You Said It
Pat Sherry, design manager of NEPA Pallet & Container Co., Inc., answers questions from the Pallet Enterprise about working in the industry.
Date Posted: 5/1/2014
Pat Sherry is the design manager at NEPA Pallet & Container Co., Inc., an automated manufacturer of pallets and bins with multiple locations in Washington.
Pallet Enterprise: What is one thing you do at your company that is different from other pallet companies?
Sherry: One thing is the longevity of employees. That provides stability, reduces workman’s compensation claims and makes a safer environment. You don’t have attendance problems, your productivity goes up and generally your morale goes up. When people feel well taken care of, they stick around. You take care of the employees, make sure they feel wanted, and they will take care of you.
Pallet Enterprise: Have you seen customer expectations change in recent years? How?
Sherry: I think customers are a lot more demanding. They want things immediately, and they want them in smaller quantities. They’re looking at us and saying, “Do what Amazon does.” There was a little more understanding in the past, but now we have to be a lot quicker on our toes.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the best piece of business advice that you have ever received?
Sherry: One thing is that when you make a move and you have a residual product, always make sure that you have a market for that residual product. You could get left holding a lot of stuff that you think has value but nobody else does. And it happens all the time. You can go onto a lumber yard and see a pile of stuff. And when you ask them what they’re doing with it, they say, “They are just waiting for the right customer to come along.” If they come along, you make a lot of money. But at the end of the month, it’s only what you’ve got in the bank that counts. You can value the stuff in your yard, but if you can’t sell it, you’ve got a problem.
Pallet Enterprise: What is one of the hardest business decisions you have ever made?
Sherry: That would definitely be the termination of employees. I’ve had some where it was the right decision for the company, but it did not feel like the right thing to the employee. But I have had to go say, “I’m sorry, but you’re just not fitting,” or “You’re just not doing your job.” It’s always very, very tough, just gut-wrenching. Sometimes issues are self-inflicted by employees, and you’re just not left with a decision. But there is never any joy in seeing someone lose their job.
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