I got started in the supply chain industry 28 years ago when I was tired of the replacement window sales and knew I needed a change to create a career path for myself. I was an Agriculture Major out of College and worked a number of jobs before I started a real career. I worked for the Illinois Department of Agriculture in Springfield, worked on an oil rig in Oklahoma and as previously stated sold replacement windows in Chicago. When I was serious about developing a career change I followed up on a newspaper ad for a sales position selling lift trucks for Crown Lift Trucks. During the interview process we walked around the facility and went into the warehouse and all the lift trucks were beige in color. I thought they should have been green as I thought I was interviewing with Clark Lift Trucks. Clark was the name that I associated to all lift trucks. Boy has the paradigm changed for leaders in the lift truck manufacturing industry. I was hired as a territory salesman for 7 years, then a sales manager for three years and onto National Accounts for the remainder of my time there. After 12.5 years I made the change to Associated as a National Account Manager, and have been in that position for 15.5 years. During these years the supply chain industry has had a positive influence on my family and I as I have been able to provide a comfortable living, raising three children, put them through school and paid for one wedding. The supply chain industry has also greatly changed through the 28 years that I have been in it. In the beginning I sold lift trucks and we talked about how much steel was in a truck and how big the drive tire and drive motors were. Today customers are much more sophisticated and they take into account many more KPI’s when making a purchase. Things like energy consumption, cost per hour, utilization, fleet management and optimization, how the trucks interface with warehouse and Labor management systems, including job coding. Customers want to know where their lift trucks are in their warehouses and who is operating them and what they are doing, in real time. Customer facilities have become much more automated with conveyors, carousels, and goods to person systems. In order to survive material handling sales professionals had to change and not just sell steel but be a consultant for our customers. Our customers expect us to be able to assist with the planning and layout of their facilities from the ground up, as well as being a systems integrator. We have to be able to help our customers with fleet management helping them right size their truck fleet and develop a fleet replacement plan. All these requirements have drastically changed the supply chain industry and companies that don’t change and adapt will be long forgotten (like the green lift trucks).
In my 28 years in the supply chain industry I believe I have had a positive impacted due to the fact that I have a customer first attitude every day. I am truly interested in helping customers with their material handling issues, and my customers know it. I have a very loyal customer base due to the fact that I have my customer’s best interest in mind. I am not in this industry for a quick windfall, but for a long term partnership and to have a lasting career. All the above has a positive effect on people around me. My son is a senior at Iowa State and will be majoring in Supply Chain Management so I have really influenced him to get into this industry. With an honest, customer first, hardworking attitude I believe I promote a positive representation to the supply chain industry.