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CWPCA/ACMPC Western Meeting: Pallet Group Hooks Onto Big Ones at April Point
Canadian Pallet Trade Group Holds Regional Gathering in B.C.
Date Posted: 12/2/2002
April Point Lodge, British Columbia—Pallet meetings are always an opportunity to start or refresh acquaintanceships, as well as to swap ideas and business leads. And sometimes the location is so breathtaking that it imparts a special lasting bond among those who are in attendance.
Such was the case at British Columbia’s April Point Lodge this past September, when the Discovery Passage location hosted the CWPCA/ACMPC Western Meeting and first fishing derby. Of about 80 meeting participants, about 60 made their way to Deepwater Bay, eight miles north of April Point Resort, to try their luck for Chinook and Coho salmon and if really lucky, the elusive Tyee.
Attendees took home a wealth of memories, from Jeff Calavan playing his hand carved flute to entice salmon into his boat, to seals actually jumping into the Adventure Tour boat to save themselves from Killer Whales. There were also stories of swimming with salmon in Campbell River, and Sammy the Seal who put on impromptu performances each evening for guests on the deck.
Several participants also took home salmon. The first day fishing results were noteworthy. John Heller of H & S Forest Products caught a 25-pound Chinook salmon. On Tuesday, Mike Weiler of Double JJ Investments hooked a 20.5-pound Chinook, followed by Duncan Smith of Terdun Materials Management landing an 18-pound Chinook. In total, they caught 31 fish in two days that were taken home by the anglers. More fish were actually caught, but rules require the release of wild Coho.
John Heller’s 25-pound Chinook won the crystal Salmon sculpture Moby Dick Award. Duncan Smith of Terdun Materials Management won the Mondays’ prize for his 18-pound Chinook and Mike Weiler won the Tuesday prize with a 20.5-pound Chinook. Mark Pagenkopf of Alberta Pallet won the Mystery Weight with a 6-pound Coho caught on Tuesday. Noted also was Joe Smith’s 15- pound Coho caught on Wednesday morning before his departure. Joe’s 15-pound hatchery Coho was one of the largest Coho’s caught this year in the Campbell River area.
Gnothole Pallet Software
Slightly off the water, Sunday’s Welcome Reception provided a great opportunity for attendees to meet and network. Monday morning opened with a presentation from Lan Solutions’ Ken Bowes who presented Gnothole, his company’s new software product. Gnothole is a cost effective wood management system developed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada by LAN Solutions in participation with Foothills Pallet.
Foothills Pallet first approached LAN Solutions about two years ago to assist in improving its data flow. The initial focus was to reduce the amount of paper that flowed in and out of each department. LAN Solutions at first developed a collection of spreadsheets designed to expedite the processing of sales and purchases. Additional spreadsheets where developed to assist in inventory control and cost averaging. This system worked well but had some problems:
• Associated spreadsheets could not be easily linked.
• Lack of real time data access between different departments.
• Manual data entry from the close of one month to the opening of the next
• Manual transposing of data became time consuming and had the potential to
• Revision control was very hard to manage.
After reaching a point where further spreadsheet-based development was not cost-effective LAN Solutions decided to shift gears. LAN Solutions took the spreadsheet system, and using what it had learned from Foothills Pallet about the wood industry, it designed a fully functional wood management software application, which it named Gnothole.
Gnothole is now being marketed to fulfill the need for an affordable wood management solution specifically for small to medium size operations. The software includes inventory control, purchasing, sales, coding, application maintenance and reporting modules. These modules have been designed so any wood based re-selling company can implement the software. Gnothole’s first specific manufacturing module, Pallet Design and Quotation, has been created for pallet production companies to quote pallets utilizing costing information from the Inventory Control module.
Prior to commencing the development of Gnothole, LAN Solutions searched for existing wood management products that would satisfy the requirements of a small to medium sized company in the wood industry. It found only large, expensive applications that had implementation costs of over $100,000. It felt that the purchase, implementation and maintenance of these expensive systems were not feasible for many businesses in the wood and pallet industries.
Ken emphasized that Gnothole is not restricted to the Pallet industry and can be implemented in any organization that purchases, assembles and resells lumber or plywood. It would be of special interest to companies contemplating developing or currently developing ‘in-house solutions,’ those thinking of upgrading or replacing a legacy solution, or those still operating a paper based solution and requiring an alternative.
