest hygiene standards and has been a staunch supporter of the use of plastic pallets within the food industry for a number of years
A recent survey in the USA tested a number of timber pallets over a given period and over one-third of those pallets tested positive for a range of Salmonella, Listeria and had a very high bacteria count indicating possible unsanitary conditions which may just pose a threat to food safety.
PPS has been aware of these factors for a number of years and has campaigned for food companies to consider the use of plastic pallets, especially within the food sector. Another factor to note, according to PPS is that plastic pallets use no nails in their construction - the obvious implication being that rusty nails may protrude from the wooden pallet joints and could penetrate food packaging. There are also reports of staff manhandling pallets and being injured by protruding nails.
Although this message is rather clear, PPS fully acknowledges that plastic pallets are more expensive than their timber counterparts, they are more attractive and therefore more likely to become "lost" within the supply chain. In short the driving factor when it comes to pallet use is not hygiene but economics - in other words although it would make more sense to use plastic pallets from a cleanliness perspective, timber pallets are cheaper.
PPS does however offer a way to allow firms to use plastic pallets but without the upfront expense of purchasing them. PPS offers a system whereby it will rent to users plastic pallets on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis, so preventing that user from having to find extensive capital expenditure for initial stock. However, this does not solve the long-standing problem of third parties who claim to have "lost" the plastic pallets. What's more, how do you handle the situation where you know your valued customer has in some way misused your plastic pallet? Do you adopt a robust tone and demand he compensates you for the so-called "lost" pallet, bearing in mind he is after all a good customer from whom you expect ongoing business?
PPS has addressed this problem by offering clients what it terms a "full option" programme for the use of RTE, and in this case specifically plastic pallets and plastic food crates.
This is how it works - the PPS customer places an order for an agreed number of plastic pallets and food crates. This is done via "Enable" the PPS proprietary online asset tracking system. PPS delivers this agreed number of pallets and crates to the customer, who in turn packs his goods into the crates and onto the pallets. The goods (now on the PPS crates and pallets) are despatched to third parties and details of the transaction such as location and quantity of pallets and crates despatched is entered into the Enable system.
So, now PPS arranges with the third parties an agreed collection schedule for the used crates and pallets. Any discrepancy between pallets and crates despatched and those being collected is handled and managed by PPS, so divorcing the supplier from any possible unpleasantness in the determination of the location of the asset (in this case a plastic pallet or crate).
All the pallets and crates are then returned to the PPS site in the Midlands where a modern state-of-the-art wash plant is located. The pallets and crates are washed to the highest standards (the plant was recently accredited to ISO 22000) before being returned to the rental pool for the next rotation.
Director of PPS, Iain McArthur said "We have been preaching the advantages and benefits of plastic pallets for years. It's very frustrating when we speak to potential customers who fully understand the risks of using timber pallets, and would very much like to switch to plastic but are more influenced by the bottom line than the hygiene question.
We have all heard the frightening stories of contamination of food products by foreign obstacles, and how this ultimately affects the sales of that product. We at PPS feel that more food companies in particular should consider the change to plastic pallets now. We do understand that in the current economic climate capital expenditure restrictions may prevent an interested user to switch to plastic, but our rental or management system allows them to rent pallets - and not only that, we can arrange to collect them from third parties, wash them and return them!"