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

HGR's Shripping Department on a ship

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Doug Cannon, HGR’s transportation coordinator)

What does your department do?

Our department works in concert with the sales team and customers who require shipping services. We provide a shipping cost that we honor, and then proceed with the preparation and logistics of transportation when the opportunity is granted. We network with outside providers, such as a 3PL, specialized trucking brokers, LTL carriers, private long-haul carriers and local delivery services. They are, in turn, the marketing partners that complete the final leg of the sale. We select the appropriate mode of transportation as dictated by the nature of the products being shipped and the receiving capacity of the customer.

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

There are six employees in our group. Collectively, we all serve the goal of safely and economically transporting products to their ultimate destination in a timely manner. Doug Cannon and Dan Farris help to guide the sales staff on selling transportation and then executing the arrangements. Donovan Barton, Audley Wright and Dane Ferrell serve as custom carpentry designers for surplus. They build crates and pallets customized for the items being shipped by applying their creativity to condense the footprint and thus decrease the cost. Their skill sets are impressive. Jim Gubics is the LTL coordinator for shipments leaving on common carriers. He is the gatekeeper for ensuring these orders are accurate prior to leaving the building. Jim also works in several software programs where he updates in-house information, as well as emailing our customers their tracking numbers. He communicates with LTL dispatchers and drivers and loads them, as well.

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

HGR buys and sells thousands of different items. They come in a great variety of weights and dimensions. So, success in our department requires individuals to possess many qualities. “Attention to detail” tops the list as no compromise. Then, to achieve success, we need to be highly organized, flexible, communicate well, and exercise imagination and creativity to provide the best solution to each purchase. No two shipments are the same; so, cookie-cutter solutions are far and few between.

What do you like most about your department?

The mutual understanding and respect the group has for each other and the tasks at hand. We genuinely like each other and the company we work to keep.

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

One of our biggest challenges occurred several years ago when HGR totally revamped the process by which it does international trade. This has had a large impact on shipping. We now devote extensive amounts of time on export compliance issues as we work under the guidelines of the Department of Commerce – Bureau of Industry and Security. The purpose is to protect The United States’ security and interests. The focal point at HGR is to identify machinery that could have “dual purpose” and to screen the international buyers to verify that they are not on our government’s “denied parties list.” Dan Farris has spearheaded this facet of shipping responsibilities and has served as both a mentor to Sales and a guardian to HGR and our community.

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

Changes have been made in the way we service our sales staff, our customers and our community. Processes have been implemented to ensure our sales staff is provided with a transportation quote for every sales transaction that is not a customer pickup. We even provide quotes for items not sold, where customers are simply shopping and trying to determine their total “all-in” costs. These services are of tremendous convenience to the customer and help them to make a more informed decision. We take care to quote accurately and honor all quotes. Changes in international export help us to make sure we make our country a safer place to live.

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

The future is today. Every employee in our group is dedicated to continuous improvement. It is one of HGR’s core values. We don’t rest on yesterday’s success, and know that we are only as good as we are today.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

The Euclid, Ohio, facility is a beehive of activity! A collection of 70 employees perform specific roles while networking with other departments to achieve our end goal. It is a setting of perpetual communication among employees, both verbally and electronically. In the forefront is a revolving carousel of industrial surplus entering the building to be inventoried, displayed on our showroom floor, sold, and loaded on a myriad of outbound vehicles, trailers and containers.

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

Primarily, I view HGR as the liaison for vendors that possess material assets and for those that seek them at an economical cost. HGR provides the service of immediate asset recovery to its vendors and spares them the distraction and expense of seeking an interested end user, as well as the logistics of the transfer. Buyers around the world can visit our showroom or browse our website and economically secure machinery, parts and unique items not found elsewhere. By virtue of its business model, HGR is a participant in the world’s interest of recycling.

Interested in driving one of these?

Semi truck on the highway

Do you know someone 18 years of age or older who is looking for a career that offers him or her independence away from an office environment? There’s a gem right here in Euclid that might help – Cuyahoga Community College’s Truck Driving Academy.

