2018 will continue to be a tight labor market in the Midwest. We have fewer people who actually want to do physical labor. Cole Pallet Services will continue to automate and hire higher level employees to offset the labor shortages. We’ve also increased our starting wage and use temp services to do our initial hiring. This puts some of the burden of drug screening, background checks, and e-verification on the staffing agency.
In the next 5-10 years we expect our industry to consolidate and to open room for growth by hiring people with experience in our industry. We also expect automation to continue causing the need for physical labor to decrease. Overall, physical labor will continue to be hard to find and skilled labor for automation will be required.
Regarding pay and benefits, we’re working on increasing wages and offering more benefits to employees. As we grow, we want our employees to grow with us.
In our small town, we have several big businesses, Nestle, Target, 3M (5+ plants), etc, therefore we compete against some top tier employers for our labor. Right now, the biggest competition is for labor.
We’ll continue to automate and train our key employees to use the new equipment. This will allow us to keep our most valuable staff while producing more pallets and cut-stock on a daily basis.