Joe is corporate vice president of logistics for Foot Locker. He is also a member of RILA's Supply Chain Leaders Council.
1. Tell me about your first job in retail.
My first retail experience was with Kinney Shoe Corporation, the parent company of Foot Locker. With my studies having been in engineering when hired, I assumed I would be working on store design and displays. Much to my surprise, I found I was to work as a sales clerk in a Kinney Shoe store. Kinney believed it was important to know the business from the ground up, so all employees had their turn on the sales floor.
My first big sale was to a young school teacher just starting her first job after college graduation. She spent her entire first paycheck before she’d even received it, and specifically requested me whenever she came back to shop each month. That experience taught me the value of quality customer service in driving customer loyalty, and I’ve carried this with me throughout my career.
2. What excites you most about the field of supply chain?
The flow of goods through the network with a focus on distribution, transportation, warehousing, inventory management, fulfillment and reverse logistics. Supply chain management is like juggling - If you drop one of the balls, you can have a disaster on your hands. So you have to keep the momentum going and focus on all of those aspects. You have to strategically plan out every day, every week, every month. There are so many moving parts; if you’re bored in this job, I’d have to check your pulse to see if you are breathing.
3. What is the biggest challenge your supply chain department faces right now?
There are many components that make up lead time – concept development, manufacturing, transporting to distribution centers and then to the stores. Of course, we want to accomplish this process in as few days as possible but there is no such thing as a fast ship anymore.
4. What new or recent trend will have the biggest impact on supply chain, and why?
Removable smart tags have the potential to make a huge impact on the industry. Inventory is tagged at the pallet level in distribution centers now, but item-level tagging on store shelves can enable stores to do inventory checks with greater frequency, accuracy and efficiency. This will help drive costs down and allow us to identify stock outs more quickly, making sure that we always have the product the customer is looking for out on the shelf.
5. What are some ways that Foot Locker’s mission as an organization are reflected in its supply chain practices?
The customer is extremely important to Foot Locker. Our goal is to ensure that our customers can purchase across all channels with a consistent experience and convenient access to all of our brands. If purchasing on line, the product can be shipped to the home or store for the convenience of the customer.
6. What is your favorite quote?
Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools. ~ Napoleon.
7. What’s your favorite non-job-related pastime?
I’m a physical fitness nut and love to golf.
8. What’s one thing your co-workers don’t know about you?
My co-workers pretty much know everything about me. What they see is what they get.
9. What’s the last book you read and what are you reading now?
The Kite Runner. Now I’m reading Angels & Demons.
10. If you could invite any four people to a dinner party, who would you invite and why?
Babe Ruth, George Patton, Lee Iacocca, and Albert Einstein. All had a can do attitude.