What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Jeff Cook

HGR Industrial Surplus Buyer Jeff Cook with fiance

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jeff Cook, HGR buyer)

When did you start with HGR and why?

I started with HGR in August 2015. I wanted something new and challenging, as well as to move back to my hometown of Syracuse, New York. It seemed like the perfect fit. Definitely is.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

I cover all of New York, as well as, part of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Mondays I work from my office and Tuesday through Friday I travel the state to look at equipment all over the place.

What do you like most about your job?

Seeing new things every single day.  You never know what you are going to run in to.

What’s your greatest challenge?

Focusing on one thing at a time and not becoming distracted. Also, never assume things.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

I’d say my most interesting moment at HGR is every time I have to go to New York City/Long Island. It is a different world.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Golfing, watching/playing sports. Especially watching the Buffalo Bills, New York Yankees and Syracuse Orange.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

My dad. He has always been there for me no matter what. He always stressed the importance of getting a college education and the importance of being the best you can be.

Anything I missed that you want everyone to know?

I get married Oct. 7, 2017! The picture is of my fiancé, Mallory, and me.

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Sales Department

HGR Industrial Surplus Sales Department

(Courtesy of Jon Frischkorn, HGR’s sales manager)

What does your department do?

HGR’s Sales Department is dedicated to providing outstanding customer service with every interaction. We work to build relationships with our customers, in some cases, for the past 19 years. We want HGR to be the first stop each customer makes to fulfil his or her industrial surplus needs.

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

Our Sales Department consists of nine sales representatives, two sales assistants, a sales expediter, sales manager and, frankly, the entire HGR staff. All of our actions help sell our products and services that we offer.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

A positive attitude, a desire to help our customers, and the willingness to be flexible.

What do you like most about your department?

We have a great team here and enjoy helping to fulfill our commitments to our customers, each other, and our community. We enjoy what we do and try to have fun in the process.

What challenges has your department faced and how have you overcome them?

We are problem solvers and have countless challenges daily that we work to overcome in order to help satisfy our customers’ needs. These can be as simple as locating an item in our 12-acre showroom, finding specifications on a product, or even overcoming shipping obstacles.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

While much of the sales role hasn’t changed, we are constantly striving to improve and be more efficient at servicing our customers.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

HGR is always improving its staff. Something as small as an internal procedural changes or on-the-job product training happen routinely. We also do offsite training and offer continuous education courses at Kent State University.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

The overall environment at HGR is often described as a handyman’s toy store. We are within a building originally built in 1943 to produce aircraft parts during World War II, then housed GM’s Fisher Auto Body Plant. The building itself is amazing. The wooden beams, brick, and numbered aisleways create a unique backdrop that is perfect for 12 acres filled with industrial surplus. See this story for more on the history of our site.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

HGR is the heart of the “rust belt” and is a major player in the re-use of used industrial equipment. We help continue the life of machines that otherwise could be scrapped and lost. It isn’t uncommon for us to see items we’ve bought and resold a couple times. As companies needs change, we are always here to purchase machinery so it can be reused by someone else.

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Expediting Department

HGR Industrial Surplus' third-shift expediting department

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jeff Newcomb, HGR’s third-shift expediting supervisor)

What does your department do?

On third-shift Expediting, we have many different duties. We have a short meeting each day to go over the plan for the night. Generally, we start by pulling all orders to be prepped by the Shipping Department. After that, we pull a list of items that are within the criteria for “scrap.” Once we have that done, we pull all sold items from the floor to the Sold Section. This is a relatively new process to free more space on the floor while making it easier to pull orders by having them in one, central location. Then, we work on different projects, such as consolidating items on skids, straightening aisles, and working to make everything neat and orderly. This makes it easier for customers to find and purchase items. We also go over to the Incoming Department and look at what will be inventoried first. After seeing what has been set up by the second-shift Receiving Department, we go back into the showroom and make room in the appropriate aisles. This makes it easier for first shift to clear the new inventory to the floor. Overall, we are the “behind the scene” group and do many different things to make sure that the other departments can navigate their day as smoothly as possible – all to create the best experience for the customer. After all, that’s what it’s all about!

