Inhouse or Outsourced
There can be little doubt that if you have a good pallet controller on your staff then they should be able to perform the task better than an external company. This is particularly true for transport companies. We provide pallet management services so we do have some knowledge on the subject. An inhouse pallet controller should be better equipped to ensure that standard procedures are being followed and can quickly react to failures in pallet control.
Why then do so many companies outsource their pallet management to companies such as Pallet Loss Prevention. There are a number of reasons.
Gain a Quick Improvement
If you are in a loss situation and you need to quickly achieve quantum improvements and "stop the bleeding" then a combination of inhouse and outsourced resources could be a good option.
When things are not going well it is essential to get operations quickly under control. Operations are where the basics need to be done, such as getting pallet dockets signed, returning documentation to the pallet controller, etc.
This area where the basics need to be done well is often best addressed by having an inhouse pallet controller focus on bringing about quick improvements.
In a small organisation the inhouse pallet controller could improve the Operations area whilst still managing to undertake the reconciling or administration role. In larger organisations, particularly with carriers, an outsourced resource can take on the reconciliation role and allow the inhouse pallet controller to improve Operations.
Lack of Inhouse Skills
Many companies do not have an individual with the experience and skills needed for the role of pallet controller. An inexperienced or unsuitable pallet controller can do a lot of damage within a short period of time. Some of the best pallet controllers I know have either been around a long time or they are new to pallet control but they have boundless energy and a keen desire to learn.
Often a third party pallet control company can provide the services at a lower cost than an inhouse pallet controller. Having said that many pallet controllers believe that their role is underpaid. It is fair to say that in some companies management do not fully appreciate the value of a good pallet controller. There are other companies who are known for providing good remuneration for their pallet controllers.
An external pallet control company is better equipped to cover the absence of the pallet controller. In some companies there is no backup pallet controller and thus there can be minimal pallet control being undertaken if the pallet controller is away.
Pallet Control Systems
Some inhouse pallet controllers may have difficulty getting approval to use any system other than the systems provided by CHEP and Loscam. Some external companies, such as Pallet Loss Prevention, can offer the state of the art PalletWatch system.
If you do have a good inhouse pallet controller then it is important to take whatever steps you can to retain them. There is a learning curve for a new employee and thus short term appointments can be damaging.