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? Q&A with HGR’s Receiving Department

HGR's Receiving Department
L to R: Dwayne Maggard, Chuck Leonard and Eric Sims

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Chuck Leonard, HGR’s receiving supervisor and an original HGR employee)

What does your department do?

Our department is basically where the ball starts rolling for each item we purchase. Our job is to unload everything in a safe manner when it comes in on a van trailer or a flatbed trailer. Once unloaded, we set each item along on a wall to be photographed and given an inventory number so that the item can be advertised on our website and displayed for customers out on our showroom floor.

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

I have two employees that work in my department and, at times, a third when required, depending on the trucking schedule. Their job consists of unloading items in a safe manner. Once unloaded, they have to prep each item to be set up along the wall to be inventoried. This task can be involved depending on the item. Once pictured and priced the item is moved by forklift to our designated “new arrivals” area. This process repeats itself throughout the day. We try to inventory 400 items each day between two shifts.

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

The job requires you to be fairly skilled on a forklift, since you’re not just moving pallets around all day. Machinery can be very unbalanced, which makes it dangerous, especially when you’re dealing with machines that can weigh up to 40,000 pounds. You have to be able to work at a fairly quick, but safe, pace. There are a lot of smaller items that come in that require sorting through. I’m here to tell you, it’s not as easy as we make it look — just ask some of the salespeople and management who’ve gotten on a forklift.

What do you like most about your department?

I like the fact that my department works well together as a team; everyone knows his role. I like that we are dealing with different items, and we are not just moving pallets all day long. I also like the challenge of lifting bigger, heavier pieces that require rigging/chaining. I’ve been here for 19 years; so, there’s not much that I haven’t seen, but I like the occasional surprises.

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

I guess our challenge in our department is space — having enough wall space to set up as many items as possible. The more space, the more items, and the more we sell, the more money we bring in. We have gotten more creative with using curtains as a wall, and recently the new office space in the back has freed more space. We can never have too much space though.

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

The biggest change in our department, and for all of the company for that matter, has been safety. We can never be too safe.

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

This is just probably wishful thinking on my part but if there was a way to know and control on a daily basis what’s coming in. There are days when we are overwhelmed with what’s coming. Another continuous improvement would to be make sure every piece moved is done so without damaging it.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

HGR’s environment is very customer and employee friendly. There’s a reason I’ve been here for 19 years. I think everyone just wants to be treated fairly, and I truly have been during my time here.

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

When I interviewed for the job at McKean about 20 years ago, I was totally clueless about everything. I remember walking through an unorganized warehouse of machinery thinking, “Is there really a market for this kind of stuff? Will I still have a job in a couple of years?” Fast forward 20 years, and the answer is a resounding YES! We seem to be economy foolproof. No matter how good or bad the economy is doing there has always been a market for HGR. I see a lot of items come in through Receiving and say to myself, “No chance in hell that’s going to sell.” Lo and behold, I’m walking through the showroom and see a sold tag on it to my astonishment. So the old saying truly is: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”