Receiving pallets at your site

I was chatting to a pallet controller of a major retailer about the difficulties she faces in dealing with transfer ons for deliveries to her distribution centres. It is a problem faced by most retailers or anyone who receives pallets at a site. I have come across the same problem in some of the accounts we help manage.

The problem has three elements:

· Drivers turning up without a pallet docket.

· Drivers presenting the wrong pallet docket.

· Drivers presenting more than one pallet docket for the same pallets.

In the main, the root cause of the problem lies with the carrier. Many carriers have inadequate controls over pallet documentation. When a driver does his pickups and returns to his depot paperwork is split up and pallet transfers can get separated from other documentation provided by the sender.

If the transfer was to be direct from the sender to the receiver then it can mean that the sender’s pallet docket does not accompany the pallets to the receiver. What happens then? Either the driver is unable to provide a pallet docket or he provides one from the carrier’s account to the receiver.

There are a number of actions the receiver can take:

Missing pallet docket

If a driver is unable to provide a pallet docket then there should be no exchange of empty pallets for full ones. What can happen is that the sender raises a transfer and requests the receiver to accept it. The sender can usually provide proof in the form of signed con notes, etc.

If pallets had been exchanged there is often no record of this having been done and if the receiver accepts the transfer then the receiver will have lost pallets.

The advice we give if a driver cannot provide a pallet docket is:

· No pallet exchange.

· Ask the driver to get a pallet docket emailed through to the receiver. If this is not possible then record the details in a Missing Docket form or in an inwards receipt book.

· The receiver should not raise a pallet docket on behalf of the sender or the carrier.

If it is a common occurrence with a carrier then discuss the problem and, if possible, have a meeting with the carrier and/or the sender.

Wrong pallet docket

When pallets are received the forklift driver should check the receiving account details to ensure that the transfer is for his account. if the transfer is from the sender to the carrier then the should be asked to get a correct pallet docket emailed or for the driver to write one up.

More than one pallet docket for the same pallets

Drivers sometimes present a pallet docket from the sender to the receiver but also from the carrier to the receiver. The receiving forklift driver should ensure that he signs only one pallet docket for the pallets. This should generally be the one from the sender to the receiver.

Other thoughts

· The receiver could stipulate that senders must transfer to the carrier and the carrier must transfer to the receiver. This could present some legal issues as the sender is forcing the carrier to operate a pallet account. If in doubt you could check with your legal support or the ACCC. · If you stipulate that the transfer must always be from the sender, then there could be occasions where the carrier has to consolidate cartons on to a pallet for delivery to the receiver.

· It may be difficult to maintain but you could have a list of senders and how their pallets should be transferred, i.e. from the sender to receiver or from carrier to receiver.

· Having your receiving staff trained adequately in doing the basic right will go a long way to keeping on top of this problem. Good communication with other pallet controllers will also help.

· Use a date receival stamp.

· Create a pallet policy document and distribute it to senders and carriers detailing what your rules are.

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