By Donna Slyster, Chief Information Officer, and Helene Sanford, Vice President, Human Resources
As a third-party logistics provider (3PL), Saddle Creek specializes in helping retailers, manufacturers and ecommerce companies get products where they need to be quickly, cost-effectively and seamlessly. We have grown from a small, regional public warehouse company to one of the largest family-owned 3PLs in North America, demonstrating steady revenue growth for the past 50 years.
As a result of this remarkable growth – and the increasing sophistication of the technology solutions our customers require – we are continually seeking talented technical associates.
It may come as a surprise that we are not searching for the next technological wunderkind. Instead, we’ve found that ideal candidates possess a healthy balance of technical expertise, big-picture vision, aptitude for true teamwork and singular focus on the customer.
Beyond the Basics
While we certainly look at college degrees, areas of technical expertise and years of experience as a baseline, we are particularly interested in individuals who excel in the following areas:
- Experience in solving tough challenges – We see problems as opportunities to make a difference for our customers. Our associates must be able to use logic and reasoning to resolve problems, prevent reoccurrence and prepare us for future challenges.
- Business intelligence skills – To help our customers make informed business decisions, our associates often must analyze raw data, present actionable information, and recommend changes to improve operational performance.
- A passion for technology and learning – We look for individuals who can learn on the fly, stay abreast of technology trends and demonstrate innovation. For example, one new trend is to implement gaming into business applications to improve the user interface and engagement.
- Project management skills – We expect our associates to have experience in delivering projects on time and on budget and, ultimately, satisfying the customer and achieving predetermined business objectives.
- Ability to understand business/customer needs and strategies – Individuals who truly understand the big picture (both in the short- and long-term) can design and implement technical solutions that add real competitive value for our business and our customers.
Skills like these are critical to help us continue to uphold our high standard for service excellence.
United in Focus on the Customer
We also take great care to select associates who fit our corporate culture and share our sense of entrepreneurial responsiveness. Our brand promise, Whatever It Takes!, is a significant competitive differentiator for Saddle Creek.
Over the last year, our operations leaders identified the qualities and attributes that distinguish our most successful warehouse supervisors and operations managers. Regardless of education level or years of experience, they determined that these individuals share the following characteristics:
- Interpersonal skills – An ability to communicate effectively with people inside and outside the organization, listen effectively, assimilate information from others and build rapport.
- Leadership presence – These individuals influence others to achieve team success and know how to best use individual team member resources and strengths to the benefit of the team.
- Positive attitude – They remain positive when faced with frustration, stress or change.
- Work ethic – They assume personal responsibility for making sure things get done.
- Learning agility – They can multitask and shift from one task to another with ease, grasp new concepts quickly and correctly and solve complex problems. This is perhaps the most important characteristic.
It really all comes down to working together as a team with a focus on the customer. As Millennials prepare themselves for careers in the logistics industry, they should seek out opportunities to develop superior interpersonal skills, hone their ability to pivot quickly when conditions change and establish a strong work ethic. These qualities are a key differentiator in the workforce.
We are always on the lookout for candidates in the technology arena that possess this admirable combination of characteristics.