December 2010 | Case Studies | Reader Profile

Joe Perillo: The Persuader

Tags: Education & Careers

Joe Perillo

NAME: Joe Perillo

TITLE: Director of supply chain, logistics, and lean enterprise

COMPANY: PTR Baler and Compactor, Philadelphia, since 2007

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: Aircraft technician, U.S. Marine Corps; FAA-certified aircraft maintenance supervisor, Continental Airlines; production plant manager, Cardone Industries; advanced lean manufacturing specialist, DVIRC

EDUCATION: University of Phoenix, BS in business management, 2007

Joe Perillo’s business motto is “Leadership through influence.” As director of supply chain, logistics, and lean enterprise at PTR Baler and Compactor, Perillo spearheads business improvements to help the well-established manufacturer climb to even greater levels of success. But he can’t force those changes.

“I work with my peers; they report to the president, just as I do,” says Perillo. So instead of declaring, for example, that from now on the sales and operations teams will collaborate to create demand forecasts, he must persuade his peers to try this approach.

Based in Philadelphia, PTR manufactures trash compactors— used in retail stores, warehouses, restaurants, and other facilities— and balers that are used in recycling centers and retail stores. Besides selling those products to end users around the world, PTR services its own and competitors’ equipment.

Perillo is responsible for purchasing, inventory management, warehousing, and inbound and outbound transportation. He’s also charged with making the company more process- and policy-driven. As part of that lean mission, he helps PTR capture and analyze data to fuel better business decisions.

For example, the company is creating a unique part-numbering system, so it can track not just which baler and compactor models it sells, but in what configurations. This information is essential for inventory planning and for delivering to customers on time.

One of Perillo’s first chances to innovate at PTR emerged early in 2008, just after he joined the firm, when steel prices were soaring. To protect itself from future increases, PTR started buying steel in bulk, three months ahead of its need. It paid a trucking firm to pick up the steel from suppliers, store it, and deliver it as needed.

As a lean practitioner, Perillo wasn’t wild about the extra materials handling. “It went against everything I would do to remove waste,” he says.

So he devised a better solution. PTR would buy steel from fewer suppliers. It would still order three months’ supply at a time, to lock in prices. But in exchange for the increased volumes, suppliers would manage the inventory, invoicing on delivery every two weeks.

This strategy continues to benefit PTR. “We win, because we control the costs,” Perillo says. “The suppliers win because they get a bigger portion of our business.”

Today, Perillo is leading an effort to develop a real-time, automated inventory of finished products and parts. These include systems that the company builds to order and systems that it builds to stock, based on forecasts. He’s also making plans to build up inventory during the fall and winter, when retailers are too busy with holiday sales to install new trash compactors or balers.

“When orders start to pick up for the products that we know will move, we’ll have them in place,” Perillo says. “It will give us the ability to ramp up to the new production level, and let our inventory offset the initial demand.”

In a profitable and conservative business, introducing change can be a challenge. But at PTR, Perillo’s knack for leadership through influence is helping move the company to the next level of success.

The Big Questions

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I love spending time with my wife and our four daughters. We enjoy hosting dinner parties or afternoon barbeques for friends and family. I also like tackling small home improvement projects; they’re great stress relievers.

Ideal dinner companion?

Jesus or President George W. Bush.

What’s in your laptop bag?

Trade magazines, phone and laptop chargers, and industry whitepapers.

First Web site you look at in the morning?

I go through MSN.com and Google to find information on the recycling industry and commodity costs. I also go to Bloomberg.com to check customers’ stock prices.

If you didn’t work in logistics, what would be your dream job?

High school football coach.