July 2021 | Case Studies | Reader Profile

World-Class Service From the Warehouse to the Kitchen

Tags: Warehousing, Labor Management, Careers

Marcia Brey is vice president, distribution, with GE Appliances, a Haier company.

Responsibilities: Lead the distribution network including warehousing, transportation, logistics, and delivery.

Experience: VP, distribution; business continuity planning co-leader during COVID; executive director, lean enterprise leader; plant quality manager; supply chain manager of post sales service and parts, all with GE Appliances.

Education: Masters, quality and reliability engineering, Univ. of Arizona; Masters, mechanical engineering, Univ. of Louisville. Undergrad degree: Engineering, Univ. of Louisville.

 

 

 


I love appliances. When I visit other peoples' homes, I always peek in the kitchen. GE Appliances is a fun place to work because of the connection people have to our products.

I've worked in almost every function within GE Appliances. In customer service, I learned a complaint is a gift. It helps you prioritize problems through the eyes of customers and ensures we take actions that matter most to them. GE products are the heart of our customers' homes, and they need us to be dependable.

GE Appliances was the first major appliance company to offer in-home installation services. Now, we deliver an appliance every 4.5 seconds. Our expertise is a strength as we grow our delivery capabilities.

The company has 11 distribution centers across the United States and about 160 cross-dock locations. We're able to do next-day or two-day delivery within about 90% of the country through our hub-and-spoke model.

GE Appliances uses technology to track inventory at every moment, and identify defects or delays, such as port hang-ups, as soon as possible so customers don't feel the pain. We're not perfect, but that's where we're going.

I very much believe in a Lean approach, and in trying and learning. If an approach doesn't work, step back, learn, and try again.

With COVID, the company's approach was constant communication. In the beginning, we communicated multiple times a day to our executive team and with our front-line workers.

We learned and implemented best practices across the country so we didn't have to shut down facilities while keeping employees safe, other than the first week to implement safety measures. Once our protocols were in place, we grew 20 to 25% through the pandemic, with a great safety record.

As a kid, I'd use my dad's tools to take things apart. I've always loved solving problems. My mom encouraged me to go into engineering.

At GE Appliances, I had a career plan to be an engineer for life. Then, some of my mentors encouraged me to develop my leadership skills. I thought they were crazy, but I took their advice.

I found I loved working with people, and I loved learning different functions of the business. I wouldn't be where I am today if not for my great coaches who said, 'There's more you can do.'

My heart is in distribution because its problems are the most complicated to solve. I am thrilled to solve problems for customers and to have the opportunity to grow the next generation of leaders. n

Marcia Brey Answers the Big Questions

1. If you could speed the development of a supply chain-disrupting technology, what would you choose?

In the world of big, bulky deliveries, it feels like we're still using some of the same basic equipment, such as hand dollies during the final-mile delivery or clamp trucks in the warehouses.

I'd like to find different ways that are more ergonomically friendly and more effective for moving different sizes of bulky items.

2. If you had $1 million to start a new business or philanthropic venture, what would you do?

I would build on the work I have done with Catholic Charities, a local philanthropic organization that helps refugees resettle and acclimate to a new life in the United States.

The journey refugees make as they try to build better lives for themselves and their families is profound. I feel strongly about using my privilege to give back and help these strong, brave individuals be self-sufficient so they can achieve their dreams.

I would also become more involved in helping with logistics planning and execution when the American Red Cross responds to disasters.

3. What movie or television show have you seen that left an impression on you?

I'm a huge Wonder Woman fan. I love her confidence. As a female in a male-dominated space, I've sometimes tried to act like I thought others expected me to act. Wonder Woman exudes confidence and is true to herself.

I wish I wouldn't have wasted as much time in my career journey trying to be something I wasn't.






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