Cliff Otto is no stranger to logistics. In high school, he worked at a local public warehouse, driving forklifts and loading trucks. Intrigued by supply chain and logistics, Cliff earned his MBA with an emphasis in logistics. He continued his journey with Baxter Healthcare and CHEP, before finally landing at Saddle Creek Logistics Services as president and CEO.
Along the way, Otto observed a variety of leadership styles and made the effort to learn something from each of them – what worked well, what didn’t, how to get things done . . . Clearly, this experience paid off. Under Otto’s guidance, Saddle Creek has become one of the largest family-owned 3PLs in North America and continues to achieve remarkable year-over-year revenue growth.
In this month’s issue of Inbound Logistics, he shares leadership insights gleaned from a 40+ year career in the supply chain and logistics industry.
Empowering Supply Chain and Logistics Employees
The following is an excerpt from the article, “Sound Strategy, Talented Team” . . .
IL: How would you describe your style as a leader?
I’ve come to believe that leaders are most successful when they do just that—lead. As a leader, you should focus on developing a sound strategy, surround yourself with a talented team, and empower team members to approach the business with creativity and fresh ideas.
Saddle Creek’s brand promise is Whatever it Takes! I value that entrepreneurial philosophy. We all thrive here because we have created a fast-paced environment and are willing to take calculated risks to grow our business and satisfy our customers’ needs.
IL: How do you keep your employees engaged and excited about coming to work every day?
We have a strong corporate culture built on shared core values, which emphasize excellence in service, respect for the individual, performance and accountability, a supportive work environment, and integrity. We discuss those values regularly and challenge ourselves to live them every day.
We focus on creating an environment where associates can perform their best, and then giving them the freedom to do so. Most people—particularly those whom you would want to have in a growth organization—want to have the opportunity to personally contribute. The key is to make sure we’re all working toward the same business goals.
Read the full interview in the latest issue of Inbound Logistics to learn what’s kept Otto engaged in the supply chain and logistics industry for so many years, one of the biggest challenges he’s tackled and his advice for the next generation of supply chain and logistics professionals.
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