J.W. Allen's Company News: First Edition

Posted September 14, 2010
Category Company News
In 1932 business was personified by a, Do what it takes and get the job done philosophy. Waiting online then meant standing in line at the Customs House to get your paperwork processed. Delivering documents to the carriers by each Brokers runner was routine and employing a hands on approach at the docks was the rule of the day. Although performing International business with a pencil, paper, and a handshake was then the industry norm, the shipping process was anything but efficient.

As the years passed and new technology became available, J.W. Allen & Company quickly adapted to this new high-tech environment. For many years Underwood typewriters, one adding machine, carbon copies and a ditto machine were used to process entries and service our clients.

Then in the 1960s things started to change. For every export shipment it was necessary to stand in line waiting to get your export declaration validated, then delivering it to the s/s line who would call the clerk on the riverfront and give the okay to load the cargo.

During this time the tempo of business was at the speed of postal mail, with overseas transmissions being handled by Western Union. J.W. Allens Mr. Harwell, who processed most of the LC shipments and handled distribution of documents, would type up a telegram, walk over to the wall and ring a bell that would alert the Western Union office. A Western Union courier would pickup the communication, bring it back to their office and telegraph it overseas. While at the time it was state of the art, a message could still take days to reach its recipient.

Technologys next jump came in the form of overnight couriers such as Federal Express and UPS. While handling shipments for Weyerhaeuser in Tacoma, Washington we were advised to send documents by overnight courier; not by Express Mail as usual but by an outfit called Federal Express. Quickly recognizing the benefit overnight couriers would bring to the industry, J.W. Allen welcomed this new speed of international business.

Dawning the next major change in international business, fax machines brought the ability to transmit shipment information in minutes as opposed to days, significantly streamlining communications. J.W. Allens first fax machine was the result of securing new business from Riceland Foods, requiring us to purchase a fax machine at the then unbelievable price of $2,000. Although Mr. Bernard, our President at the time, nearly died when he heard the cost, the purchase was made and fax machines became part of our everyday life.

The Shipping Reform Act, Customs automation and the development of the Automated Export System ushered in J.W. Allens first computer system; a single desktop unit. Although in the beginning a long line to use the companys one computer was common, this one computer quickly gave way to an expanded network providing a computer for each employees desk.

The development of the internet and improvements in telecommunications set the stage for the most dramatic change in the handling of international business. Email and smart phones allow instantaneous communications that regardless of your location and at a moments notice places a wide range of information at your fingertips. A person can receive an e-mail, forward it to someone in his office who can immediately call the supplier and get confirmation the shipment is being or has been picked up, with a follow-up reply to the original sender affirming the original inquiry. Amazing! The handling of international business went from ringing a bell on the wall to the iPhones we hold today.

Recognizing that the internet has become a tremendous business asset and that J.W. Allens website is our business card in the 21st century, this site has been developed with you, our client, in mind. A wide variety of value added resources has been incorporated to enhance your international shipping operations. Whether you need a rate, need to locate a government agency, or find out the status of your shipment, its all at your fingertips. So take the time and look around; you may be surprised at the level of support youll find is available.

It is with great pride that we welcome you to our new website!


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