President, Consumer & Industrial Logistics at GENCO on their challenges and solutions

Andy Smith President, Consumer & Industrial Logistics at GENCO on their challenges and solutions reflects on what eft’s 3PL award nomination means to GENCO and how they’re preparing for continuous improvement.

1.       What does it mean for GENCO to be nominated by its customers within eft’s 3PL awards top five in these categories?  

As always, we’re honored to be considered for the Eyefortransport awards.  The nominations are truly a reflection of our teammates and the talent and commitment they exhibit every day. Their dedication to driving results through operational excellence for each one of our customers is the reason we are and continue to be successful. It means even more to us when our customers recognize the same dedication.


2.       What do you think makes you stand out in the Consumer Goods and Industrial categories? Can you give any specific examples of where you think you’ve made significant gains for your customers in these categories?

I think there are two primary reasons that we’ve stood out in these industries specifically. The first component is what we’ve done in the past; Building successful long-term customer relationships allows us to leverage best practices and operational excellence across our organization, while developing solutions tailored to our customers. At the same time, we’ve always recognized the importance of innovation. We’ve invested in technology, automation, robotics and our Research & Development team to continue to challenge what we’ve done in the past. I believe the combination of experience and invention drives our success.


3.       How do you implement continuous improvement for your customers in terms of ensuring that you innovate and widen your solution offering?

We recognize that our most important asset is our teammates. If we empower them to put new learnings into action rapidly, that’s the ultimate competitive advantage for our customers. For example, we ensure that all processes are documented and understood, to validate that safety, quality and pace can all be achieved—and if they can’t be, we work with teammates to understand what needs improvement in a non-punitive discussion. With the management team on the floor, encouraging engagement and innovation at an individual teammate level, it’s easy to understand where improvements can be made. We use that process across our services—which we continue to expand—from inbound transportation through reverse logistics.


4.       Where do you see the biggest challenges within Consumer Goods and Industrial?

Omni-channel ordering is referenced most often in a retail environment, but it’s changing nearly every industry in some way. Consumer goods companies are being challenged to shift to smaller, more frequent orders and leaner inventories. That drastically changes how a warehouse operates—and holding onto legacy systems of operating could be severely damaging for a company. Conversely, I think “Big Data” and real-time data visibility make this same challenge a huge opportunity. If companies react proactively to the changes, it could be a huge competitive advantage. And as always, talent development and retention is a concern—especially with wage rates in flux in other industries.


5.       How is GENCO preparing for these challenges?

If data is an opportunity, we’ve got the advantage—because we have a lot of it. The benefit of operating 130 facilities and 37 million square feet is being able to leverage data across all of them. We’re constantly looking to identify trends, implement cost avoidance measures, and continue to find innovative engineering approaches for our customers. Our most successful relationships occur when we partner closely with the customer to identify best practices and tailor them specifically to their operations.


6.       Name one way a Consumer Goods company could make a change today to be ahead in the future?

Outsource to a partner with the capability to scale in volume and in services. With more frequent, smaller orders, it’s more difficult to self-distribute or even use different providers for transportation, distribution, packaging, etc. We’ve started to see companies trending towards finding a provider that can combine all of these services across a network. GENCO, for example, has customers for which we manage nearly the entire product lifecycle across their network. And that kind of visibility means we understand how to improve not only distribution, but network footprint, transportation management, fulfillment, reverse logistics, and more. We’ve started to see the trend towards combining services, and I think it will continue to be an advantage.


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