Meet Our Logistics Team
There may not be a “perfect” career that exists, but there are people who fit perfectly into a job role. Chris Ketchum has been with Brand Vaughan for more than 6 years now, and his position here seems to be an excellent fit (even if his commute from Cartersville to Tucker is a long one). Ketchum has been working in the construction industry for more than three decades. That experience has given him invaluable insight into how companies handle their business and Chris has up close and personal experiences proving how imperative workplace environment is to employee morale. So Ketchum doesn’t regret increasing his daily drive since he started with Brand Vaughan in 2013. He works at Brand Vaughan’s Tucker location as Operations Manager, where he and the logistics team are responsible for keeping the company in business.
As Operations Manager, Ketchum oversees all of the day-to-day activities at the Tucker location. That includes the distribution of Brand Vaughan products, along with what Ketchum calls the “financial well-being of the store” in Tucker. He manages expenses, overtime, daily inventory, and a team of employees and drivers. Tucker is the only location equipped to receive large amounts of inventory by rail car. “So a significant amount of the lumber orders for Brand Vaughan come into our location, and we’re responsible for distributing materials to all locations,” explains Ketchum.
Obviously that kind of responsibility requires a dedicated team to handle distribution:
- Tre, Ketchum’s second-in-charge, is responsible for all day-to-day shipping orders and any transfers to other Brand Vaughan locations.
- Steven, the Yard Manager at Tucker, oversees everything from inventory to turnaround times on trucks, loading procedures, driver logs and general “housekeeping” around the yard.
- Zack, who heads up the Receiving department, manages anything to do with incoming orders like paperwork, order discrepancies or product issues.
- Michael, the office assistant for the Logistics team and the Inventory Control Specialist at Tucker, acts as the right-hand man by handling inbound calls, scheduling drivers and (a lot of) other duties for the Logistics team and helps to ensure the quality of inventory by checking it for consistency and cycle counting different groups of product once a month for the Inventory team.
The Logistics team sends out eight trucks a day, depending on the season, with the busiest months during the spring and fall. The Tucker location currently has seven drivers with trucks going out five days a week, and drivers starting at 5:00 a.m. every morning
Brand Vaughan’s drivers are held to certain standards for quality to ensure a better end-product for the customer. To help ensure efficiency, there are specific standards for turn times on the yard at Tucker. “The goal is to be in and out in 45 minutes,” explains Ketchum. “That’s loaded, strapped, checked and out the gate.“ But Brand Vaughan is distinctive as a lumber company because of the dedication of its team members. Dick Moe has been with BVL for 6 years but in the industry for 60, and in his time here, he’s developed standards for any new or incoming truck drivers. In fact, Mr. Moe’s set of standards is considered the “Driver Bible,” because it helps to walk drivers through all of the expectations that BVL has, even where drivers are required to place packing slips for customers. It’s this attention to detail that ensures the high quality that customers have come to expect of Brand Vaughan’s drivers.
That’s because professionalism is another standard for the logistics team. “Once our drivers are out there,” explains Ketchum, “they’re the only representation we have, so we have to communicate that we’re professionals.” This kind of dedication to quality across the board is what makes Brand Vaughan Lumber a great company to work for and work with. “It has a huge impact on customers; some of them will call a request certain drivers because the experience was so positive,” says Ketchum. And the interaction and engagement that Brand Vaughan’s drivers and other team members have with customers often takes pressure off other construction project stakeholders, like the architect or contractor. “It even takes pressure off the builder to know that the products are correct and high quality,” says Ketchum, “so they can get their job done quickly, without any hangups on Brand Vaughan’s side.”
This kind of commitment to quality and efficiency is what makes working for and with Brand Vaughan Lumber so rewarding. There’s a dedication to sustaining that success, and because the logistics team is a younger crew, there’s even more opportunity for everyone to learn and grow. “They like the challenge and embrace it,” says Ketchum, “because we’re all working for a great company, towards a cause that we all believe in.” It’s a team that’s supportive, too, and employees appreciate the family environment. “Chip makes sure that Cheryl takes pictures of any new team members so that everyone gets introduced.” It’s that kind of welcome and encouraging environment that’s been the foundation of BVL’s continued success because it’s all about growth. Many members are cross-trained across different departments, to help encourage employees to build their skills and get exposure to new departments.
“Somewhere down the road,” says Ketchum, “if there’s an opportunity to move to another department, I’ll encourage my team to cross-train and grow within the company. My plan is to retire, and I want one of our team members to replace me.” Brand Vaughan Lumber was recently named as one of the Top Midsized Workplaces in Atlanta, and it’s because of the dedication to employee growth at every level. The support of team members helps to ensure everyone’s success and the success of Brand Vaughan. Chris Ketchum sums up the sentiment nicely about his team: “I want to do everything I can to get them to where they need to be.”