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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: Callen Cochran, Business Dev. Manager, United Pallet Services

Posted By Callen Cochran, Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A1: We still rely heavily on the fax machine. Its days are numbered, but it’s just easy to enter the fax number, hit send, and walk away.

A2: Personally, I’m doing away with filing invoices and statements, there’s too much paper to manage. I love Evernote, which is an App that can easily “snap” a picture of invoices whenever I receive them. Once the digital image is there, I save it in the appropriate digital notebook and then shred the actual document. Evernote has proven to be a great external brain for me. It can document pretty much anything – photos, passwords, news articles, etc.

A3: We implemented a cloud-based CRM software almost two years ago. It also serves as our dispatch board. The idea of having to scrap it and go back to our previous methods makes my head hurt!

A4: New technologies and the pallet industry seem to go together like oil and water, however I can see us investing in robotics or automation in the somewhat short term if the labor situation continues down the current path.

Email Callen Cochran, United Pallet Services, Inc.

Tags:  app  crm  digital  software  technology 

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Q&A: Dean Roderick, Managing Director, RodPak

Posted By Dean Roderick, Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A1: The fax machine is a staff favorite, mainly because its key purpose is to receive the list of daily food specials from our local take-out store. Personally I love our electronic printing whiteboard (Panasonic) from the 1990’s. Unfortunately, both are about to become redundant as thermal printing paper is difficult to source.

A2: In a quick survey of our staff, the smartphone is the clear favorite.

A3: We have become very dependent upon a range of apps: banking and finance apps to track spending; weather apps for the operations staff to assist planning; airline and flight radar apps to assist in making travel more efficient for management and sales personnel.

A4: In the short term, there is no doubt that robotics and automation will be further developed in our operations. Improved use of portable electronic devices for operational and logistics purposes is imminent.

With a longer view, continuous implementation of automation to eliminate manual handling and to enhance quality control. It is probable that some form of driverless vehicle/s will be used to reduce the costs associated with stock movements. The Pallet Design System™ (PDS) will be at the heart of business operations in ten years’ time, having been developed into a fully integrated unit load design system. Technical sales personnel will work with clients to reduce total unit packaging costs through smart design. Finance staff will have seamless integration with accounts systems to improve cost control. Manufacturing will only produce to customer approved designs, typically uploaded directly from PDS to the pallet machines.

Email Dean Roderick, RodPak

Tags:  app  automation  design  logistics  pallet  robotics  software  system 

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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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