Title page for ETD etd-05112010-020324


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Engle, Catherine Anna
URN etd-05112010-020324
Title Factors influencing pallet material substitution by the U.S. grocery distribution industry
Degree Master of Science
Department Wood Science and Forest Products
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bush, Robert J. Committee Chair
Sullivan, Jay Committee Member
West, Cynthia D. Committee Member
White, Marshall S. Committee Member
Keywords
  • Grocery trade
Date of Defense 1994-05-05
Availability restricted
Abstract

Persons involved in pallet decisions at U.S. grocery distribution centers were surveyed to investigate the degree of material substitution, assess factors influencing pallet material substitution, and quantify consumer perceptions of wood pallets compared to substitutes. A total of 444 questionnaires were mailed nationwide. Underlying reasons for material substitution were investigated through in-depth interviews with 20 respondents.

Cost per use was considered by grocery distributors to be the Persons involved in pallet decisions at U.S. grocery distribution centers were surveyed to investigate the degree of material substitution, assess factors influencing pallet material substitution, and quantify consumer perceptions of wood pallets compared to substitutes. A total of 444 questionnaires were mailed nationwide. Underlying reasons for material substitution were investigated throug h in-depth interviews with 20 respondents.

Cost per use was considered by grocery distributors to be the Persons involved in pallet decisions at U.S. grocery distribution centers were surveyed to investigate the degree of material substitution, assess factors influencing pallet material substitution, and quantify consumer perceptions of wood pallets compared to substitutes. A total of 444 questionnaires were mailed nationwide. Underlying reasons for material substitution were investigated throug h in-depth interviews with 20 respondents.

Cost per use was considered by grocery distributors to be the most important factor when choosing a pallet to be sent downstream to their customers. Common advantages of solid wood pallets reported by respondents included: availability, low initial cost, durability/stability (the ability of the pallet to be racked and hold the necessary weight with little deflection), industry standard, ability to exchange, ease of repair. Common disadvantages of solid wood pallets reported by respondents included: easily damaged, short life, high repair and replacement costs, heavy, inconsistent construction, and damages product

. Advantages of plastic pallets reported by respondents included: light weight, durability, longer life, true four-way entry, and ability to nest. Plastic pallets were perceived to be superior to wood pallets in terms of overall performance, durability, and recyclability. Although 100 percent of the responding companies use solid wood pallets to ship goods to customers, approximately 20 percent of the companies also use plastic pallets (the dominant substitute pallet material) for this purpose. The common plastic pallet used by respondents was of the twin sheet thermoform type. The primary reason for switching to plastic pallets was perceived overall cost savings resulting from long pallet life.

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