November-December 2016

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mbracing new technology is not easy. Is the wood packaging industry ready? For this PalletCentral article, we compiled comments from our industry thought leaders on several areas of old and new technology, along with a little nostalgia. We reached out to all of our members – from industry leaders to supplier partners and end-user members – and here is what they had to say about technology in answer to the following questions: Q1: What 'old' technologies/equipment do you still use? Fax machine, dot matrix printer, walkie talkie, pagers, paper rolodex, mimeograph? Q2: What modern day technology/equipment do you use (laptop computer, smartphone, paperless fax machine, electronic billing/invoicing, business software? Q3: Which new tools are your favorite toys that you or your business couldn't survive without in today's business environment? Q4: Which available new technologies, such as driverless vehicles, drones, robotics, 3-D printing, RFIDs or other, do you anticipate using for your business in the short term (1-3 years) or long term (3-10 years)? And what tasks or efficiencies do you expect to improve or replace with new technology? Bradley R. Van Swol, AAI, CPIA, Vice President, Hays Companies Insurance A1: Paper copy of a daily planner. If I lose it I'm toast, but it's what works for me. A2: Without a doubt, my iPhone map app! A3: Working with clients throughout the country, I rely on my iPhone map app. It might take me on the longer route, and I'll have no idea where I am, but it gets me where I need to be! A4: Our organization runs 36 offices nationally. We'll continue to utilize every new form of communication technology that becomes available to improve overall efficiencies. Email and text messaging has its place, but Live Chat, Live Conferencing, Linked-In Navigator allow us to work better with our clients. We also incorporate advances in computing power such as programs through SalesForce where large volumes of data are stored in the cloud at minimal cost. The algorithms are easy to access and help us to improve sales while ensuring that we are selling the right products to the right customers. In-office face time is invaluable, people are busy and efficiency is critical. With these advances in technology, I can work with a client located 500 miles away on a daily basis more effectively than I can with quarterly in-office meetings. More importantly, customer relationship management (CRM) allows for sales on a global scale. Location becomes insignificant as long as I deliver as promised. Technology in robotics is amazing, especially in healthcare where once difficult medical procedures are almost routine and recovery times are reduced dramatically. Drones? There will be more regulations, but drones will have a place when it comes to improving efficiency and reducing costs; i.e. a drone can probably more efficiently deliver a package than a vehicle when you factor in fuel, vehicle maintenance, etc. Drones have range limitations and will never be the end-all be-all when it comes to technology. Their usage will depend on what works for that particular business. Will drones impact the labor force? Possibly, but it may be more about transitioning roles of labor than it is a reduction in labor. The same for driverless vehicles which is part of the evolution of technology where you'll E Industry Thought Leaders Share Their Favorite Toys and Gadgets INDUSTRY 12 PalletCentral • November-December 2016

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