Blog Posts A Q&A with Saddle Creek CEO Mark Cabrera
- Saddle Creek CEO Mark Cabrera is the latest supply-chain executive to be featured in DC Velocity’s interview series.
- Cabrera shares a few of the experiences that have helped to prepare him, and the company, for the challenges of today’s logistics environment.
- Cabrera also explains why Saddle Creek’s corporate culture helps to attract and retain associates.
The logistics industry has experienced remarkable change in the two decades since Mark Cabrera joined Saddle Creek Logistics Services. And the pace of change has only accelerated since he took on the role of CEO in 2019. In the June issue of DC Velocity, Cabrera reflects on how the industry has evolved and how the coronavirus pandemic and explosive ecommerce growth are impacting the marketplace today. The interview is the latest in a continuing series of conversations with top supply-chain executives.
Following is an excerpt…
DC Velocity Executive Interview Series: Mark Cabrera, Saddle Creek Logistics Services
Q: HOW HAS THE 3PL INDUSTRY CHANGED IN THE TIME YOU’VE BEEN AT SADDLE CREEK?
A: Twenty years ago, if you walked into a 100,000-square-foot building, you might see five forklift operators, all handling full pallets of product. Today, we may have 100 people working in 10,000 square feet, doing kitting, pick-and-pack, or other value-added services.
Our 2010 acquisition of a small e-commerce–focused 3PL got us into the B-to-C space. It gave us a head start in learning how to operate in this space and understanding how operational and customer service requirements differ from more traditional warehousing and distribution. Omnichannel fulfillment is now our fastest-growing service area.
Q: WHAT DO YOU FORESEE FOR THE INDUSTRY AS THE PANDEMIC EASES?
A: Companies are now keenly aware of their supply chain vulnerabilities and are actively formulating strategies to help mitigate future disruptions. As we move beyond Covid, I expect we’ll see a pendulum shift from just-in-time inventory management toward “just in case.”
Q: LABOR IS STILL DIFFICULT TO FIND IN MANY MARKETS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN WORKERS?
A: One of the primary reasons that associates join and stay at Saddle Creek is our corporate culture. In my first week with the company, our founder told me, “Mark, if we take care of our customers and take care of our associates, everything else will take care of itself.” That’s a mantra we still follow today.
Q: ARE THERE PARTICULAR TECHNOLOGIES YOUR COMPANY IS FOCUSING ON TO IMPROVE OPERATIONS?
We’ve definitely seen an uptick in demand for customized and scalable automated solutions for complex dedicated client operations.
We’ve been concentrating on technology and automation in areas where we have the greatest labor dependency and fluctuations. Technology can help to supplement our workforce and drive efficiencies in value-added service lines and kitting. For example, autonomous mobile robots, or AMRs, can significantly reduce the time associates spend transporting products through the warehouse, so they can increase their order picking speed.
For more of Cabrera’s insights, read the full article in DC Velocity.Related to: COVID-19, Mitigating Risk, Selling Online