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Canadian Pallet Council Meeting Highlights Strategic Initiatives
Members of Canadian Pallet Council gather for annual meeting and get a look at new Web-based computer software for managing pallets and containers.
By PE Staff
Date Posted: 7/1/2003
COBOURG, Ontario — The Canadian Pallet Council (CPC) recently held its annual conference and meeting with the theme, ‘The Future Is Now.’ The event reaffirmed the CPC is forging ahead with innovative ideas, renewed commitment and a new corporate look.
"CPC’s mission is to provide the consumer goods industry supply chain with the most cost effective returnable pallet standards and interchange system in Canada," said John Stephens of A&P, who was re-elected as chairman of the board.
The CPC is a non-profit organization of nearly 1,300 members that manages a low cost, efficient, pallet ownership and interchange service for the North American consumer products industry. Members include suppliers and manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers, public warehouses, transport carriers, and pallet manufacture, repair, rental and retrieval companies. The CPC has over 7 million distinctive orange pallets in circulation.
The CPC is implementing strategic initiatives to increase quality and reduce costs, improve ease-of-use, strengthen and maintain market share, and enhance the organization’s effectiveness, John noted. "These changes demonstrate that CPC is proactively building a stronger cooperative for our members and the food and consumer goods industry."
CPC membership remains strong, reported president Belinda Junkin. The organization ended 2002 with 1,292 members. "In an on-going environment of mergers and acquisitions in both the retailer, distributor and supplier communities, this is a strong stable membership base," she told the group.
The CPC welcomed 127 companies as members in 2002. "These companies have evaluated their options and chosen the CPC as their pallet program," said Belinda.
The CPC pallet pool was estimated at 7.6 million pallets at the end of 2002, a marginal decrease from the previous year, Belinda reported. The majority of the CPC pallet pool is owned and used by a small number of players that are major companies in the grocery industry, she noted.
Pallet sales increased 24% in 2002 compared to 2001, Belinda reported. The largest increase was in sales of used pallets. Of the over 920,000 pallets sold in Canada in 2002, 24% were new and 76% were used.
Speakers at the annual meeting focused on two main concerns – pallet costs and controlling pallets. The CPC is moving forward with new, unique tools to assist members in understanding pallet costs and managing pallet assets.
David Luton, a consultant, reported on a cost analysis that he performed, comparing CPC versus CHEP, the pallet rental company. "CPC saves the Canadian consumer goods industry approximately $70 to $100 million per year," he said.
"The CPC is the low cost system provider of pallets in Canada," added Belinda, "and without the competition provided by the CPC, CHEP costs in Canada would definitely increase, reflecting rates and systems found in other markets."
A supplier pallet cost model was presented by consultants Paul Jobe and Rick Rye. This innovative program was developed for CPC members and will assist companies with calculating their annual pallet costs. It breaks down costs to calculate the cost per pallet shipped or allocate pallet costs on a per case or unit basis. It will be a welcome addition to people in pallet management, assisting with budgeting and providing ‘what-if’ analysis at the push of a button.
The next generation of CPC pallet management software is currently in development. It will be a Web-based system. A committee has been working to develop and test the new system; the development team consists of Sobeys, Armour Transport and Kraft Canada.
The new Web-based software was presented by Alex Bird of Fideliter Consulting (representing CPC), Victor Cheng of iLogic, Chris Brown of Kraft, Darrell Dunkin of Armour Transport and Kevin Westoby, iLogic. They demonstrated automated data entry, automated period end ledgers, and on-line account reconciliation. Members observed pallet transactions from a distributor, supplier and carrier view.
"To date the pilot results have been extremely positive" said Alex. "The end product is certain to amaze." The Web-based system "will revolutionize the way pallets are managed in Canada," he added. Before the end of the meeting, members were lining up to view the demonstration and try their hand at the web-based program.
The CPC is guided by a strategic plan, and a number of its initiatives were highlighted throughout the annual meeting to demonstrate that the CPC is dedicated to ensure competition and choice for pallet services.
One of the biggest hurdles for CPC concerns administrative ease-of-use for tracking pallets and containers, which the new Web-based pallet asset management program is designed to address. The target date for implementing the new program in the industry is January 2004.
Another CPC strategic initiative that is underway is an aggressive marketing and sales plan to strengthen and maintain market share. The goal of the plan is to position and reinforce the CPC as the leading cost-effective pallet service in Canada.
Another initiative is to increase pallet quality and reduce costs by ensuring that more pallets are repaired and exchanged with the utmost quality. The CPC is dedicated to focusing its resources on improving the quality of CPC pallets, which will reduce pallet costs for all members.
The final strategic initiative calls for refocusing the organization to improve effectiveness. The CPC will build or re-allocate resources, clarify board member roles and engage in a board of directors recruiting drive.
Members elected a new board of directors, representing all the stakeholder groups within the CPC – product manufacturers and suppliers, retail and distributors, pallet suppliers, the transportation industry, third–party warehousing and logistics, and trade associations.
Another highlight of the annual meeting was the presentation of achievement awards. This year the CPC honored Miriam Accardo of Sobeys Inc. with the Les Smith Award for excellence in pallet administration. Paul Favro of Mother Parkers received the Bernard Brunet Award in recognition of leadership and support of the CPC.
The underlying focus of the annual meeting demonstrated that the CPC is undergoing considerable change. With renewed commitment, the CPC is striving to be a stronger, viable organization into the future.