You Said It: Industry Veterans Answer Relevant Questions
Derek Turney, director of business development for Palnet, shares his insights on working in the pallet industry.
Date Posted: 12/7/2018
Derek Turney is director of business development for Palnet, the largest network of pallet companies in the United States with over 140 different pallet facilities. It is a national leader in onsite Total Pallet Management.
Pallet Enterprise: How do you think the pallet industry will change in the next 5-10 years?
Turney: Palnet was formed in 2004 because our owners recognized that many pallet decisions were no longer being made at the local level and were transitioning to being made at the corporate level. More than ever we see that many big companies are no longer letting their local teams make pallet decisions. In 5-10 years, we expect that most pallet decisions will be made at the corporate level. I think it will be imperative in the future for all independent pallet companies to have a national partner that they can trust to work with on bringing new business to their facilities. If you don’t have a pallet network or broker that you consider a good partner, I would suggest that you find one.
Pallet Enterprise: Have you (or your company) recently started pursuing any new markets or product lines?
Turney: I have personally started to spend more of my time working on selling onsite Total Pallet Management offerings within our current customer base. The mindset is that when your customer depends on your employees every day in their building, they are less likely to give your business to the guy down the street offering them pallets for a nickel cheaper.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about customer service?
Turney: Bad news does not get any better with time. Problems and delays happen in the pallet business. When they do, you must let the customer know right away; the longer you wait, the bigger that problem will get. When customers know the situation, it gives them a chance to react and maybe come up with an alternative solution. When you leave them hanging, all they are going to do is be more upset with you. My personal goal in 2019 is to weed out some partners that call a day after they miss a delivery instead of the day before.
Pallet Enterprise: In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge in the industry right now?
Turney: Supply. On the recycled side, the biggest challenge in our industry is the availability of good quality cores that we can sell as A and AAA pallets. Currently there is just more demand for recycled pallets than there are available quality cores. On the new pallet side, the problem is also supply; our mills just can’t acquire enough lumber to produce all of the demand. You can’t imagine how many new pallet opportunities we have had to turn down this year because our mills can’t handle the business.
Pallet Enterprise: What do you like most about your job?
Turney: Even though I am on the road quite often, I still enjoy traveling and meeting new people. There are a lot of great people in our industry that I have met over the years that I am happy to call friends.
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