Steve is senior vice president of distribution at Lowe's Companies. He is also a member of RILA's Logistics Conference Steering Committee and a frequent presenter at the annual Logistics Conference.
1. Tell me about your first job in retail. I was an order-picker in a grocery distribution center during my college years. That experience has stayed with me throughout my career. Nothing moves unless the people do.
2. What excites you most about the field of supply chain? There is endless possibility to improve, along with endless opportunity to celebrate great performance. Supply chain is all about a team of people serving the customer – and you either do that well, or you don’t. Every day you know the score.
3. What is the biggest challenge your supply chain department faces right now?The same as it’s always been: Assimilating the constant change that is required to compete, grow and thrive. There’s no off-season anymore. Continuous improvement demands…continuous effort and continuous change.
4. What new or recent trend will have the biggest impact on supply chain, and why?The evolution of the customer’s shopping patterns, channels, and preferences. The explosion of content on the internet, along with the capability of mobile devices, puts a premium on the responsiveness, quality, and flexibility of the supply chain. An old joke went something like “good-fast-cheap; you can have two.” Today if you don’t have all three, you’ll find yourself out of the game soon.
5. Who do you feel is the most influential person in the supply chain field, and why? The customer should always be the most influential person in the supply chain. It doesn’t matter if your job is ordering product, loading trailers, or stocking shelves – all supply chain jobs exist solely to serve the customer.
6. What is your favorite quote?I have many favorites. Today’s favorite is: “They say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
7. What’s your favorite non-job-related pastime? Coaching my kids in youth sports… playing golf… cooking for family and friends.
8. What’s one thing your co-workers don’t know about you? I’m quiet and shy. Seriously… I don’t know how to answer that question.
9. What’s the last book you read? What book are you reading now? I recently finished The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness, by Harlow Giles Unger, and Hank Paulson’s book, On The Brink. Both provide great lessons in leadership during crisis. I just started House of Cards as a follow-up to Paulson’s book.
10. If you could invite any four people to a dinner party, who would you invite and why? I’d invite my Mom and Dad (deceased) to the house to meet my family. My wife never met my mother, and my kids never met either of them. Lincoln and Churchill could join the reunion.
Steve is pictured above with Abbey Umali, National Goodwill Ambassador of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Since 2001, Lowe's customers and employees have donated $13.9 million to MDA to support 17,000 camp experiences and 2,833 hours of funded research, clinc visits and medical equipment. You can learn more about the MDA and their mission at http://www.mda.org/