"Looking to improve turnaround times for materials handling, a Navy Supply Corps officer named Norman Cahners - who would go on to found the publishing giant of the same name - invented the "four-way pallet." This relatively minor refinement, which featured notches cut in the side so that forklifts could pick up pallets from any direction, doubled material-handling productivity per man. If there's a Silver Star for optimization, it belongs to Cahners."
(Article: "The Single Most Important Object in the Global Economy: The pallet", 2400 words; via BoingBoing; photo source)
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