If you were driving through the outskirts of Fort Edward and didn’t know to look for the offices of Pallets Incorporated, you could easily drive right by. What you wouldn’t see, when pulling up, is what’s behind the unassuming façade of what appears to be a well-cared for home – 14 acres of facilities dedicated to manufacturing wood pallets, servicing used pallets, and providing a multitude of other wood applications.
Pallets Incorporated has been located at 99 ½ East Street in Fort Edward since 1942 when it was founded by Arthur S. Binley Jr. We recently sat down with Arthur’s grandson, Clint Binley, to discuss his business – both where it has come from, and where it is going.
When Arthur Binley first started Pallets Inc., employees assembled pallets by hand – swinging a 2 ½ pound hammer over and over again all day long. At the end of the day, they were paid by the number of nails they would drive, more or less depending on if they were using pre-drilled holes or if they had to make them from scratch. Since then, Pallets has automated their systems. They now have two high production nailing machines that are capable of manufacturing 150 to 170 pallets per hour.
Serving clients from central Massachusetts, through western NY, and Canada, to Pennsylvania, Pallets Inc. has expanded its business from manufacturing and servicing pallets, to also recycling pallets, manufacturing mulch and boiler fuel, selling lumber and firewood, creating custom crating, heat treating products for international shipping, and a plethora of other wood applications. Per Clint, the kilns Pallets Inc. has on their property are maintained to rigorous standards. “We go through monthly audits where we have to show every kiln charge that we have made, making sure that we are complying with international standards for treating lumber. This prevents bugs from migrating into new countries, like the Asian Longhorn Beetle, which recently did a lot of damage to trees in the United States. That’s one of the things that precipitated ensuring that international heat treating takes place.”
In the course of their daily business, Pallets uses technology not only in its manufacturing process, but also in its business administration. Through the years, Tech II Business Services has been there to help out with their technology roadmap. As their ad hoc IT Department, Tech II has been there to install the phone system, virtualize the servers, perform backups, generate monthly reports, and have sit down meetings when needed. “If there’s something that’s going on, or new technology to be explored, Tech II is a phone call away, and the next day we’re sitting down talking about whatever issues are at hand.”
Most recently, Pallets decided to upgrade their surveillance cameras. When they were originally installed about five years ago, it was mostly with security in mind. At that time, Pallets chiefly deployed analog cameras, but did justify a couple high definition IP cameras in more trafficked areas. A full upgrade to IP was evaluated, but was cost prohibitive at that time.
It soon became clear that they were able to use the IP cameras differently than the analog. The analog cameras were able to give a good general look of the operation, but Clint soon realized that he really wanted to drill down on some of the training and production aspects. Additionally, the high definition IP cameras proved to be an integral part of maintaining safety.
“To that point, we had some unsafe acts that weren’t performed by our employees, but by visitors. In one case, this caused destruction. If there had been a person there in the wrong place at the wrong time, that person could have been hurt, if not killed. The IP cameras that we had installed allowed us to read a license plate 150 yards away. We could very clearly see the driver, the license plate, and everything else we needed.”
Even after those scenarios, it was still difficult to justify going with IP HD cameras, but now Tech II is offering new technology that leverages the existing coax and low voltage cabling infrastructure and provides an HD camera at 50% of what the IP cameras would have been. Suddenly, the business case became a relatively easy decision.
Another point of consideration with regard to the new technology is that should they choose to continue using the older analog cameras, they could. With the “brains” (the main unit) installed, cameras could be upgraded to high definition one at a time as it made sense.
When asked about this, Clint stated, “We could do that, and I looked at that option, but by the time I explored using the older technology or getting something three times as powerful, or three times better quality than what we had – for the price, it just made more sense to go ahead and replace them all. With a 5 year warranty, it was very easy to make that decision.”
Clint realized that more than just security, these high definition cameras offered another benefit that was just as important to his business – the ability to train his employees in work safety. “We use it for training instructions. I think it’s critical these days that people have an idea not only of what is expected of them, but also what’s not expected of them. Using the higher definition cameras that we’re employing now, provides an even better detail of a person’s job. In a production mode or training mode, this will be a very good fit. Safety applications which show safe acts, as well as unsafe acts, enable employees to improve upon their daily routines. We don’t have a high theft environment, so that’s not a major concern, but there is definitely more value on the production and safety side.”
As Pallets Inc. continues its journey into an ever-changing technological landscape, Tech II is there to continue supporting and guiding those technology decisions that bring value to the company. In providing back-ups and real-time monitoring of the systems that are needed for business to flourish, Tech II instills a confidence in the knowledge that no matter what it is – it’s handled.
To find out more about Pallets Inc., visit their website or contact the office directly at (518) 747-4177.
To find out more about our video surveillance systems, visit that section of our website by clicking here.
For more information on the many services Tech II has available to help your business, visit us online, or give us a call at (518) 587-1565 and simplify your technology.