You Said It: Larry Konz is the CEO of Konz Wood Products
Larry Konz, president of Konz Wood Products, answers questions from the Pallet Enterprise about working in the industry.
Date Posted: 2/1/2014
Larry Konz is the CEO of Konz Wood Products, a new and used pallet manufacturer and scragg mill located in Appleton, Wis.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the best piece of business advice that you have ever received?
Konz: My father taught me two core principles. One is always to listen to another’s proposal; you won’t get any dumber by listening. The other is imagine yourself in your opponent’s shoes when trying to solve a problem. When you understand it from the other viewpoint, the solution becomes clearer.
Pallet Enterprise: How do you help new employees understand your company’s culture/core values?
Konz: That’s easy. We believe the most direct route to reducing costs is efficiency. We have mentors that are paired with new employees to show them the easiest and safest way to perform a task. Then our managers explain that increasing output is the shortest route to advancement. A productive employee is a valuable employee. A valuable employee gets paid more. A well paid employee is a happy employee. We want all of our employees to enjoy their work. This is the cycle we want to promote.
Pallet Enterprise: How has your raw material situation changed in recent years?
Konz: Commodities like lumber are driven by supply and demand. The demand for low-grade lumber seems to be very constant. Last year the demand increased. We cannot control the increasing cost of lumber any more than we can control the cost of the food we eat or the electricity to run our plants. We should not be too concerned about it. We must figure all current costs into our prices. In the end, it is the consumer who must pay for all of the increases.
Pallet Enterprise: Do you think there are any new issues that the industry is going to have to deal with over the next year?
Konz: The Affordable Care Act will change the landscape of employee benefits. I believe it’s a mistake for the government to get involved in insurance. But at least it will remove the burden from the employer.
There are always concerns about pallets made of alternative materials. I believe wooden pallets will remain the pallet of choice in the foreseeable future. They are the greenest and most cost effective way to move goods around the globe. 2013 was a record year for our company, and I expect 2014 to be even better. It’s all about satisfied customers and happy employees.
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