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PIMS Changes Name, Launches New PLUS Phase:Pallet Industry Cooperative Pool Takes Big Steps Forward
Pallet industry cooperative pool takes one big step closer to reality as it officially launches fund raising drive, changes name to PLUS and sets game plan in motion.
By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 5/1/2011
There has been a lot of talk about the Pallet Industry Management System (PIMS) since the conception was first proposed a few years ago. Up until now, it has been just that – mostly talk and planning. The management group behind PIMS, a pallet industry cooperative pool in the United States, is ready to launch the initial phase in the coming months.
As the program officially rolls out, it will launch with a new name. PIMS is no more. Now this freemarket pool will be known as PLUS or Pallet Logistic Unit-load Solutions.
PLUS is designed to be an industry collaboration of pallet producers and recyclers, along with grocery and pharmaceutical customers working to ensure delivery of exceptional pallet quality, performance and durability on an industry-wide basis. This organization will be open to a wide variety of industry players including pallet manufacturers, recyclers, pallet users, depot operators, logistics and trucking companies, and others.
John Swenby, the spokesman for the PIMS leadership team, recently said that their plan is for the program to begin certifying pallets and providing official PLUS pallets to the market by June. Thousands of pallets produced to the PIMS specification although not officially marked have already been provided to Costco vendors over the last several months.
Swenby said, “PLUS will incorporate the best practices of those pools that have come before us, including the EPAL, CPC and private rental pools.”
Although the concept first developed out of leadership within the NWPCA, the U.S. pallet trade association has since distanced itself to allow the fledgling organization to develop on its own and appeal to a wider support base.
The PLUS management team has developed a solid specification using the Pallet Design System. The organization has discussed with suppliers to ensure the ability to procure items needed for the design, and has developed a plan to work with major inspection companies already involved in the heat treat and fumigation programs to add PLUS quality pallet inspections to their list of services.
As part of its launch, PLUS is asking for help to fund the development of the organization. It is seeking a minimum of $200 per month from each participating pallet company and started collecting the money before the end of April. A non-profit company has been incorporated; the first board of directors is in place. The PLUS management team is also working with software suppliers to craft a state-of-the-art tracking system to facilitate the PLUS business model.
Swenby said, “To date all the costs have been covered by the board of directors. As the momentum builds to get PLUS in a position to accept participants, the expenses are growing faster than the few individuals should be expected to contribute. This is an industry solution and needs industry wide support.”
The PLUS leadership team hopes to attract between 300-400 contributors to sign up with a simple monthly credit card charge. All funds raised through these contributions will be used for the startup cost.
In a letter to the industry, the PLUS leadership team stated, “Though PLUS is confident of success there can be no guarantees at this stage that the project will be completed and that funds will not be lost. We all experienced that when we started our own businesses.”
It does appear that getting in on the ground floor may be helpful if
you want to be involved. Without industry support, this initiative will not spring to life.
The PLUS leadership team said, “PLUS is open to all pallet industry members willing to comply with the standards of the organization and able to maintain and meet financial obligations.”
For more information, visit www.plusolutions.org
PLUS Concept in a Nutshell:
• PLUS participants cooperate to form a closed loop national network.
• PLUS high-quality block pallets are sold to buyers from either new pallet manufacturers or recyclers.
• Recyclers facilitate recovery of PLUS assets and repair pallets to a pool standard.
• The PLUS non-profit logistics center tracks pallet movement through the system to identify problem areas concerning loss and breakage.
• Third-party inspection services assure the pallets are built and repaired to the pool standard.
• PLUS is open to all companies willing to comply with program standards as established by the board of directors.
• PLUS is a free market system. Participating pallet buyers can purchase from any PLUS provider they wish, looking for the consistent high-quality PLUS pallet at the best price and finest service.