European pallet pooling provider La Palette Rouge (LPR) was founded in Toulouse in 1992 and now has a network spanning the whole of Europe across eight subsidiaries. The company, which counts global brands such as Kellogg’s, Nestlé and Weetabix among its customers, is now set to add to its Scottish operations.
LPR first expanded into the United Kingdom in 2003 after signing a major contract with Kimberly-Clark and has now grown to a pool of over two and a half million pallets in Britain. The company has enjoyed a 30% annual growth rate between 2011 and 2015. In that time, the UK and Ireland subsidiary has expanded from 14 employees to 50.
Joe Hebblewhite, commercial manager for the UK and Ireland arm, said the company is dedicated to the FMCG sector. “Our offering is focused on quality,” he explained. “All our pallets go through our depot network where they’re sorted and, if necessary, repaired to the right specification before they’re sent back out into the marketplace.”
Hebblewhite believes it is the excellent quality of the company’s pallets and the relationships they build and maintain with their customer base that makes LPR stand out. “We really get to know our customers,” he said. “We get to know their business, their operation and the flow of pallets around their supply chain. We get to know different people within their organization so that we can help on different projects and we collaborate as much as possible. We’re all about customer collaboration and customer intimacy.”
A Variety of Pallet Options
The company offers a range of different pallet types, including a model specifically for the UK market. “It’s actually quite different to the rest of Europe because the UK has a unique UK-sized pallet, which is 1000mm x 1200mm. Although they do use it elsewhere in Europe, it is very much for the UK market,” Hebblewhite stated. “The UK distribution sector has been built around the standardized specification of pallets so everything is built in uniformity.” This, he noted, includes manufacturing facilities, material handling systems, and distribution centers.
LPR also offers the 800mm x 1200mm Euro pallet, which, according to Hebblewhite, is being increasingly used in the UK with the rise of European discounters, and the Dusseldorfer pallet, which is made of plastic, wood, and metal. “They are most commonly used for the drinks sector and also used for display purposes,” Hebblewhite explained. The company also offers plastic pallets used for end-of-aisle displays in supermarkets.
LPR is now actively looking to expand its Scottish operations and the business has a depot at Mossend Euro Central in Glasgow. “We are looking to significantly invest in our Scottish operation as it grows,” Hebblewhite said. “So our plan for the next two years is to invest in the opportunities that we have in Scotland by developing our depot network to offer more flexibility to Scottish based customers.
The company is looking to build on recent success. Receiving the UK pallet contract for Nestlé at the beginning of 2015 was a huge milestone for the company, as was being awarded the contract with Kellogg’s for the whole of Europe at the same time. LPR’s UK team moved to new purpose-built offices in Studley, near Birmingham, in 2014. In 2015, its investments in Ireland included the opening of a new depot in Galway as well as upgrading the existing site in Dublin.
LPR offers more than 20 years experience in the fast-moving consumer goods sector, along with a network of more than 100 depots in eight countries. It handles more than 73 million pallets annually.