Updated: Sep 23, 2018
There are not many options when it comes to selecting a pallet control system. Here we go through some of the considerations in selecting a pallet control system.
Pallet control systems have been gradually evolving and now the trend is towards web and mobile applications.
The major pallet hire companies in Australia, CHEP and Loscam, have both moved to replace their desktop systems with web applications. CHEP replaced their desktop system, CHEPMate, with first Portfolio Plus and now MyCHEP. Loscam replaced their desktop system, HMS, with Loscam Online.
There are independent systems such as PalletWatch which had been develped as a web application right from the start.
Some considerations you need to think about when considering what pallet control system to use are:
Is it a web application? The internet has improved rapidly and is now where the majority of applications reside. If your pallet control system is a web application then it can be deployed rapidly and it is easy for national pallet managers to oversee multiple accounts.
Does it use a SQL database? SQL is a database type which has almost unlimited capacity so lends itself to high volumes. When used with a suitable software language then it can provide a great user experience with excellent response times and reliability. If it uses a Microsoft Access database then it will have limited capacity and you may find yourself having to continually archive transactions to maintain reasonable speed.
Does it have good functionality? Some pallet control systems have limited or poor functionality when it comes to reconciling. If you use these systems then often you have to resort to using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to be able to provide a reconciliation report.
How automated is it? If you have to manually import and export to CHEP and Loscam then it can add unnecessary work for the pallet controller. CHEP are able to provide daily import files so that you can reconcile daily but if you have to manually import these files then it can make it a painful experience. Look for systems that import and export automatically.
Is it easy to use? Pallet control should be straightforward but there are many added complexities to consider. When you have users who need to quickly raise transfers then it is important that it is as easy as possible. Some things to check are whether transit days and delay days are automatically set. One of the advantages of the system being a web application is that training can be done online and over the phone.
Now that there is more pallet control systems to select from price is not as much a factor as it once was.