“I am always thinking about how we can maximize and fulfill all of our customer’s requests.”

It’s been great for me personally and professionally. I grew up less than 30 miles away, so being this close to home has been wonderful, and I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work for a great company with such a rich history. S: What is your approach to operations. BC: I’m very process oriented. My previous experience and time spent with other distribution centers allowed for extensive Lean training, which focuses on the philosophy of trying to minimize any wasted movement or motion to make jobs easier and more efficient. The other part of my approach to operations is addressing customer needs. I am always thinking about how we can maximize and fulfill all of our customer’s requests. Blish-Mize is so unique because we work with small businesses, and I get the opportunity to work through multiple departments. This really helps everything come full circle and allows me to share with our team what goes on outside the building and how their work makes an impact. So to sum it up, I try to make everyone’s job easier by avoiding unnecessary actions while fulfilling customer needs to the best of our ability and explaining to my team why we are doing things a certain way and how their work impacts the customers. We’re continuing to move in the right direction, which has been very rewarding. S: What are your 2023 goals and expectations for yourself and the company? BC: I’d say our biggest goal is to continue to improve our customer service. We’ve made great strides just in the last few months. This means continuing to focus on aspects like getting trucks out on time and making those delivery times so our customers are satisfied and happy to partner with us. Another goal is to invest in the development of our warehouse employees and leadership team. I want to make sure we continue to build foundations for good leaders to follow in our footsteps going forward. We’ve been limited in this area over the past couple of years due to issues like staffing shortages and the pandemic, but we now have an opportunity to circle back and really prioritize training and developing new leaders. This includes taking steps to educate the team on key business performance indicators. Lastly, we want to improve our accuracy percentage and get that over 99%. We also want to be over 99% with all our trucks leaving on time and utilize our equipment and tools so we are reaching max efficiency. On top of those improvements, we want to maintain our high safety standards. S: What are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities for retailers right now and in the near future? How is Blish-Mize planning to help retailers in those areas? BC: I think the supply chain network as a whole is a challenge. Retailers are still having issues with having the exact items their customers are looking for. To help with this, we’ve really looked outside the box for different vendor partners, manufacturers

—Brady Clark, vice president of operations

Vice President of Operations, Brady Clark, started at Blish-Mize in June 2022.

and companies to help supply our warehouse so we have product available for our retail partners. I think that’ll continue to be a big challenge. I think the other challenge will be inflation, which means finding ways to keep operating costs at a minimal level so retailers can still provide their goods and services to their customers at a reasonable cost. Transportation and fuel costs are going to be huge factors in solving that challenge. To combat them, we are taking a hard look at our routes and how we deliver product to find ways to be as efficient and effective as possible to avoid passing on any costs.

Hardlines Strategies • Spring 2023 5

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