A national pallet pool rental system Chep relieves the burden of pallet ownership and maintenance from manufacturers and rents its own high-quality pallets to manufacturers on a one-way daily basis. Distributors return the pallets to Chep depots from which Pillsbury and other manufacturers get them in whatever quantities are required. Throughout 1994 Pillsbury used Chep pallets for retail refrigerated dough products. By expanding the Chep system to include all retail food products-frozen dry grocery and refrigerated-Pillsbury becomes the first company to offer Chep nationally in all three major retail food categories. The pallets are used for all product distributed through Pillsbury's full service distribution center network. "In Pillsbury's overall ECR [Efficient Consumer Response] initiatives we see Chep pallets as a key factor in reducing waste from the system" says Steve Gartner Pillsbury's vice president of distribution operations. "Our customers are assured of a good quality pallet without the complicated procedures of pallet exchange and our carriers are taken out of the pallet equation making them more productive."