Brian Morgan: Transportation Superconductor

Brian Morgan: Transportation Superconductor

Brian Morgan is director of logistics at Leviton, a manufacturer of electrical wiring devices, network and data center connectivity solutions, and energy management systems, based in Melville, N.Y. He joined the company in 2012.

Responsibilities: Managing the transportation network and introducing technologies to improve transportation operations.

Experience: Intern, Corvette workplace development team, General Motors; manufacturing development engineer, HP; procurement manager, HP/Agilent; director of supply chain operations, Network Photonics; senior project manager, operations optimization group, United Technologies Research Center; global logistics manager, Pratt & Whitney; director, logistics and distribution operations, Cooper Lighting.

Education: Purdue University, BS, industrial engineering, 1996; University of New Haven, MBA, 2005.

While working on my bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, I interned with a team at General Motors that was developing a new platform for the Corvette. As a car lover, I sometimes joke that this was the high point of my career. But I’m actually very happy with the road I’ve taken since then.

Moving from engineering to business management was a scary career decision. Engineers are high-level individual contributors; they control their own fate. As a manager, however, my success depends on developing strong leadership skills and accomplishing goals through my team.

Now that I’ve made the transition, I find management suits me. I use my technical expertise to introduce new methods for solving business problems and promoting change. I’m not afraid of disruptive technologies, because I know how to apply quantitative methods to complex systems to improve performance.

At Leviton, I manage and direct all activities within the corporate logistics department, including raw materials and finished goods transportation; supplier selection; rate negotiation; carrier contract execution; and transportation management systems.

I’m also responsible for designing, developing, implementing, and recommending policies and procedures for Leviton and its subsidiaries, ensuring that all transportation activities align with the company’s customer service and cost objectives. And I work with our international sales teams to improve how we use transportation to support customers’ needs in their respective regions.

Leviton operates four manufacturing plants in the United States and worldwide, and two U.S. distribution centers. We sell our products mainly through retailers and electrical distributors. One logistics challenge we face is balancing increasingly complex customer requirements with our current network capabilities.

Since the start of the economic downturn, customers have been placing smaller, more frequent orders. That forces us to be more creative in building efficiencies. For instance, instead of filling an order with a multi-stop truckload, we now need to find opportunities to consolidate several orders into a single truckload, or combine inbound shipments with replenishment orders.

As part of our effort to become more efficient, we plan to implement a freight bill audit and payment system. In addition to increasing our audit capacity, this will help us create a data repository for transportation analytics, which we can use to drive continuous improvement across our network.

We can also create new solutions for customers. For instance, the data might reveal that different buyers at an electrical distributor are sending numerous, separate orders, week after week. Those orders put extra strain on our logistics network and the customer’s receiving staff. If we can consolidate those orders, that’s a win for both of us.

We’ve had a few of those wins already. They help us add transportation value for our customers.

The Big Questions

What is your alter-ego dream job?

Race car driver. I own a Corvette, but I choose not to race it until my kids are grown.

What would be your dream trip?

I’ve already taken one: a 10-day sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands on a catamaran yacht. Once we were out to sea, my Blackberry didn’t receive a signal, so I was forced to cut myself off from work.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

I consider myself a Buffalo wing connoisseur. I collect hot sauces from around the world.

What’s on your Bucket List?

Establishing my own logistics and supply chain consulting firm; taking my family to Egypt to see the pyramids; and becoming a scratch golfer.

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