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Carolina Inspection Services Provides Phytosanitary Inspection for Both Pallet Plants and Pallet Users
Carolina Inspection provides pallet and container heat treatment inspection for both pallet companies and pallet/crate using companies.
Date Posted: 3/1/2010
Marshville, North Carolina—Heat treating of wooden pallets was one of the most significant developments in our industry during the last decade. Consistent with the strengths of our entrepreneurial society, a new service quickly developed to provide inspections. Dan Eaton and his wife Amanda Gilreath-Eaton started Carolina Inspection Services.
Dan graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1998, worked with the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau as a lumber inspector, and moved to North Carolina with a consulting forestry business doing land management in 2002. When Carolina Inspection Services (CIS) was certified by the American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC) in April 2004, it mostly worked with wooden packaging certification. Amanda came to work for the company in 2005;
As the wooden pallet industry came under the scrutiny of international regulations concerning the shipment of wooden pallets under load from one part of the world to another, the need for certifying wooden pallet treatment sprung up quickly. Dan and Amanda added enough people to their young staff to handle the necessary business but kept it small enough to provide the control needed for their customers.
Just like many pallet and sawmill companies, Carolina Inspection Services is a small family owned and operated business. In addition to Dan and Amanda, CIS has four more inspectors in the field, including three quality inspectors and one supervising inspector. This tight knit group is like a family that makes its mission to treat its clients like family too. Many pallet and wooden packaging companies appreciate doing business with a small business where they can have close contact with both field inspectors and company owners. Pallet company owners are responsible for quality control and marketing; they appreciate the personal involvement with a supplier that appreciates their perspective on business.
CIS is located in Marshville, North Carolina, just a few short miles down the road from Edwards Wood Products, one of the largest and best known pallet companies in North America. CIS handles phytosanitary inspections for both Edwards’ Marshville and Laurenburg plants. Over the years, Amanda’s father worked as a self-employed consulting forester for the late Carol Edwards, so the two families have a long relationship.
Tina Edwards said, “We have a good relationship. Carolina Inspection Services does a great job for Edwards. We are in very close contact. They keep us posted when phytosanitary laws and regulations change. When the bark issue was added recently, they were on top of the issue and helped us adjust to it.”
When asked about their service, Amanda said, “When somebody is looking into the possibility of heat treating, it is our job to emerse them in knowledge of the regulations, policies and procedures. Make them aware of what is expected. One of our major responsibilities is the educational role.”
CIS makes unannounced inspection visits on its clients each month. In addition to the normal twelve unscheduled yearly visits, CIS will make other follow-up inspection visits when they are called for. Inspections include such things as checking heat charts and kiln records, and visual inspection of pallets that are on the yard. Now they have to look for bark requirements. An inspector averages probably 60-70 visits per month.
Today CIS works primarily with the pallet and packaging industry. But it does a lot of work with pallet using companies as well. Many companies find that it is more cost effective for them to build their own packaging. It is difficult to outsource wooden packaging for some things, such as huge machinery. Much packaging involves custom designed products that need to be constructed onsite, not on a production line. So, many companies build their own packaging, which means they have to comply with phytosanitary requirements.
The Eatons have found that heat treating inspection and control is an easy process to adjust to for companies which have a detailed quality program in place. Record keeping is important. Companies that are accustomed to management control details adjust to phytosanitary requirements fairly easily.
The Eatons have found that when dealing with pallet and crating companies, it is important that things be done right. Their customers always want it yesterday. They partner or consult with clients to help them understand and get their products shipped on time.
The Eatons attended their first Richmond Show in 2006 after reading about it in the Pallet Enterprise. A client introduced them to the Enterprise as the magazine that everybody in the industry reads and respects. CIS started advertising to its pallet industry client base which helped it grow into the pallet industry.
CIS wants to keep its number of clients to a manageable level as it grows slowly. Working closely with clients is a key. Building relationships and knowing how to help clients is what CIS strives for. Knowing and being able to anticipate requirements helps CIS because it knows what is coming around the corner.
For more information about heat treating of wooden pallets and packaging, call Amanda and Dan at 866/753-5738, or visit the web site at www.carolinainspection.com.