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

We have a very small crew of three people, including myself. Don Batson is my second in command and has more than 11 years of experience here at HGR. He steps into my role when I am out. Jeff Baker has only been with us a bit over one year but has brought much experience and new insight to help with various projects. We work as a team and help each other to get our goals accomplished each day.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

First, a positive attitude and a great pride in your work. A willingness to learn while being flexible within each task. We definitely are a team! Because of the qualifications, we are able to accomplish a great deal of work in a day.

What do you like most about your department?

The best thing about this department would be the “get it done” outlook each person brings to each task. I have a great crew. There aren’t all of the other distractions. That helps people to focus. Only working Monday through Thursday nights would be another great part. We only work five days one week per month for the Saturday sale.

What challenges has your department faced, and how have you overcome them?

Our department has undergone many changes since it began in 2010. When it began, we received and unloaded trucks and set up the wall to be inventoried in the morning. We no longer do that at all. Since that time, we have expanded HGR from 11 aisles to 14 then 19. Most of the products moved were done at night to help keep the normal, day-shift routine as painless as possible. We have fluctuated to as many as five people to as few as two. We also, for a while, would go out of town and rig out jobs to be brought back to HGR. We no longer do that, either. We have had people move on to other destinations and some move to other departments to fill a need for the company, from pulling shipping orders to moving entire sections of showroom to new locations. We take on each task as it comes and consciously work toward a better flow for HGR and our customers.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

I feel that continuous improvement would be handled by a more one-on-one training session for new hires. This is something that we are working on now. The better prepared that an employee is, the more confident and efficient he or she will be. We are always doing more training even with long-term employees to keep skills sharp.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

The overall environment at HGR is ever changing. With new faces and new improvements on the building, it is a continuous effort to make HGR the best place for both customers and employees. The owners and officers have proven that they will do whatever it takes to make this happen.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

As always, these are ever changing, and we need to do a great job at rolling with the times. The shift in what we buy and sell is based on supply and demand. We do our best to provide an opportunity for our customers to get the best deal on anything that we have while we also continue to keep up with the recycling end to ensure that we don’t go backwards on an item.

A-Tech Machinists soar to new heights at National Robotics League competition

National Robotics League competition

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jamie Joy, daughter of Ron Maurer, A-Tech Machinist’s coach and advisor)

I well remember the day. “Fighting robots?” I guess I had envisioned a tower of blocks with arms and legs throwing punches; I was skeptical at best. However, my dad had a completely different vision in mind. He’d just come home after visiting a National Robotics League competition. He imagined leading a group of young men and women, the next generation to enter the machining industry in which he’d spent his career, to construct from scratch a robotically engineered machine to face competitors with a high-speed, hardened tool-steel weapon. Though I wanted to be supportive, I can’t say I fully understood. That is until that first day of competition. It didn’t take long for myself, as well as the rest of our family, to realize the vision in which my father had spent countless hours striving. Even my two-year-old, at the time, came home battling his graham cracker halves against each other. We’d all caught the fever. Yet, behind the sound of grinding steel and robots sent flying through the air in three minute rounds, has always been the educational component.

Most schools are not fortunate enough to use classroom time to brainstorm, build and perfect their robots. However, A-Tech students, who are training to go into the machining industry after graduation, get the full spectrum of education from conception to final build, from battle to battle. They learn to meld ideas, strategies and concepts to create a robot that will withstand their competitors’ attacks. Throughout the school-year-long process, the students are hands on, machining raw material into each specific component of the robot’s assembly — weapon, axles, wheels, frame rails, base plates, etc. In addition to the parts it takes to assemble one robot, they compile enough for three complete machines, in the event that damage caused to the robot will call for a replacement component the day of the battle. Then the robot is assembled and analyzed on weapon speed, belt tightness, weight limits, drive control, etc. with adjustments made as needed. Finally, through a timed obstacle course, the drivers are selected, final tweaks made and the robot declared battle ready. With the investment of their time comes each student’s goal: Defeat the opposition, which makes success sweeter when it comes.

This year, A-Tech did just that, coming out on top for a second consecutive year at Lakeland Community College in the AWT RoboBots competition where they took home the first-place trophy from 25 opposing teams. This time, however, with the bragging rights of going undefeated throughout the day. At the National Robotics League competition in California, Pa., through a double-elimination bracket, the A-Tech Machinists tied for 13th place out of 64 teams. It was another great year of competition for not only the fans not only in the stands, but also those watching the live broadcast from home. 

