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From Pac-Man to Best Way for Efficient Order Delivery

As a second-generation owner of Electronic Imaging Materials, I started my first job at our company while I was in high school. My father would make calls during the day, take orders, and then make labels late in the night. My mother handled a lot of the paperwork, and I often came in after school to help with shipping the finished labels.

Pile of cardboard shipping boxes Early on, we were frustrated that we spent a lot of time copying information from one place to another, including handwriting entries into our carbon-copy UPS book for every shipment. Not only was this slow, but mistakes could easily creep in.

I sat down at the company’s single computer and worked out a short script we called “Pac-Man” that chomped order information in our accounting program and spit it back out in the format that would fit in the UPS book. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked, and in particular it helped us have more shipments ready to go just as the UPS truck pulled up.

More than twenty-five years later, deadline-driven delivery remains a high priority of mine, and though other aspects of running a business take up the majority of my time, I still contribute to the thousands of lines of scripting that automate our business.

Since Heather and I bought the business in 2007, we’ve shipped to over 90 different countries with our system generating the right paperwork for FedEx, DHL, freight carriers, the postal service, and of course still UPS. If you don’t specify a carrier, you may see “Best Way” on your order which means that we’ll automatically pick an efficient routing. Do you do your holiday shopping online? Similar to some of the largest online retailers (who happen to also be our customers) we upgrade lightweight shipments travelling cross-country to arrive earlier.

And the “Pac-Man” script? It retired well before my parents did in 2006, but we still honor the same principles — to provide fast response to meet customer labeling needs with innovative solutions.

Alex Henkel, President

Electronic Imaging Materials