Measham, United Kingdom (PressExposure) December 16, 2009 -- A number of years ago PPS set out a programme that involved renting plastic pallets on a cross-industry basis. It became clear early on however, that whilst there was then (and continues today) a move from traditional timber pallets towards plastic pallets, particularly within the food sector, the large volumes would come from crate rental.
Early success in plastic pallet rental lead to enquiries from customers who also wished to rent plastic crates from the company. A large poultry producer with multiple sites offered PPS their first long-term crate rental contract (a contract that runs to this day). So, it was at this time that PPS embarked upon their successful route towards becoming one of the UK's specialist crate rental suppliers.
The management of PPS realised that crate hire was only one part of the service package they wished to offer clients. Crate rental in itself is relatively simple - it's the management of the crates and other rented equipment that offers the greater challenges. And by "equipment management" we mean not only the crate rental and pallet rental but the retrieval of this equipment from third parties at remote locations. Understanding that plastic crates, plastic trays, plastic pallets and also pallet boxes were the working assets of their business, PPS worked with a leading software developer to produce an online asset tracking system which they called "Enable".
The Enable system allows despatch departments to record outward deliveries and also to place forward orders for equipment with the principal - i.e. PPS. In short a client can place orders for crate rental and pallet rental on the system on a 24 hour basis. Critically of course it allows PPS to track all its returnable transit equipment - invaluable as all such equipment is returned to the key PPS locations for cleaning and sterilising before being re-introduced into the crate rental pool.
Any major manufacturer or supplier considering crate rental will firstly consider buying a stock of crates they deem sufficient for outward deliveries. Well, sending them out is the easy part, retrieving used crates from clients often proves somewhat more problematic! Plastic food crates have an almost infinite number of uses - apart from that for which they were purchased, and as such are a very tempting candidate for becoming conveniently "lost". With some plastic crates costing around Â£5 or more, "losses" can quickly mount up.
Manufacturers (or food processing companies in this case) will of course advise their customers that these crates are to be returned. However if they do stray for whatever reason, how far do you go in pursuing the client who has mysteriously "lost" your property, bearing in mind that he is after all a client whom you hope will continue to trade with you.
It is at this point that crate rental becomes a more attractive alternative to the processors. By leaving the provision and supply of crates to a third party who specialise in crate rental, pallet rental and overall returnable transit equipment management, the processor in effect passes responsibility for these to someone like PPS.
Another issue to factor in is the necessary capital expenditure required to purchase a large fleet of plastic crates and plastic pallets. In these difficult financial times, getting the required capex, even for larger companies is by no means a certainty. Crate rental removes this necessity as PPS contracts to supply an agreed number of plastic crates and pallets as part of the overall full service option. It is therefore the responsibility of PPS to ensure sufficient volumes of crates are within their crate rental system to supply each customer's weekly needs.
PPS like to remind potential customers that crate rental is the PPS core business and they specialise in not only offering a seamless crate rental service, but it takes away any responsibility from the food processing company of any involvement in the retrieval of crates, pallets or pallet boxes. It is often with a sense of relief that the responsibility for the management of returnable transit equipment is passed on to PPS. No more arguments with customers about "lost" crates or pallets and who pays for them!
Director of PPS Iain McArthur adds "What we aim for is that our customers no longer worry about or even think about their plastic crate and plastic pallet requirements. We take over that responsibility, allowing our clients to concentrate on their core business. We emphasise that we're in the crate rental business, they're not. By taking on the role of providing the equipment, the crate rental, the washing and sterilising of used crates and pallets we in effect remove a headache from the supply chain which was in the past experienced by our customers. And when it comes to retrieving "lost" equipment we act as the honest broker simply trying to get our assets back. There's therefore less likelihood of any unpleasantness between our clients and their customers on this issue.
We started off with crate rental and plastic pallet rental, but have over time extended that to pallet box rental, metal roll cage rental and we have recently added a roll cage repair and refurbishment and on-site repair services for plastic pallet boxes."
PPS Equipment Management Ltd has its main site at Measham in the Midlands, but will also have a sister site in Grimsby established during the first quarter of 2010. Both sites will have state-of-the-art industrial wash facilities accredited to ISO 22000:2005.