For over 30 years the leading pallet and sawmill magazine in America.
U Said It: John Heller, president of H&S Forest Products
John Heller, president of a pallet brokerage and wood products firm answers questions from the Pallet Enterprise about working in the pallet industry.
Date Posted: 12/1/2012
Pallet Enterprise: What is the hardest challenge your company faces right now?
Heller: Pricing pressure is one of the ongoing challenges. Knowing when you reach the point of diminishing returns and not going past that point is the magic. This is caused mostly by the customerís perception of price. They are always looking for the cheaper price. You could be selling them a $10 pallet for $8 and they would still try to get you down cheaper. Also, especially in new pallets, there is an oversupply. And the lack of demand versus oversupply has caused everyone to work on smaller margins. With all the technological advances, every supplier can produce more pallets and because of that there is what I would call an oversupply which has pushed prices down.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the best piece of business advice that you have ever received?
Heller: You learn more by listening than talking. Treat others as you expect to be treated, and keep an open mind.
Pallet Enterprise: What is the best part of working in this industry?
Heller: It comes down to the relationships built with associates and customers.†On the pallet supplier side, we all have some of the same issues so we can relate to each other. On the customer side, itís not an item where you sell it once and it is gone. With wooden pallets itís a repetitive type sale situation. Because of that, you get an opportunity to work with the same person day in and day out and that working relationship leads to a lot of friendships.
Pallet Enterprise: If you could do anything else in life, what would it be?
Heller: A teacher or coach. With over 19 employees Iíve ended up doing a lot of training and sharing a lot of the knowledge that I have gained. And I enjoy that aspect Ė seeing somebody else being able to pick up on something that I have learned. It is rewarding to see others grow in their ability to do their job and have a livelihood.