What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with the Call Center

HGR's call center team

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Cynthia Vassaur, HGR’s call center manager)

What does your department do?

The HGR Call Center contacts manufacturing and distribution companies to determine if they are in possession of equipment available for sale. We leverage our client relationship management (CRM) software to access vendor contact information. Once a client has been contacted, CRM is updated with critical data stemming from the call. HGR’s Call Center averages 1,500 call actions per day that result in approximately 35 viable “buy leads” for the company.

The Call Center’s ability to meet its daily call volume and quality interaction goals is critical to HGR’s overall success. To do this, an extremely structured performance matrix has been designed, and agents must employ a disciplined approach to comply with minimum standards. Team-building exercises, morale-boosting contests, and departmental lunches are conducted on a regular basis to promote a positive work environment. However, at the end of the day, employees realize that team and individual success in the Call Center are driven by consistently completing a high volume of top quality client interactions. As a result, a typical “day in the life” of the HGR Call Center involves motivated and disciplined staff “doing their thing” over the phone in order to generate business.

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

The Call Center employs 13 full-time employees. Cynthia Vassaur, call center manager, oversees personnel and general operations functions. Dax Taruc is in charge of researching and responding to incoming calls from vendors interested in selling equipment and ensures the client database is regularly updated with the most current information. The department also contains Preferred Vendor Administrators Larry Edwards, Joe McAfee, Levit Hernandez and Kim Girnus tasked with reaching out to vendors from whom HGR has purchased, or attempted to purchase, equipment in the past. Their primary focus is maintaining and enhancing HGR’s relationship with this critical segment of clientele. Finally, there are seven marketing administrators — Cameron Luddington, Ludie Toles, Obed Montejano, Theresa Bailey, Jackie McDonald, Kaylie Foster and Quanton Williams – who are responsible for contacting potential vendors. In doing so, they attempt to market HGR, brand the HGR name, and promote HGR’s service.

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

Each MA makes about 150 calls a day, never knowing the end result of each interaction. For an individual to meet the daily demands and goals inherent with the position, he or she must have excellent computer skills and be a self-starter who is capable of communicating with people of varying backgrounds.

What do you like most about your department?

We have a great team! The department is comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds, which results in an interesting array of perspectives, opinions, and solutions. At the same time, each member demonstrates a respectful and accepting attitude toward teammates. While there are numerous characteristics that I appreciate about the HGR Call Center work environment, the inviting and inclusive attitude of the staff stands out.

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

The HGR Call Center’s greatest challenge has been attracting and retaining quality employees. Because Austin is such a wonderful place to live, many corporations have flocked to the area during the last couple of decades to set up shop. The resulting competition for pay, benefits, and perks has presented an obstacle to our hiring objectives. To combat that challenge, the department has worked closely with HGR’s Human Resources Department to create an employee profile aimed at attracting the right people for the position. This job profile refinement produced instantaneous results, with the department landing Cameron Luddington, Kim Girnus and several others shortly after its inception, and we are confident the department will continue reaping the benefits of those efforts.

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

By far, the most impactful change during the last few years in the way the Call Center does business has been the agent pay structure modifications. In short, Call Center agents’ compensation is merit-based — hinging on call volume and a multitude of quality control call grading elements. The overall Call Center performance has dramatically improved as a result of this restructured approach to agent compensation. The harder an agent works, and the more attention to detail that agent exhibits, the more money that agent makes. Motivated agents eager to earn more money today than they did yesterday thrive in this environment.

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

The major process improvement initiative we hope to initiate in the near future involves streamlining the process for adding new vendors to CRM. There are some strategies set for implementation that we hope will result in a higher number of vendors being routinely added to the database at a much higher rate than current levels.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

HGR is “THE PLACE” to work! The grassroots culture of the business is positive and infectious; it spreads like wildfire to the new hires. HGR’s environment suits those with a strong work ethic, a desire to achieve team and individual goals, and who are genuinely vested in the HGR mission.

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

Before I started working at HGR, I hadn’t really worked in or around the manufacturing industry. But in the last few years, I’ve come to recognize the value of HGR’s services and the affect it has on small and large businesses alike.

Amazon brings 1,000 jobs to Northeast Ohio

Euclid Chamber of Commerce Amazon luncheon

Euclid Chamber of Commerce Amazon luncheon

On Jan. 31, a full house was gathered at Tizzano’s Party Center to hear the Euclid Chamber of Commerce’s presentation of “The Amazon Story” that included Amazon’s plan to tear down the former Euclid Square Mall and build a 655,000-square-foot, $175-million fulfillment center, which will add 1,000 new jobs to the region.

Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail at Euclid Chamber of Commerce Amazon luncheonEuclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail mentioned that the initial meeting in March 2017 at Cuyahoga Community College to discuss the project was the most memorable day during her time as mayor. After that initial meeting, there were ongoing efforts to rezone the property and to secure $1.2 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation toward roadway improvements.

