The following story first appeared in the October issue of Way Out West
I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Jeff Calavan and Tony Butterfield who told me about their exciting new ‘made in the USA’ product, the Product Protector. Both men are well known to many Western Pallet Association (WPA) members, but what may be a surprise is that they are involved in a new venture not in supplying pallet lumber or pallets, but in helping pallets and forklifts do a better job to improve material handler safety and take cost out of the supply chain.
Jeff, vice president of the company, likes to make the comparison of the Product Protector to the bumper of a car. The attachment will work with any forklift, providing superior distribution of forklift impact by striking all three stringers or blocks of the pallet. The results are an eye opener. A study by White & Company reported that using the Pallet Protector can double the life of the pallet, and reduce product damage by 75 to 80 percent. With the Product Protector, pallets can withstand impact of 20 percent higher. The payback is almost immediate.
“We were a huge hit at the MODEX (material handling) show in Atlanta earlier this year,” Jeff says. So much so that for the upcoming ProMat show in Chicago, their booth is being moved from the back of the building to the front. The company already has many well-known customers, including Kroger, Anheuser Busch, Spartan Foods and many others.
Jeff sees the Product Protector as being ideal for both pallet suppliers and pallet users. “It is a way to create extra value for your customers,” he points out. The result for pallet customers will be less pallet damage, reduced product damage, as well as less falling product restacking and less debris to clean up. This all translates into reduced cost, improved safety, and better sanitation.
Jeff says that with forklift traffic buzzing around some facilities like a bee’s nest, one large customer really appreciates how Product Protector helps keep operators on their machine, instead of having to dismount in areas of heavy traffic to handle damaged product or debris.
Tony is equally excited about the Product Protector. “To me, what I have learned from the pallet industry is that everybody is concerned with supply chain. When Jeff presented the concept to me, a light bulb went off, and I wondered why someone hadn’t done this already. I am looking forward to the opportunity of continuing to work with pallet people in the WPA and NWPCA.”
Joining Jeff and Tony at Pallet Protector is Judy Panteleef, who has been with the company since May. For more information, visit www.productprotector.com.