On Jan. 24, The Euclid Chamber of Commerce hosted its monthly Coffee Conversation, open to chamber members and the community, at the Truck Driving Academy, currently rebranding as the Transportation Center. Attendees met Director Ian Wilson, were given a short presentation about the program, and were given the opportunity to experience a commercial-driving training simulator. Two attendees braved the virtual roads and encounters with rain, fog, snow, ice, cyclists, motorists and other hazards.

truck driving simulator at Cuyahoga Community College

Wilson explained that the college is moving away from simply being a truck driving academy and starting to offer programs in supply chain and logistics, as well as a diesel tech program in order to become a full-service transportation center. Currently, students can earn a Class A or B commercial driver’s license that allows them to drive a full truck, a car hauler, a gas truck and others, as well as a school bus or forklift.

To assist with making learning accessible, the college recently bought and modified a 53-foot semi-truck and trailer into a mobile trailer for manufacturing training. Half of the trailer is a classroom. The other half is a lab. This way, the college can take the classroom to students who may be working onsite at a manufacturing facility and are not able to get away for the day. It also can go to schools to conduct outreach demos for high-school students who may be interested in a transportation or manufacturing career.

He says, “At any given time, 200,000 trucking jobs are available, nationwide, and the industry always is looking for drivers. Trucking is integral to everything this nation does. Everything in your house was on a truck at some point.”

As Wilson explains, Cuyahoga Community College located the academy in Euclid, Ohio, as part of a manufacturing region with easy access to transportation junctures as well as local manufacturers. The academy has even trucked equipment from the college’s own maintenance department own the road to HGR Industrial Surplus for consignment.

 

A&H Trucking hosts third-annual Driver Appreciation Day

Ice cream truck at A&H Trucking Driver Appreciation Day

Ever wonder how all the amazing items in HGR’s showroom get here? We don’t have our own big rigs, but we work with a number of riggers and trucking companies to make it all happen, from enclosed trailers and flatbeds to step decks. One of those companies is A&H Trucking, Parts & Repair, Brooklyn, Ohio. According to Bryan Korecz, HGR’s inbound logistics manager, “Anything we need, they usually have. They do a lot of the local stuff we buy and, occasionally, ship out items that we sell.”

On Sept. 16 from 12 to 4 p.m., A&H and Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging hosted its third-annual Driver Appreciation Day as part of National Driver Appreciation Week. About 40 drivers plus more than 30 customers, vendors and industry relationships (like HGR) stop in to have lunch provided by Famous Dave’s BBQ and an ice cream truck, play some cornhole and feel the love. Many of the vendors and industry contacts donate items for raffles and giveaways. The money raised in the raffle goes into a driver relief fund.

A&H was started by Bob Abernethy (now deceased) and Bill Hoag in 1981. At that time, the company did not own any of its trucks and used all owner-operator rigs. Now, A&H has 22 company trucks, uses 20 owner-operators, has a full-service truck repair shop and is a Vanguard trailer and tractor parts distributor. Its drivers are required to attend two safety meetings each year. The company is an agent for Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging in order to leverage a larger company’s safety, billing department, and insurance claims processing resources. It’s a family-owned-and-run enterprise. And, it feels like family.

I sat at a table with one of the company’s retired drivers who had a trucking accident a little over a year ago. While he was recovering, Bill took him and his family to dinner, checked on him and continues to invite him back to this event even though he’s no longer driving. This was the kind of event where you felt like you knew everyone and made friends with people who share common interests. I own a retired Thoroughbred racehorse. This driver’s dad used to breed and train Standardbreds at Northfield Park. A sales rep at Rush Truck Centers breeds and trains Thoroughbreds and races them at Thistledown. We may go on a trail ride!

And, like a lot of businesses that I run across, A&H happens to be a customer of HGR. Many items in its facility have come from our showroom, including its shelving units. HGR started working with A&H just three years ago when the company partnered with one of our carriers. They inherited us and have continued to do a great job.

Thanks A&H for trucking our equipment, inviting us to your event and for introducing me to new friends.

Owner Bill Hoag of A&H Trucking at Driver Appreciation Day
A&H Trucking’s Owner Bill Hoag on the right in the striped shirt