Q: Did you always want to work in the logistics and supply chain industry? What’s your favorite part about being a consultant in this industry?
A: Yes, I have always felt passionate about supply chain and logistics. Logistics comes in so many different forms! I consider it part of my daily routine; it starts by planning the “logistics” of how my tasks for the day will be done and always trying to find the most efficient way to accomplish all the tasks in a timely manner. However, supply chain makes it even more interesting, especially in our industry. There can be thousands of DCs but each one operates differently and what may work for one DC, does not necessarily work for the next. This is one of the main reasons I love being a consultant in this industry: being able to be exposed to so many different processes within multiple DCs in the country.
Q: Over the last decade, we’ve seen more initiatives focused on supporting or increasing the engagement of women in supply chain. What advice do you have for other women considering supply chain management, logistics or industrial engineering as careers?
A: I love seeing the increase of women in our industry! My advice would be to work smarter, not harder. There is always a better way to do things and skills like creativity and critical thinking are so valuable in our industry. These two skills can lead to thinking outside the box which can really make a difference and get you far ahead in your career.
Q: You’ve spent a lot of hours within the four walls of a distribution center interacting with team members and front-line supervisors. What’s the most important takeaway from this group? How can senior leaders in supply chain better support them?
A: The most important takeaway from interacting with all levels of employees is simply being a human. There are three important components to this. Even though there are goals to meet and targets and tasks to accomplish each day and within each shift, we can’t forget the most important part of this industry—the people. First, front-line supervisors’ responsibility is to achieve specific goals through associates and the only way to success is motivation. In order to keep everyone motivated to do the work, you have got to know your people. What I mean by this is to know your people enough so that if there is a high performing employee that had a bad week, you know the reason why. Maybe that person is going through a tough time or they have something going on in life that is making it hard to keep up at work. The second key part is training. Providing the right tools and showing how these tools can be applied directly correlates to the level of success your team can achieve. Finally, communication is the last component. Of course, none of this can be done without communication. How can you motivate people? How can you train them and give them the necessary tools to succeed? Communication that goes both ways. By communicating, feedback will be given and with feedback comes improvements and improvement leads to success. These three components apply to all levels of our industry.
Q: You recently visited #ProMat19. What excites you the most about where distribution is headed over the next few years? Any new technology that you were particularly blown away by?
A: It’s the millennial generation! Technology plays a very large role in our industry and the field of robotics has been progressively growing. There is a high demand for robotic engineers which is expected to increase by more than 13% over the next 5 years! There will definitely be endless opportunities in the near future not only for robotics engineers but for logistics and supply chain professionals.
I was also blown away by Schaefer’s new pouch sorter system. It uses different color pouches to store the items/product/unit that will travel around a dynamic buffer which will organize orders by pouch color and by wave or batches into a perfect sequence to be packed for shipping. This new sorter system completely eliminates any labor involved at the sorter because associates are only processing orders when placing items into the pouch and getting the item out of the pouch to be packed.
Q: As a consultant, you travel a lot. Name the best restaurant you’ve been to during your work travels.
A: This is such a hard question! There was this Venezuelan restaurant located in Memphis, Tennessee called “Caiman Authentic Venezuelan Cuisine & Bakery” with amazing food but unfortunately, it does not exist anymore. It was great while it lasted! There is also another one called Garden Table in Indianapolis. The food is so tasty and rich in amazing flavors! Definitely a must if I am in Indy.
Q: What’s your go-to podcast, music, or book genre for those long flights and drives?
A: My favorite book is called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I think it is an excellent book, especially if you work in this people industry! For long drives, I like to listen to technology, educational and personal growth related podcasts. I get bored pretty quickly so I am always listening to different kinds of music including rock, pop, latino/spanish, classical, and early 2000s songs!