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You Can’t Have Excellent Pallet Management Without a Formal Quality Program

Gregg Elam

From measuring pallet performance to building  customer confidence, a quality assurance program is key to the success of every organization. See how we do it and help our customers benefit.


Depending on your business, and personal experiences, the words “quality assurance” likely either cause you to lean in or shutter slightly. It’s a vital part of nearly every organization, but how well do you know and understand the philosophy and processes behind a company’s promise?

Measuring Quality Beyond Product Performance

We take our quality program very seriously. To our team, it goes well beyond making sure our pallets perform. 48forty’s comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS) is woven throughout the fabric of our business. It’s the very foundation of our culture. 

Our goal is to achieve and maintain 100% resolution and 100% customer satisfaction. Every single day. Each member of our team knows this goal and understands their role in helping us achieve it. This may seem nearly impossible and we’d be remiss if we didn’t admit that errors do happen. But, by taking a bold approach to quality standards, we’ve created a culture of collaboration, innovation, and partnership in helping our customers succeed. When all 2,000+ of our team members are rowing the same direction, anything is possible.

[Recently switched from new to recycled pallets? Make it a seamless transition with these five tips.] 

Processes Designed to Build Confidence

Our QMS includes strategically designed processes that go well beyond a typical checks-and-balances approach. Clearly identified goals for our company, each facility, and ultimately, customer satisfaction create its core. From there, global and industry standards help establish basic guidelines and detailed areas of focus form the inner workings of the program.

Each member of our team is trained on and has access to the specific details that create the following elements of our QMS:  

  • Quality expectations: Each team member understands how our pallets are built, graded, and can take ownership in the value they bring to the process.
  • Our builder-training program: Establish consistency and ongoing communication for transparency and continuous improvement.
  • Lean Manufacturing: Pursue responsible business and manufacturing practices to have a greater positive environmental impact.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Support our efforts in collecting and analyzing data to improve our product and services.
  • Voice of the customer processes: Actively collect compliments and complaints to support ongoing customer success.
  • Tracking and measuring tools: Individual pallets are marked to identify who built/repaired it, where it is at any given time, and how it’s performing.
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Ensure our team can carry out complex and routine processes.
  • Good Manufacturing Processes (GMPs): Create a seamless operation at each location to establish consistency and/or identify unique needs.
  • Kaizen events/Pallet Design System (PDS) Support: As a leader in the recycled pallet industry, we are intentional in our efforts to continually improve, from the inside out.

[When it comes to choosing a pallet supplier, site visits have never been more necessary. Here's how to ensure your pallet supplier's bid matches their capabilities.]

Keeping Our Customers’ Operation in Focus

While many of the elements of our QMS focus on our internal teams and how we operate, these processes are ultimately created in an effort to learn and continuously improve how we serve our customers and support their success. Through ongoing training, auditing, and monitoring, we’re equipped to provide the highest level of corrective and preventative actions. 

For our customers, this often is felt when a pallet is no longer performing as it should. If a pallet does not meet spec or there is some other issue, we immediately replace the pallet(s) as part of our formal resolution process. This way, our customer’s operation experiences minimal (if any) impact. However, resolution doesn’t end there. Our QMS also features Root Cause Corrective Action (RCCA) protocols to help us understand if an issue is isolated or recurring. This allows our team to take the necessary steps to effectively correct an issue and prevent it from negatively impacting other customers.  

Considering again, our goal of reaching and maintaining 100% customer satisfaction, we don’t simply replace pallets and move on from the complaint or failed performance. Our team follows up on any negative feedback immediately following the incident and again at 30, 60, and 90 days. This allows our customers to share their experiences with our product, as well as facilitates open communication and ultimately helps us provide the best possible service.

From onboarding throughout our partnership with a customer, 48forty’s QMS plays an ever-present role in the relationship. Its value goes well beyond ensuring high-performing pallets; rather, it gives customers back time to focus on other areas of their business and builds confidence in their own success. Uniting our team members and customers through quality assurance is how we continue to elevate our efforts toward achieving and maintaining 100% resolution and 100% customer satisfaction.

As you evaluate potential pallet suppliers, consider if and how they set and adhere to quality standards. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our program and the benefits for your business.

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Gregg Elam

Gregg Elam is the Environmental, Health & Safety Regional Execution Manager at 48forty. He has over 27 years of experience in operations, commercial sales, and management. He is passionate about building relationships and working hard.