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.