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You Said It
We ask some key questions from one industry leader, and report the answers.
Date Posted: 9/1/2012
Sammy McCorkle is the general manager of The Timbermen Inc., a sawmill and pallet manufacturing company, in Camak, Ga.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the hardest challenge your company faces right now?
McCorkle: It is probably the same challenge that we always face: controlling cost creep Ė regulation, insurance, wood, fuel Ė trying to keep a margin in the pallet. Thatís just a continuous challenge every day.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the best piece of business advice that you have ever received?
McCorkle: Back when I was young, which was a long time ago, my boss told me that if you take care of the nickles and dimes, the dollars will take care of themselves. And thatís always been good advice.
††††††††††††††† If you look after the details and the little things, yes, youíre going to have to spend and buy some new equipment sometime. But you make that equipment last and get your moneyís worth out of it and keep control of your operation. So just basically if you take care of the small things the big things will take care of themselves.
††††††††††††††† My boss also told me to be looking for a better way to do something. And I think thatís especially important in our industry and thatís happened over the years with all the ones that have been successful.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the best part of working in this industry?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
McCorkle: Thatís an easy question. The people that Iíve met all across the country Ė the independent lumber manufacturers and pallet manufacturers are just some of the best people in the world - good down to earth people. When they say something you can believe them. For the most part they are hardworking people that have taken small companies and progressed with a hard work ethic. Theyíre just good people to be around.
††††††††††††††† Customers, competitors and suppliers Ė most of those you deal with are just good folks and that makes it an enjoyable industry in which to work. You can sell something on a handshake for $10,000 and expect to get paid. Not many other industries operate that way.
Pallet Enterprise:† If you could do anything else in life, what would it be?†
McCorkle: Iíve been in the lumber and pallet business for 41 years, so I guess I donít know anything else to do. But I think if I did, I wouldnít do it. Itís been the type of business that is always a challenge. You never get bored. Sometimes itís not fun, but youíre always challenged and constantly learning, trying to grow and going through changes.
††††††††††††††† I started in the pallet industry in 1978, and just to look at the innovations and technology Ė where the industry has come since then has just been amazing. I think that anyone that works in it for any period of time just gets hooked on the challenge. Sawdust gets in your blood, as the old saying goes. Itís not the easiest industry in the world, but if you like a challenge itís a good place to be.