The next speaker, Matt Deptola of JobsOhio, a nonprofit corporation that promotes job creation and economic development for Ohio, shared his organization’s enthusiasm about Deptola of JobsOhio at Euclid Chamber of Commerce Amazon luncheonthe reputation of Ohio as a great place to live, according to Forbes and other magazines. He also shared some interesting statistics about Amazon. It currently transfers items from its regional fulfillment centers to a nearby sortation facility to a shipping facility within seven hours. Currently, Amazon has a sortation facility in Twinsburg and a shipping facility in Euclid; so, the fulfillment center in Euclid makes perfect sense. Amazon currently employs 6,000 people in Ohio. Additionally, Amazon offers $12,000 of tuition reimbursement for training in high-demand fields after one year of employment, benefits on Day 1, and an average hourly rate of $13.

DiSalvo Euclid Chamber of Commerce Amazon luncheonPete DiSalvo with DiSalvo Development Advisors was the final speaker before the mayor returned to the mic to share that Amazon already has made a commitment to the community by giving $10,000 to the HELP Foundation, a Euclid business that empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through residential, day support, vocational, and summer education programs.

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with the Accounting Department

HGR's accounting department
(l to r): Lonnie, Paul and Ed

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Ed Kneitel, HGR’s controller)

What does your department do?

The Accounting Department is the financial hub of HGR. We work on daily cash reconciliation, processing vendor invoices and customer payments, and preparing monthly financial statements. We manage business relationships with our cell phone carrier, insurance carrier, network administrator, bank, phone company, Internet provider, cable TV provider, and anyone else that receives an HGR check. We support DataFlo, which is our accounting system, and work closely with our development team for support and enhancements. We have an open-door policy, and no issue is too difficult for us to tackle!

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

Paul, HGR’s chief financial officer, works on strategic business decisions, customer and vendor relationship management, managing our Austin Call Center and other special projects. Ed, HGR’s controller, manages the day-to-day activities of the department. Lonnie, HGR’s accounting assistant, works with vendors and customers to pay bills and receive payments.

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

We never know when we will be asked to address, and it’s often a time-sensitive issue on short notice; so, we must be flexible and available at all times. We must be able to multi-task, have a good memory (most of the time!), excellent computer skills, an accounting background, understand accounting software, be very well-organized, and have good interpersonal communication skills.

What do you like most about your department?

HGR’s Accounting Department is never boring, since there is something new to do every day — whether we like it or not! We enjoy a challenge; so, bring it on!

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

Lonnie joined the department in November 2016 and has been a major factor in the success of the department during the last year.

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

We have integrated credit card processing into DataFlo, eliminating almost all errors. We also have made major enhancements to DataFlo that have saved time in data processing. We have implemented Smartsheet, a collaborative tool that allows salespeople to view customer wire and PayPal payments, which has eliminated numerous email.

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

We will be flowcharting HGR’s business processes, which will allow us to spot areas for improvement as we look to upgrade DataFlo. We also hope to further streamline the purchasing process by moving the entire inspection-to-P.O. function to Microsoft’s customer relationship management software (CRM).

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

HGR is always buzzing with activity; there is no other company like it! Everyone is friendly, willing to chat for a few minutes, and genuinely cares about each other, both personally and professionally. We practice what we preach when it comes to our company values!

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

HGR serves companies that can’t afford or don’t want to purchase new equipment, as well as companies interested in selling their used equipment. Our business model has proved the test of time throughout almost 20 years in business; so, there is definitely a market for the products and services that we provide. We are constantly moving inventory through our showroom as a result of purchases and sales; so, our “shelves” (okay, aisles and bays) always have new products on display.

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

HGR Human Resources Manager Tina Dick and HGR Human Resources Assistant April Quintiliano
l to r: HGR Human Resources Manager Tina Dick and HGR Human Resources Assistant April Quintiliano

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Tina Dick, HGR’s human resources manager)

What does your department do?

The Human Resource Department handles the staffing needs of HGR. Our department handles all aspects of human resources, recruiting, onboarding, benefits and compensation, payroll, employee engagement and retention, as well as monitoring and ensuring that we are in compliance with state and federal regulations as they apply to the above.

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

We are a two-person team. I am the human resources manager, and April is the human resources assistant. As we’ve automated some things, April now assists in Inventory, Sales and the Buy Department, and does a great job!

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

There are several competencies in human resources where you need to strive for proficiency in order to be successful. Those competencies are: communication, relationship management, ethical practice, business acumen, critical evaluation, leadership, consultation, and cultural effectiveness. Knowledge and practice in each area help you to keep a balance that promotes a cohesive partnership between organization and staff.

What do you like most about your department?

Getting to hand out the birthday cookies, of course!

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

Hiring/retention are and always will be the biggest challenge in any HR department. We live in a moving society where people want to get to the next thing, and that’s okay. If we’ve played a role in someone’s success and they’re ready to move on, we’re glad to have been part of the journey. But the goal always will be to look at ways to get better at it. We’ve knocked our turnover rate down almost in half from last year.

