You Said It
Frank Shean, President and CEO of a pallet manufacturing and recycling company, answers questions from the Pallet Enterprise about working in the industry.
Date Posted: 1/1/2013
Frank Shean is the president and chief executive officer of Valley Pallet, a pallet manufacturing and recycling company that operates in California and Arizona.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the hardest challenge your company faces right now?
Shean: There are several equally tough challenges today. The first thing that comes to mind is increasing costs in every aspect of our business from fuel to government fees and regulations, workers’ compensation rates, and wages. Next year we are faced with the difficult task of dealing with health care reform. Being on the West Coast, we are now competing with China for the raw material we use for pallet construction, and Asian competitors are winning most of the time. Pallet cores are in very tight supply, and, of course, now are more expensive. I was meeting with a customer recently negotiating for a price increase, and I mentioned to them that we were selling reconditioned #1 pallets for less than we had 15 years ago. That was a jaw dropper! Also, good quality labor is very difficult to find and getting tougher every day.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the best piece of business advice that you have ever received?
Shean: “If you don’t take care of the customer, someone else will.” So I have worked very hard over the years to exceed our customers’ expectations. And today that is definitely not always easy to do.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the best part of working in this industry?
Shean: Without a doubt, it is all the people. I have met the very best, hardest working people in this industry. I have an incredible amount of respect for their dedication to the industry. Some say, “Once it’s in your blood, you’re in for life,” and I see that.
Pallet Enterprise: If you could change any business decision that you have made in the past, what would you do differently and why?
Shean: I know this sounds crazy but I really don’t think I would change anything. I think the paths we choose are for a reason. I just am working hard to try and smooth out the road into the
future for my family, employees and all those I work with in the industry. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the pallet industry during these challenging times.
Do you want reprints or a copyright license for this article? Click here
Research and connect with suppliers mentioned in this article using our FREE ZIP Online service.