Ken reported that Beta testing of Gnothole is now underway, with the first commercial release scheduled for Jan 2003. For more information about Gnothole please check out their web page at www.gnothole.com or contact Mark Allison or Kenneth Bowes at (403) 255-5026.
Western Lumber Availability
Following Ken’s presentation and questions, a very informative talk was presented on the current and future outlook of western lumber availability and pricing. Jim Whiteside of Vandemeer Forest Products discussed the SPF and aspen market, while Jeff Calavan of Northwest Hardwoods updated the delegates on the availability of alder. Arjinder Brar of DS Timber (Surrey BC), Minder Johal of Westwood Wholesale Lumber (Surrey BC), and Johnny Weiler of Double JJ Investment Ltd., an aspen producer from La Crete, Alberta, added valuable information.
Generally speaking the lumber situation will not change quickly. The BC Government continues to look for markets offshore. Everyone agreed that pallet lumber was continuing to flow south but the profit margins have had to be reduced. Everyone is looking for a decision or direction from the two governments. Jeff Calavan reported that the alder market was strong, with much of the grade alder finding markets in Asia and the cant material finding markets locally in Washington and Oregon. The price is strong and will continue to be strong in the near future.
Wood Packaging Certification For Export
On Tuesday, the meeting opened with an update on the Canadian Wood Packaging Certification Program in Canada and the US – ALSC Certification program. This was followed by a presentation on the "Repair of Certified Units" for export by Doug Kyle of CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency). This is one case where the Canadian pallet industry is pushing for a higher standard than the regulating body. The industry wants to recertify the entire wooden container, while the regulatory agency feels that simply replacing any damaged part with HT lumber will suffice.
The CFIA believes that if a recycler retrieves a certified unit from any IPPC partner country (China, Japan, Taiwan) this unit must be accepted into Canada as being certified to the HT or fumigation levels demanded by the IPPC. It is their contention that if a certified pallet requires replacement of one or a number of boards or stringers, and when the CFIA certified repair operation uses HT lumber, that operator can then re-certify that unit for reuse for export. CFIA has argued that re-certification of the entire unit would put undue and unnecessary financial pressure on the Canadian purchaser.
CWPCA/ACMPC believes, on the other hand, that to simply replace a board and stamp the unit certified puts excessive stress on the repairer. Following the CFIA’s policy, the repair operation now must take full responsibility of this unit. If units begin to return from foreign ports due to an undue number of pests or our government receives a large number of complaints from governments abroad, the policy could be in danger of having countries demand additional regulations.
The CWPCA posture is to be more stringent in repair policy. It feels that tighter controls will protect the integrity of Canadian policy and industry in the long term. It would like to see policy wording to include: "With respect to the IPPC Policy requirement, all recycled solid wood packaging must be treated by HT kiln or fumigation after re-manufacture or repair to be considered certifiable for reuse and export."
New regulations for export dunnage and cut stock were also introduced. All wood used for export dunnage must be treated and marked in accordance to the specifications of the CWPCP, using a wood packaging certification stamp containing the letter "D" which designates dunnage.
The policy for pallet kits was re-written to stop Canadian certified pallets being sent in kit form to be assembled in other countries. The only way other countries can currently purchase Canadian certified pallets is to purchase them assembled. Pallet kits and RTA (Ready to assemble) packaging can be certified with a phytosanitary certificate to verify that the requirements of the standard have been met, but the assembled package or pallet must be certified by the importing nation.
A final presentation was made by Rod Scott of Rod Scott Pallets Pty of Australia and Graeme Weck of G.J. Weck & Sons of New Zealand, both members of the CWPCA/ACMPC. They updated delegates on the requirements of solid wood packaging to their countries. A summary of New Zealand’s import requirements for wood can be found at www.maf.govt.nz/Standards/plants/forest/index.htm, and Australian Rules for the Import of Solid Wood Packaging Materials & Dunnage can be obtained through the CWPCA office.
This successful CWPCA/ACMPC meeting and fishing derby was sponsored by Stanley Bostitch Canada, Viking Engineering & Development, Advance Lumber Remanufacturing, G. Wine Sales, Baker Products, and Westwood Wholesale Lumber Ltd. Another derby is planned for 2004.