November-December 2020

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28 PalletCentral • November-December 2020 T he mission of the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) is to provide an environment for our members to succeed while promoting the wood pallet and wood packaging industry. Our members include with more than 670 company members in 28 countries who manufacture, repair and distribute pallets and wood packaging in unit-load solutions, or who supply products and services to the industry. Therefore, we have a good view of the importance of wooden pallets on the world's supply chain. Setting the Stage While managers of supply chains, logistics, materials and/or procurement have supply chain and its issues top of mind, it's not really top of mind for the average consumer. At least, it wasn't until a few months ago. That's when COVID-19 thrust the supply chain into the spotlight – exposing its vulnerabilities and, for excellent supply chains, their resiliency. As the everyday consumer began to take note as they waited for shipments of essential supplies to hit the shelves of their local grocery stores, and more, we saw an uprising of organizations reassess their supply chain risks, redefine their supplier relationships and even revisit their overall structure and design. Furthermore, investors wanted to support the supply chains that were sustainable and resilient. This leads us to today when it has become harder and harder for organizations to deny the impact their supply chain has on not just the way goods travel to end users, but also the environment. Not just during, but after COVID-19, we will all continue to assess and redefine the supply chain. As that happens, as an industry we must make sure we are considering all the big tech trends, as well as the most innovative, cutting edge solutions for suppliers of wooden pallets. This is just as much about the basics of supply chain as it is the future of it. We must continue to share the impact that wooden pallets and containers have on the supply chain as an important stakeholder, especially how it impacts up the chain of supply and demand for the industry's customer base. What Matters Most to Our Customers As the industry's advocate, NWPCA heard from experts in the supply chain including their ideas, concerns and questions. And, they helped us understand what was most important to them. While most of these professionals didn't "see" the pallet, they did see real challenges that needed to be addressed. Areas such as: 1. Sustainability 2. Reusability and recyclability 3. Strength, durability and customization As we dreamt up and debated the components of a resilient supply chain, we found that most supply chain professionals didn't take into consideration the invisible heroes that keep supply chain intact. We are working to change this perception, and enlighten supply chain architects that the pallet was designed to fulfill a real need – not just a want. And that's largely why, for many years, as you well know it has become the solution for supply chains across the globe. The good news coming out of the COVID landscape is that it has significantly helped to raise the profile of the wooden pallet, as almost every supply chain is being reimagined your supply chain in the process. But, we still have some work to do in the process. The Supply Chain's UNSUNG HERO REPORT By Annette Ferri Proving the value of the wooden pallet is easy when you consider all the facts. The Wooden Pallet

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