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Technology: Industry's Favorite Toys & Gadgets
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Embracing new technology is not easy. Is the wood packaging industry ready? The following comments from our industry thought leaders share on several areas of old and new technology, along with a little nostalgia. We reached out to all of our members and here is what they had to say in answer to the following questions: Q1: What ‘old’ technologies/equipment do you still use? Fax machine, dot matrix printer, walkie talkie, pagers, paper rolodex, etc? Q2: What modern day technology/equipment do you use (laptop computer, smartphone, paperless fax machine, electronic billing/invoicing, business software? Q3: Which new tools are your favorite toys that you or your business couldn’t survive without in today’s business environment? Q4: Which available new technologies, such as driverless vehicles, drones, robotics, 3-D printing, RFIDs or other, do you anticipate using for your business in the short term (1-3 years) or long term (3-10 years)?


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Q&A: John Romelfanger, CEO, H&S Forest Products, Inc.

Posted By John Romelfanger, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A1: Our favorite is still the fax machine. We work with a number of Amish mills and a fax is the only quick way to communicate in writing with them, and vice versa. Just because something is “old” doesn’t make it useless. Another old standby is the tape measure. This may not be considered “equipment,” but it’s very important in the pallet industry where 1/8” can make a real impact on costs and pallet strength.

A2: For our sales staff, the cell phone for virtually instantaneous communication via voice and email almost anywhere, plus all the functions that apps can do (traffic, weather, GPS, mapping, etc) is critical. For our accounting staff, the accounting software enables us to be more efficient and accurate, then we have better information to manage our business. Both of these technologies make our customer service staff’s job better.

A3: GPS apps work not only for driving directions, traffic issues and re-routes, but for accurate ETAs to your destination.

A4: I’m not convinced that we’ll see totally driverless vehicles soon (that don’t crash), but today’s technologies can make driving safer. There is currently brake assist, lane keeping assist and backup cameras, and I’m sure they’ll improve and become available on more vehicles. A lot of mills still use older equipment that work fine, so newer manufacturing technology doesn’t always produce the efficiencies needed to justify the capital expenditure.

I hope to see 3-D printing capabilities for pallet designs that can be shared with customers and prospects. While not full scale, a picture is better than words and a 3-D print is better than pictures.

ACH payments have gained acceptance in the last 2-3 years and, hopefully, will soon replace all paper checks. Some companies need to get better at providing the remittance details behind these payments.

We also look forward to pallet software assisting with load planning (some do today). We expect to use these resources to help improve overall efficiencies at our mills while also maximizing the pallet loads.

Someday, RFIDs will be a cost effective and reliable way to track pallets. This technology would have a significant impact on the pallet industry. If a customer knew they would have the opportunity to reuse their pallet, it would make economic sense to improve their durability, increase their useful life. It could also create a possible business case for utilizing an alternative material (wood composites, plastic, etc.) which costs more to build a pallet.

We’ll also see an impact on utilizing imaging technology for improved quality screening of raw material and finished product that currently rely on the human eye and judgement.

Email John Romelfanger, H & S Forest Products, Inc.

Tags:  3D printing  app  drone  imaging  mapping  pds  rfid  technology 

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Q&A: Joe Demarco, Director of Communications, LINC Systems

Posted By Joe DeMarco, Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A1: A “favorite” for me would be none of the ‘old’ technologies. My goal is to move our company into the most modern technology for efficiency while meeting the needs of our customer base. Yet it seems that fax machines are still a part of their world. Although we still have people using the paper calendar, for the most part, we have “modernized” our business.

A2: All of the current technology - lap top computer, smartphone, paperless fax machine, electronic billing/invoicing, business software – are crucial to our business. As a supplier we ship to 22 states and have over 70 field sales / service people. All these tools are a crucial part of our communication.

A3: We use the Microsoft Surface with our field sales / service people. It allows touch screen parts and service call entry. Logging the tools they work on and the parts they service with, allow us to understand the true cost to serve.

A4: RFID: we own thousands of nailers that are placed at customers across 22 states. We repair and service them. RFID for tracking and recording is a technology that we can benefit from, and still in need of some advances. We currently track with scanners and log the parts placed in tools.


Tags:  app  rfid  scanners  software  technology 

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