VP of Fulfillment Service Delivery
Radial’s employee experience is based on camaraderie and fellowship – that’s why it’s a great place to work. I experienced firsthand building bonds with colleagues during unexpected occurrences.
Where are you based, and how long have you been with Radial??
I live in Maryland but am remote, covering the Eastern Region for Radial’s fulfillment network.I’ve been with Radial for almost eight years.
What is your role at Radial? How has your career grown since starting at Radial?
At Radial, I held various roles; most recently, I was promoted to Vice President of Fulfillment Service Delivery. I oversee Radial’s fulfillment and commercial deals in my new role, mainly performing renewals, contracts, extensions, and new agreements. I work closely with our legal and deal enablement team. The VP position also entails daily interactions with subordinate supervisors, managers, and clients. It requires me to wear many hats and navigate relationships instrumental to Radial’s success.
I started at Radial in 2014 as an operations supervisor in Martinsville, Virginia. The supervisor role jump-started my ability to lean on the skills I had acquired in the military and previous work experiences. Following that, I became an operations manager, then a senior operations manager, also known as a value stream manager. In 2019 I was promoted to site director of fulfillment services, senior director of fulfillment services, and now to VP. Looking back, I’ve had a successful career trajectory, and I’m pleased to share my experiences and see others grow every day.
What is the best career advice or lesson you have learned so far?
The best advice I have received is to take ownership of your circumstances. Every situation is controllable, and its outcome is based on how you approach it. It’s human nature to have an adverse reaction when faced with an obstacle; to combat that, I challenge my teams to think beyond their current circumstances. I’ve observed a positive impact with this mindset and believe it keeps team members motivated, accountable, and curious.
What do you feel makes Radial a great place to work for full-time and seasonal employees?
Radial’s employee experience is based on camaraderie and fellowship – that’s why it’s a great place to work. I experienced firsthand building bonds with colleagues during unexpected occurrences. Like the military, when you are in the trenches with your teammates, you build stronger relationships and trust each other and everyone’s abilities.
Let’s Dive into Peak
When do you start peak preparedness efforts within the fulfillment centers at Radial? What does that entail?
The formal process of peak kicks off six months before. When planning for peak, my leaders and I brainstorm, problem-solve and ideate new ideas. We test new strategies and approaches yearly and bring new elements and technologies into the business. And if they worked the following year, we carry them through to the next. If these strategies do not work as desired, we go back to the drawing board and think about how we can do certain operations differently and be well prepared.
Before peak kick-off, we formulate a checklist, ensure we have enough assets, do labor and financial planning, and perform units per hour (UPH) scrubs which examine labor and forecasting employment figures.
What does your day-to-day look like during peak season?
I usually start my mornings by reviewing site performance from the previous day and examining any underlining trends. Second, I check in with our clients; we typically have some sense of how the conversation will go based on the site’s performance. From there, I am constantly checking in with my subordinate leaders, senior directors, site leaders, and on-site directors to ensure they have the resources they need to be successful. Suppose they need support navigating a complex client conversation or need more peak wages or incentives – whatever it is – I am available to help and loop in key stakeholders – whether it’s finance, HR, or legal – so we can make swift decisions and support the sites as best we can.
What does the day-to-day look like for a fulfillment associate during peak season?
Fulfillment associates start their day by attending a start-of-shift meeting held by their supervisor. The supervisor generally goes over safety topics, calls out a couple of outstanding highlights from the previous day and things to look out for, and covers volume goals.
Following the meeting, associates begin work, so if they are a picker, they pick up a radio frequency (RF) device, grab a cart and start picking units. If they are a packer, they go to a pack station filled with units ready to be packed and start packing orders.
And then, as needed, their supervisor may change their task or function. For instance, a picker could become a packer or vice versa, depending on volumes, headcount, and needs.
What is your favorite aspect of peak season?
My favorite part of peak is winning as a team. For supervisors, site directors, and other leaders, peak season has already begun. Once game day arrives, it’s very satisfactory to see everything play out and to see our teams smash their goals—everyone’s demeanor changes, and they are excited.
I also enjoy the engagement activities at sites. I recall one instance when I set a target for a team to ship 30,000 units during one shift, and if they achieved this, I would sing karaoke for the site. The team ended up hitting the goal and even set a new record! The next day, we built a stage and set up the AV equipment, and I sang Shake it Off by Taylor Swift in front of the whole site.
From your experience, what is the secret to a successful peak?
It’s all about the planning. As leaders of this organization, we are already planning and putting in the extra effort and time now to prepare for our associates and ensure that everything is executed properly. We get to a point where peak days become just like any other day but with more volume and more associates. At that point, the strategies we’ve worked hard to develop drive themselves.
How has the peak changed from years prior?
Over the past years, peak season has drastically changed amid the surge of online shopping. The pandemic was a catalyst for the retail industry, consumer behavior has shifted, and organizations like Radial have also innovated. In 2020 and 2021, eCommerce growth created greater labor demands, resulting in third-party logistics providers like Radial opening new facilities to support clients’ growing needs. Now we are faced with a new baseline of volumes to achieve.
Are there any changes or new initiatives Radial has deployed within its fulfillment centers you are most proud of, or feel have improved how the company and employees operate?
In recent years, Radial launched a new operating model, essentially a standard operating process (SOP)for how sites should operate. This new program captures metrics, training, documentation, and the onboarding of new associates. Its implementation has helped us win and standardize operations across our fulfillment network.
Are there any new technologies or tools fulfillment facilities are adopting?
We’ve implemented automation recently over the last year and a half, and we are seeing the benefits of those efforts come to light. Our investment in new technology enhances our awareness and mobility within the network and helps us achieve more in a labor-constrained environment. These investments have enabled us to better serve and achieve more for our clients.
Are there any trends you’re anticipating unfolding this peak season?
I anticipate Christmas shopping to be relatively strong, even with talks of a looming recession. Consumers will likely exercise caution when spending but will be in the spirit of gifting.
What is one word that describes peak season at Radial? Why?
Peak season is exhilarating. I compare peak season to playing football – when game day comes, it’s time to show what you’ve been training for. Every peak morning is exciting. What’s next? What challenges do I get to solve today?
What advice, guidance, or insight would you share for anyone potentially interested in a job at Radial during peak season?
Embrace the environment! Peak season comes and goes quickly, and the thrill is worth planning. Ask questions because someone else has been in your situation nine times out of ten and can help you. Radial is very invested in its employee experience, and its model helps employees navigate peak and transition into full-time positions.