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CEO Stanley Johnson on Navigating Inflation and a Tough Labor Market

3 min read

Stanley A. Johnson started D.I.M. Way LLC in 2007 with one truck and trailer. He now has eight employees who operate two 18-wheel diesel tractors and multiple trailers to manage pallets for warehouses and manufacturers. He is also pastor of Lamplight Missionary Baptist Church in North Little Rock.

He studied ministry at Antioch Missionary Baptist Seminary in Little Rock and business management at Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock.

Briefly explain what your business does.

We are a pallet recycling/manufacturing company, building and recycling pallets for logistic warehouses, food-processing and manufacturing facilities in Arkansas.

What are your customers’ expectations?

Our customers expect a pallet to be reliably strong enough to sustain their product and be of high-quality materials, which we produce using our own saws to process the lumber used in building a pallet. I tell everyone we sell the porterhouse of pallets.

What are the big challenges to managing pallets and keeping them in good condition?

Having the right people in place to perform the work. We have a great group of employees who take pride in the pallets that we produce. Our pallets are stored inside. This eliminates rodent infestation and the pallets being exposed to the weather.

What has changed in the recycling world since you entered the business?

I started in this business in 1998. Most of what it takes to run a pallet business has not changed. Some areas are still hands-on, as far as getting the most out of a recycled pallet. Technology has given us a quicker process for streamlining the time it takes for pallets to be entered into our system and shipped to our customers.

How did the pandemic affect your business?

We never shut down due to COVID illnesses, but we changed the way we operated. Where two men were working in close proximity in a certain process in the making of pallets, we rearranged our setup to prevent any contamination. Our output and income did not take a hit during the shutdown. I owe that to God for keeping us healthy and operational.

Lumber prices rose sharply amid COVID. How did you navigate that challenge?

We looked for wood at the lowest cost. But prices were high all over the country. We replaced the use of new lumber for recycled and let our customers know the reason why. Lumber prices always affect our bottom line, so to say it was uncomfortable would be an understatement. But again, we were able to sustain it. Because of the increase in minimum wage, nail and wood costs, and the price increase in diesel to transport the pallets, we made increases in our pallet prices. Most customers understand this, but unfortunately you can’t satisfy everyone.

How do you find workers in a tough labor market?

We hire a lot of workers who are looking to re-enter the workforce after serving time for mistakes they may have made for whatever reason. A lot of employers do not want to give them a chance, but it is my passion to allow them a chance to move up instead of being cast aside. And when they come to work for us, they show their appreciation for allowing them the opportunity to rebuild their lives. All some of them want is an opportunity. And they have become some of our best employees.

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