Netrush Operations Manager Justin Sharp has made a significant impact on the company in eighteen months. Having started during the biggest growth spurt in our 10-year history, he’s proved himself to be a high-value asset in managing logistics and people at the processing facility.
During his recent trip to NetRush Vancouver, we had a chance to talk more about the daily grind at NetRush Kentucky, the hub where orders are processed before heading to Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers – a monstrous task when you consider the 30+ brands that NetRush serves.
Tell us a bit about the working environment at Netrush Kentucky.
Obviously, it’s a lot more hands-on compared to HQ in Vancouver. We’re dealing with product. On an average day, people are focused and working hard, but there’s time for laughs. Everyone knows what the daily agenda is, what needs to happen, and we’re all hustling to accomplish what we’ve set out to do.
On the whole, there’s a good balance of hard work and fun. We have morning meetings where we’ll go over how things are going, discuss things we could have done better yesterday, or things that we need to focus on today. We like to have fun and it isn’t uncommon to see us doing something lighthearted, like a cornhole tournament to see who gets an extra 10 minutes on their break.
What are some of the biggest changes at Netrush you’ve noticed in the last year and a half?
I wouldn’t say there has been a change in the culture of the company – that has been consistent since day 1 – but as far as the success of the company, you can see it on both sides. At one point during my first visit, there were six of us working out of an office, and now we’re in this great new location. It’s exciting from a professional standpoint. There’s a ton of opportunity. I don’t think this company is anywhere close to reaching its ceiling.
It’s getting bigger in Kentucky, too. POs in the last 18 months have doubled, and we’re adapting to it quickly. It’s a constant challenge that we’re addressing with our work culture, processes, and technology. We’ve expanded our footprint, recently adding onto our existing facility and adding valuable members to the team. We’re processing a much higher volume of product. With that not only comes constant change, but the need for continuous process improvement. As the company grows, our methods have to adapt with it.
What are some of the challenges you face dealing with communication between Washington and Kentucky?
Communication between the offices is great. We’re good about relaying all the need-to-know information, but there’s a human element that gets lost in electronic communication. I think the visits between locations is a good thing. To put this into context, when a Brand Manager from Vancouver visits us or vice versa, it opens the door to a more comfortable relationship. When issues crop up down the line, there’s a real connection built up where we can reach out and say, “Hey buddy, this is happening. You’ve been out here and seen what the process looks like, what are your thoughts? How can we address this?” From a relationship and a visibility standpoint, it really helps to have some personal contact as a baseline, so that we’re all on the same page.
From a personal standpoint, it’s very cool to come out here and get some insight into the brand side of things. What actually goes into the decision making, behind the scenes. The velocity of sales and projections, how the product gets to us at Hub. It’s also cool to see the new and expanding team.
Justin pictured with the Netrush Softball Team.
Tell us a bit about your rule and development at Netrush.
I was hired on as an expediter about eighteen months ago. I have a logistics background and was initially hired to manage workflow. I really enjoy the work and excelled at that. I was soon promoted to Logistics Manager to take on a bit more of the day-to-day responsibility and handle domestic shipping as well as the flow. I was promoted again to Operations Manager.
Brian is the executive and my direct supervisor. He is more like a mentor, I’d say. I’ve learned a lot from him and that’s really helped guide me to where I am with the company today. He has really taken me under his wing and challenged me, which is good for me. It has helped me a lot.
On an average day, I’m going from station to station, helping people work through issues and looking for ways to coach and develop our associates. My job varies. Some days are very hands-on, requiring a lot of attention on the floor, and other days I’m able to shift my focus to some of the big picture goals. I obviously need to carve out time to communicate with Vancouver, to address issues that are cropping up with orders coming in. I try to act as a buffer between Vancouver and Kentucky, to make sure processes are running smoothly.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
I am in an incredibly rewarding position within the company. This role allows me the freedom to challenge any limitation and embrace the endless possibilities. The coaching opportunities are great. I’m helping build a culture of leadership here. There are people that I’ve worked with who are rising in the company, and knowing that I’m playing a role in their development and they, in turn, are doing the same thing is very meaningful.