June 2013 | Case Studies | Reader Profile

Dino Lanno: Best in Glass

Tags: Education & Careers

Dino Lanno has been senior vice president, supply chain at Safelite AutoGlass in Columbus, Ohio, since 2007.

Responsibilities: Procurement, transportation, distribution, manufacturing, inventory management, and wholesale sales.

Experience: Facilities engineer, WearEver Aluminum; product development engineer, Hamilton Beach Procter Silex; engineer manager, plant manager, WearEver Aluminum; regional warehouse manager, director of materials management, vice president of enterprise procurement and wholesale sales, Safelite AutoGlass.

Education: BS, electrical engineering, University of Michigan, 1981; MBA, general business administration and management, Ohio University, 1990.


I grew up in Detroit, so I have the auto industry in my blood. When I earned my engineering degree in 1981, I knew exactly where I wanted to work. But because the automakers weren't hiring many engineers at that time, I took a job with WearEver Aluminum in Ohio instead.

After serving in several engineering jobs, in 1990 I made a big change, accepting a procurement position with Safelite AutoGlass. That move into the supply chain seemed scary at the time, but my engineering work had actually prepared me well for procurement. Knowing how things are made, and what they cost, helped me negotiate.

Safelite's retail organization currently includes 669 retail stores, plus Mobile Pro technicians, who serve customers in smaller markets. Our wholesale business sells to other companies that do auto glass replacement.

We manufacture about 25 percent of our product in Enfield, N.C., and buy the rest from suppliers around the globe. The product flows into our distribution centers in Braselton, Ga., and Ontario, Calif. The DCs deliver to 92 warehouses which, in turn, deliver to our stores, Mobile Pros, and wholesale customers.

In 2011, we added 14 hub facilities—mini-DCs—that serve multiple warehouses in our larger markets. For example, the Columbus hub ships to Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. That puts inventory closer to the market, so the warehouses can get any products they need within hours, rather than days.

One of the biggest projects I've led at Safelite started in 2007, when the company began doubling its size through acquisitions. Our supply chain network was already at capacity; we had one small DC and 80 warehouses that were badly in need of capital improvements.

Over the next few years, we completely re-engineered our supply chain. We renovated, expanded, or relocated 65 of our 80 warehouses and added 13 more. We replaced the DC with two new, state-of-the-art facilities, and added 11 hubs.

That project came in under budget and ahead of schedule. It has given the company unrivaled inventory availability, while providing enough capacity to grow. Now we're starting a project to optimize the final link in that chain—deliveries from the warehouses to our retail stores and wholesale customers.

I'm also proud of two other projects. One established a recycling program for the broken windshields we remove from cars. The broken glass now becomes material for fiberglass, and the windshields' PVB liners go into carpet backing and other products.

The other project involved developing collapsible, reusable steel pallets, which we use to ship glass from our DCs to the warehouses. Once we unload the product, the pallets fold down, maximizing the number that fit in a trailer. Both the pallets and the broken glass go back to the DCs, creating closed loops for our carriers, who can offer us lower freight costs as a result.

Along with working on projects such as these, I spend much of my time helping people on my team develop as leaders. When you create a climate where people can develop their management skills and come to work excited about their jobs, the result will be super-high performance.

The Big Questions

Do you have a hidden talent?

I've played guitar since I was 13. I retired from a bar band five years ago, but I still play lead guitar on my church's praise and worship team, and I've performed at weddings and reunions.

When you're not working, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy car hobbies and boating, and I love music. I'm active in my church, and I serve on the boards of several organizations, including our local Meals-on-Wheels, Mission Emanuel, and the Center of Science and Industry.

If you could take back one sentence you've ever spoken, what would it be?

"Honey, let's stop at two children."

If you were stranded on a desert island, which three artists' music would you want to have with you?

Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Joe Bonamassa.