Some logistics service providers are looking for different ways to hire and deploy logistics engineers to better meet the needs of customers.
CEVA Logistics and Menlo Worldwide Logistics, for example, seek people who previously worked as logisticians for shippers.
Former CEVA Chief Executive John Pattullo, who retired Oct. 12, said at the Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals conference in Atlanta that the company deliberately hires from its customer base. About a third of senior executives hired by the company in recent years previously worked for manufacturers or retailers.
In January, for example, the company hired Inna Kuznetsova to be its chief commercial officer. She previously was vice president of marketing and sales enablement for IBM Systems Software.
The people who leave companies that sell products to join a 3PL typically want to work for a business whose core function is logistics, Pattullo said.
The big advantage of having people in the supply chain department who are used to working in a shipper’s organization is that they understand the customer’s needs and expectations, Gary Kowalski, Menlo’s chief operating officer, told American Shipper in Atlanta.
Menlo is also moving some of its top people from logistics operations into sales because their knowledge, and ability to explain solutions, gives them instant credibility with customers, Kowalski said.
The San Mateo, Calif.-based supply chain company recently promoted Carl Fowler to senior director of sales and field solutions for the entire enterprise. He has a strong operations background and came to the sales side a year ago from his position as senior director of 4PL services, the company’s strategic planning offering.
Matt Emison also has a senior role in sales after holding a variety of transportation, warehousing and project management roles.
Kowalski said the moves are an attempt to be more proactive in sales, recommending solutions to logistics problems, rather than waiting and reacting to requests for proposals, which are very competitive and don’t guarantee business.
“The best sales person is an operator with a sales personality because they speak from experience. They’re more believable,” Joe Gallick, senior vice president of sales at Penske Logistics in Reading, Pa., said on the sidelines of the conference.
The company’s Supply Chain Leaders Program, which speeds top college recruits through a variety of challenging roles to prepare them for leadership positions, provides a good opportunity to understand the behavioral qualities of employees early on. Most supply chain management graduates don’t expect a career in sales, but the company can tell in the first two years whether someone has an aptitude for marketing, he said.