You Said It
Pat Vesey, joint managing director of Irish Pallet Systems Ltd, answers questions from the Pallet Enterprise about working in the industry.
Date Posted: 8/1/2014
Pat Vesey is the joint managing director of Irish Pallet Systems Ltd, a family run pallet manufacturing operation based in County Longford, Ireland.
Pallet Enterprise: What advice would you give someone entering the industry for the first time?
Vesey: That’s a hard question to answer because in Ireland now, the established pallet companies have been in business many years, some being handed over to the next generation. The pallet business is a very low margin, tough business. With operating costs rising every year, it would be a hard business to recommend to anyone. When I was younger, I heard a business expert tell my dad that if you can survive in this business you can survive in any business. It looks easy from the outside But once you are up and running along come the headaches of timber price increases, timber shortages, labor costs, employment law, rates, insurance, red tape, etc. When my dad started off in 1981, he was getting more for his pallets than we are today. So you can imagine how we have had to adopt over the years to stay in business.
So a quick answer to your question would be to start off small. Feel your way along, get to know the business inside out and know your limits. You should never take on business if you cannot cope with it. The pallet industry is the sort of business you need to have a flair for. If you are not interested in pallets, then look for something else.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the best piece of business advice that you have ever received?
Vesey: Know your customers’ needs; look after them no matter how small. Do your homework on people before you employ them because taking on the wrong person can cost you. Treat employees fairly. Be honest with your suppliers and keep out of debt if possible.
Pallet Enterprise: What do you think your company will look like five to 10 years from now?
Vesey: I don’t see the pallet industry changing that much. Timber will always be the first choice for end users because of its environmental benefits. I do not see plastic pallets being a huge threat as the process involved in their production is costly and hazardous to the environment. Hopefully, the economy in Ireland will continue recovering, and a strong manufacturing sector will drive good demand for new pallets. If we can concentrate on getting our margin up and controlling costs, then things should remain positive.
Pallet Enterprise: What do you like most about your job?
Vesey: Being your own boss is a nice position to be in. Our factory is situated on our own land so I have a stroll through the garden to go to work each day. Every day presents a new set of opportunities. You never know who is going to call you; it is nice to get out there and meet different people in the industry from around the world. It is also interesting to deal with a broad spectrum of industries. You would be surprised what goes on a pallet these days. “Giving Support to Irish Export” is our slogan, and we hope to continue to do that for a long time to come.
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