Though, if you asked my dad, his greatest achievement wasn’t another trophy. It was the opportunity to instill in the next generation lessons in both the machining industry and in life, through a hunk of metal. In fact, 10 financial sponsors have backed that mission to be a part of the change in Ashtabula County: to teach through experience and personal investment the value of hard work. The hum of the weapon, sparks flying on contact, curling metal, bots rendered useless then reconstructed are just the surface. Behind all of it, is a draw for students to realize the necessity of the machining industry as they gain the skills to succeed within it. This year I brought home two excited kiddos who took foam building blocks, constructed their own “robots” with unique names and battled them against each other in makeshift rounds. I may be a little biased, but I’m so thankful that my dad had the foresight to see this thing through and the momentum from year to year to keep pushing his students to greater heights. It isn’t just the students who are all the better for it.

 

What type of employer is HGR? Buyer spotlight with Jason Arnett

HGR Buyer Jason Arnett

When did you start with HGR and why?

June 2014. I was intrigued by the opportunity to have a multi-state territory and had a background in sales but this was different being on the buyer side rather than the sales side.

What were you doing before HGR?

Medical, equipment and specialty lumber sales

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

The Midatlantic (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina)

Monday is spent in the office following up on offers and getting the schedule together, getting your appointments set for the week. The rest of the week is out on appointments and looking at equipment, taking pictures, and setting expectations with customers. The deals are sent through Dataflo and the offer goes out to the customer. Then, we follow up on offers, sometimes on Mondays and sometimes in the car driving between appointments. I spend one to two overnights per week out on the road.

What do you like most about your job?

I like being in front of the customers and interacting with them in person, basically, the whole process of the inspection.

What’s your greatest challenge?

Convincing some of the customers that they would do better selling to HGR as opposed to scrapping the equipment. It goes back to setting expectations and helping them to understand that we don’t offer retail pricing because we are an industrial reseller of used equipment.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

The HGR volleyball tournament in January with another buyer and Founder Paul Betori singing karaoke. It was memorable.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Cooking on the BBQ and smoking meat with a charcoal or wood fire.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

My dad. He inspires by always giving 110% effort in everything he’s done. He runs marathons. He went back to law school in his early 40s and now works as a lobbyist. Recently, he wasn’t able to meet me for lunch because he was meeting with a congressman!

What Type of Employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Showroom Department

HGR's Showroom Department team

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Rich Lash, HGR’s Showroom supervisor)

What does your department do?

The Showroom is the last chance to make sure things are displayed properly and as nice for the customer as possible. We think that keeping things orderly helps in the sale of the piece. Our goal is to take care of the customer in the best way possible.

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

The Showroom has seven employees. Our jobs consist of many different things: clearing walls of new inventory and taking it out to the showroom floor. We also are responsible for loading customers with the pieces that they have purchased, from 20 pounds to 40,000 pounds and more. Each Showroom employee is trained to treat each piece as if it is theirs.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

It starts with basic forklift operator skills, and by the time training is done, the forklift operator will be chaining, lifting and loading pieces with a 30,000-pound forklift with very little assistance from others.

What do you like most about your department?

We like dealing with the customer and trying to be the best at what we do and who we are.

What challenges has your department faced, and how have you overcome them?

HGR is remodeling different areas of the building, from repairing the roof to a new locker room and, soon, a new sales office. Each time, everyone has to help by moving things out of the way so work can be done. It is hard at times but the end result is great because the improvements are worth it. We have come a long way from the early days of HGR when there were 11 employees.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

Well, before eBay, we had a lot more customer walk-in traffic, which sometimes made it difficult to get through the showroom with sold pieces for customers. Since eBay, it seems that sales have gone up but customer traffic has gone down, which makes it easier to get through the showroom.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

I think training is the key to making things better in the showroom and in every department, for that matter. Knowing your product and how to treat it and display it sure makes a difference.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

HGR has been a very pleasant and enjoyable place to work over the years. The people I work with and the people I work for are just great. I have never worked for a company that tries to make their employees feel good with company picnics, gift cards, rewards and a holiday party like HGR has. They also have a profit-sharing program for the employees that sets them apart from other companies.