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Professional Pallet Services Begins Marketing Pallet Wizard Software
Pallet Wizard: Ohio pallet company begins marketing computer software program it developed ‘for the average pallet business;’ the Pallet Wizard makes drawings of pallets and more.
By Thomas G. Dolan
Date Posted: 8/1/2007
Ernie Riling has been in the pallet industry for about 15 years, both manufacturing new pallets and pallet recycling.
As CEO of Professional Pallet Services Inc. in Dayton, Oh., Ernie noticed that the pallet industry lacked a tool that he wanted. “I realized there was not a good, solid affordable software program for designing pallets,” he said. “So we decided to develop one ourselves.”
Ernie wanted a computer program that could generate drawings of pallets but would be easy to use. He envisioned it as primarily a marketing tool to use with customers.
He had no background or expertise in computer software design, but plenty in the pallet industry, so Ernie turned to computer programming professionals to actually produce the software. The result was Pallet Wizard, a program Ernie’s company developed several years ago and has been marketing since then.
Ernie believes the Pallet Wizard serves a valuable role in the pallet industry for good reason: he has used it in his company day in and day out.
(Editor’s Note: Professional Pallet Services has made available a trial copy of the Pallet Wizard software with each copy of this issue of Pallet Enterprise.)
The software was designed “for the average pallet business,” said Ernie, although it can meet the needs or larger businesses.
Although the product is called Pallet Wizard, it does not require a computer wizard to operate it. “We made it very simple to use,” Ernie said. “The three-step format allows you to design pallets without the hassles of knowing the ins and outs of a specific program. Basically, if you can point and click and have some general pallet knowledge, this program will work great for you. A guy with no pallet background can start designing pallets within minutes.”
Using the software involves entering information about a customer’s pallet, such as the type of design (block or stringer, two-way or four-way, flush or wing, etc.), wood (new lumber or recycled, hardwood or softwood), and fasteners. There is also a section to indicate the estimated weight the pallet will carry.
Once information is entered into the Pallet Wizard, it can be easily changed and modified to develop other pallets. It also has a feature to convert standard measurements to metric and vice versa.
The software generates four drawings depicting the pallet from the top, bottom, side and end. “It looks very professional and is a great marketing tool,” said Ernie. The drawings may be printed out on an ordinary desktop printer or e-mailed to a customer with a specification page.
Pallet Wizard has a database component that allows a company to look at a customer’s buying history, and it can be used to help determine when a customer may need to order more pallets. The database also can be utilized to generate e-mails to customers.
Pallet Wizard enables the user to make an accurate estimate of the cost of a pallet, according to Ernie, although he pointed out that the software does not actually perform that function.
“We thought about that but when we investigated it,” he explained, “but…no two pallet companies are alike. The type of the wood you use, what it costs in different parts of the country, labor costs, workers compensation costs – there are a whole host of things that might make the pricing different in Ohio than California to achieve the same profit. So we don’t want people to think that the software will do your pricing for you. What it will do is provide accurate data so you can be more accurate in your pricing.”
The data contained in the software may be accessed by different employees for various needs, such as shop workers, customer service representatives, sales staff and accounting personnel.
Professional Pallet Services used the Pallet Wizard in its operations for 18 months, and the software was modified and de-bugged before being made available to other pallet companies. The final changes were mostly cosmetic, to give it a better look and feel.
“About 85 percent of pallet companies don’t have any pallet design software,” Ernie said. “The old-fashioned way works, but a good software program saves production time, improves quality and minimizes mistakes. If it avoids one costly mistake or gains you one new customer, it’s already paid for itself.”
The company has had about 100 licensed users of the software with only word-of-mouth advertising since Pallet Wizard was developed two years ago. It has been used by some companies as far away as Russia and South Africa. Professional Pallet Services recently hired Mike Devaney to begin actively marketing the software to other pallet companies.
Pallet Wizard is priced at $595 per year for one computer; there are price breaks for multiple computers.
Professional Pallet Services allows a free, 30 day trial of the software. After the trial period, the software is inoperable. When a company purchases Pallet Wizard, it receives a user code to make the program operable. The code will expire after 12 months if the company has not renewed the purchase.
For more information about Pallet Wizard, call (937) 432-9740, ext. 211, or visit the Web site at www.propalletservices.com.