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AMS Introduces Palmate™ Pallet Management System
Program Is a Tool for Management

By Staff
Date Posted: 7/30/2002

Automation? Computerization? "The answer depends on our customer," said Kris Chayer, president of Automated Machine Systems Inc. (AMS) in Jenison, Mich. "All of the product platforms within AMS are customer-need driven. Therefore, our customers make the decisions."

Customers within the pallet industry are making decisions to implement automation and computerization every day. Faced with increased competition, rising labor costs, and greater demand for ‘just-in-time’ delivery of inventory, these businesses realize that they must implement technology like automation and computerization in order to become more efficient and profitable.

AMS is a major supplier of automation to the pallet and material handling industries. As a full service, design and supply integrator, AMS provides products and services that support pallet repair, sorting, handling, conveying, wood recovery, grinding, palletizing, washing, sanitizing, drying, heat treating, and painting with the AMS Palcoat™ paint system.

AMS is committed to helping the pallet and material handling businesses operate more efficiently and effectively in areas such as labor savings and increased production. Its newest innovation is the AMS Palmate™ pallet management system with bar coding.

Since it's inception in 1997, AMS has always had a simple philosophy: identify the industry and customer needs, then develop high quality products and services that will cost effectively meet those needs.

Though this philosophy remains the same, industry and customer needs continue to evolve and change. So AMS product offerings are never static but continue to change to meet customer and industry demands.

"Each and every customer is unique, so we must constantly be ready to listen to our customers and then deliver a product or service that fills those unique needs" said Kris.

Some customers have implemented full automation and technology, some have a little, and some have none. AMS works diligently to provide cost effective solutions that will fill the needs in each of these segments of the pallet and material handling industries.

The birthing of the solutions begins with a simple question: How can AMS help your business operate more effectively and profitably? "The answer to that question is sometimes interesting," said AMS vice president Gary Curless.

"By asking questions and listening, we have identified a definite need to bring computer solutions to our customers -- whether they have implemented automation or not," Gary added.

AMS has received many requests from the industry relative to data gathering and tracking issues. This includes such areas as getting accurate data, time of inputting the data, controlling inventory coming in and going out, actual counts for piece rate work, quality control, productivity issues, and pallet grading -- to name a few. The overriding request is to make the solution fit the customer's specific needs and make it simple to understand and administer.

These common challenges facing both small and large businesses led AMS to develop the Palmate™ pallet management system. It was developed by Pat Lyons, an AMS staffer who is a microsoft certified professional and quickbooks developer partner.

AMS custom designs software applications for all areas of a customer’s business from inventory control to accounting and payroll. AMS can engineer software that integrates with existing systems, such as Peachtree, Quickbooks or other brands in accounting and payroll or various inventory programs. Palmate™ can also operate as a stand-alone, complete application designed specifically for each customer's needs.

The basic Palmate™ system consists of a bar coding, inventory control and accounting system. It comes with a high-speed printer, bar code label dispenser, scanners (wireless or line), rewinders and software.

While the hardware is available from different sources, Pat is quick to point out that the software is the real key. If the software is not easy to use and understand, the customer will never take full advantage of its capabilities.

AMS simplified the Palmate™ solution to make it ‘user friendly’ so that the individuals who input the data and those who view and utilize it do not have to be computer whizzes. The system is custom designed for each customer, right down to customized bar code labels generated from the high-speed printer. The labels provide vital information about pallet size and grade and the employee who built or repaired the pallet. The capability even exists to produce RFID or Radio Frequency Identifications tags for more long-range tracking of pallet pools.

Wireless scanners can quickly store data for later download to the Palmate™ software. Line scanners can directly input the information for viewing. This ‘live’ data can be displayed on screen with fields for each worker to show inventory count, grades, hourly production, and even pay. The click of a button will display easy to read charts, bar graphs, spreadsheets or other modified data for more detailed information.

The software can be designed to then transfer this information directly to the customer’s accounting program for payroll calculations. In addition, the information flows to the inventory management program that shows on-hand inventory, ready to go inventory, grades -- even total inventory cost. This dramatically improves accuracy, saves time and money, and positions a company to respond more quickly to the changing demands of its specific marketplace.

The key to the Palmate™ pallet management system is its simplicity of use and flexibility. "By simply consulting with our customers and finding out what information they need, we developed a system to help them more effectively and profitably run their businesses," said Brian Williams, AMS director of sales and marketing. "AMS can custom design a ‘user friendly’ system that can easily and cost effectively be revised as those needs change."

AMS realizes that the term ‘user friendly’ has truly been abused over the years. Therefore, it provides complete training with the Palmate™ pallet management system to ensure that its customers are able to use it fully to get the maximum benefits. Customer personnel are trained to use and operate all hardware, download inventory to the computer, and display the easy to use charts, graphs, and spreadsheets.

One of the hallmarks of AMS over the years has been its ability to custom integrate solutions for customers. Some customers had no automation at all and were just looking to begin with a few pieces of equipment -- either new or used -- that could help them operate more effectively and profitably. Others had some existing automation and were just looking to add a few pieces. Some desired a completely new automated system to help improve the bottom line. In all cases AMS listened, developed cost effective solutions, and then assisted in implementation. Along the way, AMS gained a wealth of experience.

The Palmate™ pallet management system continues to build on the product line heritage and philosophy of AMS. Its staff listens, identifies the needs and provides the solution to fill the needs. This is a work in progress, like all of the other AMS platforms, because industry and customer needs change.

Whether or not a customer has automation, AMS says it can design a cost effective pallet management system to save time and money. "After all, if you're going to invest your company’s hard-earned dollar in a solution to help increase effectiveness and profitability, it just makes sense to work with a company with years of experience that will listen and custom design a product or service just for you," said Gary.

Whether a company is big or small, AMS has positioned itself to provide automation and computerization -- either or both. It has years of experience and is committed to providing its customers with high quality, cost effective, and complete pallet logistics from start to finish. AMS can supply your automation and computer integration needs.

AMS is a member of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association and the Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association.

To find out more about Automated Machine Systems Inc., call (877) 267-8384 or visit the Web site at www.amssystems.com.

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