In the 1950s, the pallet sharing system was established in Europe. The development of automation in the 1980s gave birth to the standardization of the totes, which perfectly matched the size of the European standard pallets, thus achieving efficient operation of logistics and storage. China has already started on the road of long-term logistics standardization exploration, and the development of European containerization standardization provides a model for reference.
The development of universal measurement standards is the key to global industrialization, and its impact affects all industries, and logistics is no exception. The boom in international freight traffic and the surge in warehousing demand have made it necessary to standardize container units. In addition, it played an important role in improving efficiency, and the world war that took place in the first half of the 20th century promoted the transportation of goods of greater quantity and volume. Before these conflicts occur, it usually takes a long time to transport the goods, and the packaging is not uniform (sacks, barrels, crates). Therefore, the transportation of goods at that time is a time- and labor-intensive process, and the items are easily damaged and the damage is very common.
In the 1950s, European organizations and related logistics and warehousing industry associations intervened and developed a standard pallet measuring 1200 × 800 mm and establishing the European Pallet Sharing System (EPP). Suddenly, companies throughout the European manufacturing, retail and service industries can effectively coordinate their material flows. The European pallet was born! The package size of individual items and the packaging of multiple items are then adjusted to make them suitable for these exchangeable trays.
The prevalence of pallets necessitates a re-standardization of the size of the totes, and the standardization of turnover boxes is becoming increasingly important given the larger mechanization and automation of goods and material flows. Trolley boxes have been developed for a variety of tasks, starting with stackable models made of sheet metal, then plastic, and perfectly matching the size of the European standard tray. These totes ensure that the assembled parts are smoothly integrated into the operational process, allowing them to be stacked, stored and transported efficiently.
In the late 1980s, the rapidly evolving automation industry became a catalyst for further large-scale standardization. Previously, for car manufacturers and suppliers, the lack of a unified tote system had a negative impact on the entire logistics process – high cost, but low logistics capacity. This situation changed as the totes were recognized as a key factor in the supply chain and the German Society of Automation Industry (VDA) Turnover Standardization Working Group began defining new totes in 1986.