August 2012 | Case Studies | Reader Profile

Sherry Askew: Beauty Calls

Tags: Education & Careers

Sherry Askew is transportation manager at Revlon Consumer Products in Oxford, N.C. She has held this position since 2010.

Responsibilities: Managing pricing and contracts, analyzing data, and serving as a liaison with the freight payment provider for Revlon's U.S. and Canadian transportation, both inbound and outbound.

Experience: Retail associate, data entry clerk, buyer's secretary, Rose's Stores Inc.; administrative assistant in customer service, executive administrative assistant to the vice president of transportation, transportation administrator, Revlon Consumer Products Corporation.

Education: Institute of Logistics Management, certification in logistics, 2000; Barton College, business administration, 2008-2012; plans to transfer to East Carolina University to major in logistics.


I discovered my passion for transportation when I moved from the customer service department at Revlon to become executive assistant to the vice president of transportation. The son of a truck driver, he lived and breathed transportation. His enthusiasm rubbed off on me.

He encouraged me to pursue a certification in logistics, and when I earned that, he promoted me to transportation administrator. I love transportation because it's fast-paced, with constant activity. Transportation is responsible for making things happen from the beginning, when the product is just a collection of raw materials, all the way to delivery to the customer as finished goods.

Revlon successfully manages just-in-time raw materials delivery without spending money on expedited freight. One reason we've done so well is that most of the suppliers that ship materials to our manufacturing plant in Oxford, N.C., are located in the Northeast. A lot of freight flows into that region, leaving carriers looking for backhaul loads. This demand enables us to negotiate good rates.

We found a niche carrier based in Greensboro, N.C., that makes overnight runs from the Northeast, and serves Kennedy International Airport in New York. Before we found this carrier, it took two or three days to get product out of the Northeast, unless we paid three to four times the regular less-than-truckload rate to an expedited carrier. Now we have our shipments the next day.

Right now, I'm excited to be working on a project that is a first for our company: implementing a single freight payment provider for global transportation.

Today, when the chief financial officer wants to know the company's global transportation spend, staff in Revlon offices around the world must pull data from different systems, then someone compiles it.

With one freight payment vendor operating on a single system, the CFO will be able to access the information easily.

I'm tasked with finding a provider that can handle all our business in the United States, Canada, Asia-Pacific, Australia, Latin America, and Mexico. Then we'll need to modify the processes used in the various global organizations to match the already-successful U.S. and Canada operations.

One of the proudest moments in my career occurred in 2010, when I received an employee recognition award for my efforts to improve Revlon's international inventory flow.

Our three-person team implemented a container and trailer pooling process to give our distribution operations greater flexibility in accommodating international markets. It resulted in more efficient product flow and cycle time.

For example, we improved the cycle time to Mexico by more than two weeks. We also reduced the number of touches required to move freight to Latin America, and we achieved savings.

The company recognized me in front of the entire global organization. That certainly boosted my morale.

The Big Questions

What's the worst job you've ever held?

When I was 14, I worked on my uncle's tobacco farm, placing tobacco leaves on a conveyor belt. I worked next to an elderly lady, and every day she swatted me on the back of the head with wet tobacco.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Every chance I get, I head to Wilmington for a day at the beach.

Is there something you love to do, even though you're not especially good at it?

Dancing the Carolina Shag.

Last three books you read?

EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey; Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman; and Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper.

Favorite Revlon product?

Revlon Ultimate Lipcolor.