The idea is very simple: to exchange empty pallets for loaded ones and vice versa… but in practice, there are a number of pitfalls. An additional obstacle is the paperwork involved, or, to be more accurate, the pallet receipt form. An app can help.
Count them up, size up the quality, sign the receipt and manually enter the data: if you take a close look at pallet exchange, as logistics company Timocom* has done, it becomes clear that this typically manual process is time-consuming. And as if the driver did not have enough work on their hands with putting away an empty pallet weighing 23 kilos, they often become involved in arguments – because opinions can differ as to whether a pallet is still fit for purpose. Going digital can help to accelerate and streamline this often laborious chore.
Automation for a smoother pallet lifecycle
One possible way of improving pallet exchange is the result of a joint project on the part of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML)* in association with GPAL (the German branch of the European Pallet Association): the PalletCheck Express app.
The solution is time-saving and simple: “The user simply takes a photo of the pile of pallets, the app counts them up, and automatically sends the exchange document by email. This contains the exact number of pallets, the location and the time. The exchange process is therefore quick, simple, reliable and digitally documented,” explains Martin Fiedler, an IT expert and head of the AutoID Technologies team at Fraunhofer IML in conversation with Timocom. It is also an objective way of assessing the condition of pallets. As a result, all stakeholders are able to work more quickly and efficiently, and concentrate on more important tasks.