Pallet Rejection

Why Do Pallets Get Rejected?

Pallets can be rejected if they arrive in poor condition and/or do not meet the requirements of the receiver.  

For receivers such as Distribution Centres (DCs), certain wrapping requirements apply in order for a pallet to be accepted.  These wrapping requirements are put in place as the systems that process and store pallets are configured to accept specifics.  Any pallet that varies from these specifications can greatly slow down or damage these systems.  Non-conforming pallets will therefore be rejected and returned back to sender to mitigate risks.

The implications of poorly wrapped and non-compliant pallets are costly and may introduce unnecessary and unacceptable risk. Pallets therefore not wrapped to the requirements, risk being rejected and returned back to sender.  If you are experiencing pallet rejection due to improper wrapping or unmet requirements, it is important to understand why to ensure the issue can be fixed for future dispatches. 

Pallets can be rejected for the following reasons:

Pallet stabilisation can be affected by poor stacking, slippery cartons, uneven layers, loose products and pallet in-boarding.

Not correctly implementing pallet stabilisation practices can lead to unstable loads.  These pallets are more likely to topple over during transport causing damage to goods and creating safety hazards. 

If you are experiencing pallet stability issues, refer to the Pallet Stability section below 

Pallets with loose or unsecure wrapping have poor load containment. This means that goods stacked on the pallet are not secured and will most likely shift or move during transportation.  If goods move the pallet may lean, become unstable and topple over.  This can cause damage to the pallet and create major safety hazards.  Pallets therefore received with loose or unsecure film will be rejected to mitigate risks.

Loose or unsecure wrapping can be caused by the following:

  • Film is applied with not enough tension 
  • Incorrect film has been applied for the load being wrapped
  • Not enough passes or revolutions of film to secure the pallet

Please refer to the Pallet Wrapping section below.

Pallets that arrive with crushed or damaged products will be rejected, even if the pallet is wrapped securely.  Applying stretch film at high tensions or applying too much film can compact and crush palletised products.  Products on the top layer and corners will usually receive most of the damage as stretch film attempts to shrink back to its original state.  Over wrapping can also cause clarity issues and is unsustainable. 

Refer to the Pallet Wrapping section below.

Products must be able to be identified and scanned on the wrapped pallet when received.   Films that are coloured or have low clarity make it difficult to determine the contents and even harder to scan and read product barcodes.  Pallets that cannot be identified or scanned may not be processed and can be rejected. 

Non-compliant materials such as netting and sticky tape are not approved for wrapping. These materials on their own possess no load containment properties and will not secure goods to the pallet. Pallets wrapped with these materials are not safe and will be rejected. Adding these materials over the top of film is also not permitted.

Refer to the Requirements section below

The end piece of film after the pallet has been wrapped and the film cut is called a film tail or dag.

This piece will hang off the pallet unless sealed by brushing or heat pressing the film to the pallet.  Film tails & dags must be secured to the pallet to avoid the film from unravelling or getting caught.  Pallets with tails or dags will not be accepted as any loose or stray film can interfere with automation and create safety risks.

Refer to the Requirements section below

Common Scenarios 

The most common reasons for pallet rejections are:

1. Product Damage caused by poor wrapping

2. Film tails & dags

Poorly Wrapped Pallet

How to Ensure Zero Returns

“Zero Returns” - every despatched pallet arrives in the expected or saleable condition and is accepted by the receiver. 

In other words every pallet dispatched is properly wrapped, load containment is met and so too are the requirements of the receiver.

In order to achieve safe, stable, secure and compliant pallets, FROMM have put together a short guide on pallet wrapping designed to introduce (or refresh) pallet load containment & its properties. This guide aligns with the Performance Standards set by the National Transport Commission (NTC) as well as Industry Standards set by the Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC).  The Wrapping requirements referred to in this guide are for those sending pallets to Woolworths, Coles and or Metcash.  Please note that other retailers or DCs may have different wrapping requirements to the ones addressed in this guide and will need to be considered.

So how can you improve your pallet wrapping to ensure zero Returns?

Let's break it down:

Pallet Stability

Learn how to maintain pallet stability in preparation for wrapping

Learn more

Pallet Wrapping

A guide to achieving pallet load containment through wrapping

Learn more


A refresher on wrapping guidelines & standards

Learn more

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