Produce distributor turns pallets into a competitive edge
Manufacturer uses display-ready, shared half pallets to eliminate product damage and customer complaints.
By Josh Bond, Senior Editor · April 12, 2018
Melon 1, America’s largest watermelon shipper, ships its watermelons nationwide from packing sheds and other distribution points on the East Coast. Because freshness is vital and harvest dates depend on Mother Nature, the company partnered with a pallet provider to ensure its supply chain can react quickly when needed.
The partnership goes back nearly 20 years, according to co-owner Rich Chastain, who says it plays an essential role in simplifying the supply chain. The pallet provider’s network and pooled pallets create time and cost savings, and removing the need for disposable pallets allows Melon 1 to be more efficient and more sustainable.
“In farming, sustainability is everything,” Chastain says. “Our partnership makes an enormous environmental difference for us and everyone we work with.”
For example, the Melon 1 team packed almost 440,000 pallets (CHEP,) of watermelons in 2017 and only required one person to track the shipments. Another supply chain advantage is the pallet provider’s on-site pallet storage program. Chastain says on-site storage does more than streamline the supply chain; it delivers peace of mind. Operations managers know pallets are available whenever they need them. In fiscal year 2018, Melon 1 plans to store more than 100,000 pallets at eight East Coast locations. In addition, Chastain says the pallet supplier has recently begun providing pallets for Melon 1 shipments from Central America to the United States.
From 2009 to 2017, the partnership has prevented nearly 1.7 million pounds of solid waste going to landfills, reduced nearly 1.3 million pounds of carbon emissions, and created additional transportation efficiencies through on-site pallet storage for reduced carbon emissions.