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

Human Resources was not a formal department three years ago. In that time, we’ve worked with supervisors to provide access to formal training for their role. We’ve developed written processes for each department. We’ve formalized the onboarding process; our new hires come in with a formal orientation and more structured, documented training. We introduced and implemented performance and goal conversations. We created a recruiting system complete with an applicant tracking system where candidates can apply online, and our hiring manager can see their resumes online while pooling candidates for future openings. We work closely with our CEO in the development of a positive company culture. We have helped employees implement plans of employee engagement, e.g., Earn Your Forks and Fly. Many changes, all challenging and all very rewarding!

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

More training tools. We intend to look back at some of the processes we’ve put in place and make them better. You always have to revisit what you started. What can we change? What works? What doesn’t? What is technology bringing our way? How can we be more strategic? Continue to look for ways to keep communication open.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

We have a family, team-oriented environment, even though we have buyers across the country and a call center in Austin. We try to keep that in the forefront and be inclusive of everyone. Every role counts, whether in Euclid, Austin or the various states where our buyers are located.

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

There are so many ways that what HGR does affects people. New start-ups, artists, companies overseas that are able to produce product with our equipment. On the other hand, we provide a great service to industries that need to clear floor space or are leaving the industry and want to recoup some of their investment. Our business model is unique.

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

HGR Industrial Surplus Receiving Department

(Courtesy of Rick Hawkins, HGR’s receiving supervisor)

What does your department do?

The main objective of the Receiving Department is to safely and accurately receive and prepare our incoming merchandise for sale. Our goal is to achieve the main objective along with ensuring that we present our customers with the best possible first impression of our merchandise. Many processes take place in order to prepare our surplus for sale: unloading, weighing, sorting, expediting, displaying, and inventorying are processes that are completed prior to sale. We supply our showroom and sales associates with ready-to-sell merchandise on a daily basis.

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

The Receiving Department operates on two shifts to help accommodate the high volume of deliveries each day. There are four forklift operators per shift who unload and prepare everything for the inventory process. There are four inventory clerks, two expeditors, and the chief pricing officer. Receiving also works closely with the eBay Department, the Recycling Department and the logistics coordinators. Together, we work toward a common goal; each position and every responsibility plays a crucial role in the desired end result: happy customers, happy vendors, good sales, and prosperity for all.

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

Those who possess self-motivation to achieve goals, those who pay attention to detail, and those who are highly organized will succeed in the Receiving Department.

What do you like most about your department?

The fact that every single item in our nearly 600,000-square-foot showroom has been processed through the Receiving Department is a pretty amazing feat to consider. Every available item and every sales transaction is dependent on the efforts of those in our department. Knowing the contribution that our department makes to the whole of the company is gratifying.

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

I have been with the company since its earlier days. I have seen and been part of the evolution and can attest to the great accomplishments we have achieved over time. Any prosperous company must be willing to adapt and improve processes to accommodate growth. We constantly strive for improvement in efficiency and productivity. There was a time when a 10- truckload delivery schedule was nearly impossible. Now, a 10-truckload schedule is considered a light day. A lot of things have changed over the years. Improved organization, refined processes, better employee training, increased department size, additional docks, and effectively utilizing available space have greatly increased the capabilities of our department and our business, in general.

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

As implied by one of our five company core values (personal dedication to continuous improvement in creating employee and company success), we are constantly evolving, adapting, and improving. During the past few years many changes have occurred: promoting company culture, major building renovations, the treat it like it’s yours initiative, several employee-recognition programs, and the implementation of safety regulations. All of these companywide changes and improvements have created a better work environment as well as added to the foundation of our business for future growth. The biggest recent change in the Receiving Department was the addition of second-shift receiving operations. This occurred about four years ago and was an attempt to alleviate employee congestion, extend receiving hours, and enhance production. The outcome has been increased production, less forklift traffic with a safer work environment, and more accommodating receiving hours.

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

I’m interested in streamlining some of our older processes and utilizing available technology to better improve efficiency. We have come a long way, but there will always be room for improvement.

What’s HGR’s overall environment like?

HGR not only sells machines, we are a machine, and a juggernaut of a machine at that! Everyone involved here knows that it takes a lot of effort and care to keep this machine operating with precision. In the industrial-surplus world, we are a massive entity. This is a fast-paced environment where things regularly change on a moment’s notice. Our showroom is an ever-changing expanse of new arrivals and older equipment that has been further reduced in price. HGR is a place where you can find customers enthusiastically combing our isles to take advantage of our unbelievable deals and a place where the staff is well-versed in accomplishing goals and providing in excellent customer service.

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

As long as there are consumers with demands for products, there will be machines, manufacturers and competition to supply those demands. As long as there is competition among manufacturers, there will be more advanced, more precise, faster machines being developed. The manufacturers themselves become consumers in a competitive market. The need for evolution in manufacturing and machinery engineering will keep the need for new and used equipment revolving. There will always be a market for used equipment as new, and expanding businesses seek to compete, improve, and evolve within their means.

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.

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.