September 7, 2021

Case study: pallet company saves big with coating systems

For pallet and container companies, it’s tough to keep up with retail demand – moving millions of pallets around the globe daily and ensuring they’ve been painted.  

The work is hard. Pallets need to be high quality to accurately represent your brand and your clients’.  

Additionally, companies want to save on paint – lowering overall costs and reducing waste. They want their workforce to spend time on what matters – ensuring pallets get to the right locations. Companies want to increase safety, reducing operator fatigue while improving ergonomics.  

Ensuring an environmentally friendly process is important as well, as paint can be toxic, especially when it’s not being disposed of correctly.  

Read how Elevated Industrial Solutions (Elevate), formerly known as Lane Supply Company (Lane), helped one pallet and container company drive to success. 

Problem: inconsistent spray, wasted paint, too costly, and more 

After visiting a location, Elevated employees, including Jeff Bauer (Industrial Solutions Specialist and Project Manager for this project), noticed paint overspray and wasted paint. The pallet and container company’s workers were hand mixing using inconsistent ratios and the work to add paint and hand-mix was grueling. The paint jobs on the pallets were spotty and inconsistent as well; some pallets were thoroughly covered, and some weren’t. 

That’s when Jeff and his team suggested a paint mixing system that provides a consistent mix ratio as well as improved transfer efficiency. 

Solution: system and methodology 

Jeff and his team developed a plan to implement this device at five locations across the U.S. They would measure the difference in productivity and paint consumption to determine cost savings and consistency while gathering anecdotal information on how the process went for the workforce. Gathering both qualitative and quantitative data was important. 

The goals included: 

  • Reduce paint used and wasted 
  • Decrease costs in time and labor  
  • Improve safety and quality 
  • Increase productivity 

Along with that solution they: 

  • Trained employees, showing them how to use the coating application equipment solution 
  • Provided training and maintenance documentation 
  • Minimize overspray and reclaimed waste 
  • Replaced hand mixing, reducing unnecessary labor and risk of injury 

After a few months, the team compared data from before and after. They talked with employees, too. Jeff and his team were surprised just how good the results were from qualitative and quantitative data. 

“I expected to see an improvement, but the improvement I saw blew me away!” Jeff said.


Result: huge cost savings among other things 

The team expected annual cost savings but didn’t realize paint consumption would be reduced by 60%. More than that, because they used less paint with a consistent ratio the savings increased phenomenally, all while decreasing the environmental impact. 

The team saw …  

  • Huge, documented cost savings per pallet in paint usage — $20 million for five locations, an average of about .10 cents per pallet 
  • Integrated, turnkey solution with minimal downtime 
  • Improved safety, reducing the filling and lifting of 5-gallon pails  
  • Better ergonomics (also improving safety), with less operator fatigue (lighter guns, easier to use) 
  • Reduced paint waste, saving money  
  • Reduced labor costs – 3 – 4 hours per day to mix, replace filters, flush, and rebuilding kits used 
  • Improved consistency and better quality 
  • Improved training and documentation for repeatable processes 
  • Reduced number of paint filters used in paint booth 
  • Lower shipping costs (fewer shipments of paint) 

Besides some of the above cost savings and improvement, there are also soft cost benefits associated with this project: 

  • Less material handling  
  • Improved environmental friendliness – less waste and disposal cost 
  • Paint better utilized in totes by agitation of tote getting most paint out of tote instead of settling 
  • Less equipment maintenance 
  • Reduction of booth filters used (Colmet filters and better transfer efficiency) 
  • Consistent mix ratio and viscosity providing better transfer efficiency 
  • Reduction in overspray in stenciling area, less clean up 
  • Compressed air use reduction 
  • Paint booth filters changed 50% less frequently, filters cost less, and reduction in shipping cost 
  • Inventory of spare parts to reduce downtime 
  • Better transfer efficiency producing a better-looking pallet and visible stencil 
  • Cleaner workspace with fewer hazards 
  • Sustainable 

The best data-point of all was happier workers. They were more productive and safer.

Next steps: more facilities 

Currently, this pallet company is working with Elevated to install the coating application equipment system used at the five locations across the U.S. Employees at the pallet company want to continue to save money and time while reducing waste and risk. They’re also using the same methodology, ensuring success before moving on.  

More than that, this pallet and container company was thrilled at the increased environmental friendliness of this solution as their global owner has a major initiative to reduce environmental impact underway. 

“We’re excited to repeat our success,” Jeff said, ready to tackle the next set of locations. 

Let us do the same for your company 

If you’re a company using a lot of paint, we can help. We can provide an industrial solutions specialist to review your needs and bring in other specialists to reduce waste and paint, saving your company money.


Tami Matthews
Author: Tami Matthews
Tami Matthews is the Director of Marketing at Elevated Industrial Solutions. She’s spent 20+ years in marketing, focusing on writing, public relations, digital marketing, and content marketing. Before coming to Elevated in December 2020, she worked for a number of high-tech companies. Writing is one of her favorite pastimes. In her spare time, she volunteers for a number of causes including the Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy working on the PTO. She also hikes with her husband and begrudging daughter.
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