One of the sayings I learned early in my pallet career was: “The customer signs our paycheck.”
A large pallet segment for us are tomato packers. One of our sales reps manages that market sector for us. We manufacture tomato pallets for packing operations from the very tip of south Florida all the way up the eastern seaboard to Virginia and Maryland. We also get into Tennessee.
Tomatoes are grown in warmer climates, so the picking and packing starts in Florida and makes its way north as summer begins. Virginia and Maryland are the final destinations.
The market transitions depend on the quality of the crops, the weather and the demand for tomatoes. It is not always smooth.
Last week, we learned that we were getting started in Virginia sooner than expected. The tomatoes were ready to be picked. The call came in on Wednesday.
Our plant had planned for an extended holiday weekend. They had worked extra hours so that Friday the plant could close. We didn’t have the pallets on hand.
Here’s how our Plant General Manager related the story:
“I received a text Wednesday at 10:17 saying the tomato farmers were starting up earlier than projected. In fact, they needed 3-4 loads by Sunday.
I gathered our assembly guys up and told them about our customer’s needs. I asked for volunteers and told them it was not mandatory to help. No hard feelings for anyone who did not want to come in.
To my delight, a majority of the assembly department agreed to come in on the 4th as well as a few of guys from another department that over heard what was going on.
Thursday, 14 of us came in to knock out a few loads. Also, our shipping coordinator had to work her magic to get these long hauls lined up over the weekend with short notice.”
It’s a lift to hear this story. People moving to get the customer what is needed, whatever it takes.
Makes me appreciative. Makes me proud. Makes me confident that we have a team that will get things done.
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