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In celebration of Women’s History Month, I spoke with some DeltaTrak customers in the produce industry to get their thoughts on issues affecting women, and the supply chain. Kim A. is the distribution manager for CrunchPak and Lisa M. is a shipping clerk with Gebber’s Farms. I was impressed with the fact that both women are long-term employees with their respective companies. They both seem to genuinely enjoy their roles. Both women are mothers, and spoke about being fortunate to have the flexibility they need to manage their lives. It was awesome to hear this, because everyone knows work-life balance is often hard to achieve.

Kim A. has been with CrunchPak for 7 years.

Current Title: Distribution Manager
 

Question: What is your role with CrunchPak?

Kim: My main role with CrunchPak is to oversee the office on a day to day basis and I also control the trucks that we own and operate locally. I started in the office and gradually worked my way up. I went to Inventory. Then I went to Senior Supervisor. Now I’m the Distribution Manager. I had just graduated when I got this job. I have a son, so it’s worked out for me. I get super flexible hours if I need it. They’ve always been good about working with me. I enjoy what I do. That’s helpful to get out of bed in the morning. I like the problem-solving. I like the controlled chaos.

Question: In your opinion what is the biggest supply chain issue today?

Kim: Temperature. Getting rejections for temperature. Because we use refrigerated trucks only, that’s a huge thing that we deal with. Trucks having a higher temperature even though the reefer says it’s fine. That’s why we added the RTL to one of our customers because we kept getting rejections, so we wanted that live tracking to be able to see (why are they rejecting the loads). That way we have backup. That’s the biggest thing with those. Insurance. It’s like a $35 insurance fee. There’s also difficulty finding trucks. Finding them and making sure they’re here on time.

Question: How have DeltaTrak’s data loggers helped you manage the cold chain?

Kim: We use about twelve FlashLink loggers every week. They’re simple and easy to use. They work for our purposes, and we’re saving at least $15,000 a year. I like the DeltaTrak website (ColdTrak). It’s user friendly. I love how I can get the reports easier. They’re easy to read because of the plug-in. The loggers help us ensure that we always have accurate readings on the trucks going between our two facilities.

Question: What do you think is the biggest issue facing women in your industry or women in the workforce?

Kim: Sometimes you’re afraid to speak up and I think you just need to be assertive in your own way. To let people know that you know what you’re talking about. Being proud of whatever you’re doing. Showing that to other people so they recognize it. Standing your ground.

Question: The International Women’s Day theme for 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge, which highlights the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions in the interest of creating a more inclusive and gender-equal world. How do you think this applies to you or working women in general?

Kim: That’s thought-provoking. I’ve never seen the gender (card) being played here at all. There’s lots of managers here who are women. I’ve always been paid as equally as anyone else around here, so I’ve never had that problem. Maybe it’s the area where I live, because I’ve never felt that way. Even growing up. I was the manager at McDonald’s when I was 18. But, I think it is a huge issue overall. Just nothing I’ve personally dealt with. I think it’s something that needs to be tackled in the corporate world for sure. I think it’s important to make sure that you’re not overlooking people that are qualified. Going back in time to see what my mom had to do just to vote… It’s all kind of brought us where we are today, and we’re still fighting. I sometimes deal with that in my head when it comes to our warehouse because when you first see a woman you don’t think they’re going to be able to do as good a job as the men. That’s a misconception that we have, even as women. And I have to step myself back and say, “Of course they can. It doesn’t matter (that they’re a woman).”

 

Lisa M. has been with Gebber’s Farms for 13 years.

Current Title: Shipping Clerk
 

Question: What is your role with Gebber’s Farms?

Lisa: It involves handling all of the export documentation for everything leaving our facility going out of the country. Every day is different. Which I like. You have to know all of the requirements for the country you’re shipping to, which includes anything I need for the state government inspection agency for fruit. Everything that leaves the facility that goes out of the country requires some sort of documentation.

Question: What has kept you at Gebber’s Farms for such a long time?

Lisa: Most of it is the people I work with. I do have a lot of flexibility in my schedule except for cherry season. Which is like June and July. It’s a little tougher. It’s pretty hectic seven days a week until we’re done, but if my daughter’s sick I can pick her up and go home. It works. I take her to school and pick her up. I go have lunch with her.

Question: In your opinion what is the biggest supply chain issue today?

Lisa: We run into issues with the availability of trucks. Getting containers into the port and unloaded so we can have the empty containers to fill them up. That’s been one of our biggest issues. For the trucks, they’re all on electronic logs so they only have so much time to drive.

Question: Is there anything you can do to circumvent that?

Lisa: Our logistics guys just have to pound the pavement and find new trucks. I think there are plenty of trucks out there, I don’t know if they can keep up with the volume that we have. Or they’re not set up to handle that. That’s part of the problem. We probably ship about 30 truck-loads a day right now. During cherry season, when we’re at our peak, that’s easily tripled. We’ve done about a dozen export loads this week. (Also tripled during busy season.)

Question: How have DeltaTrak’s data loggers helped you manage the cold chain?

Lisa: We’re using the FlashLink Mini (PDF In-Transit Logger). It’s an all-in-one package. Some of the other ones we have (loggers from DeltaTrak competitors), there are pieces to it. You (might) have a recorder which sticks on paper or you have to put it in a bag. These (FlashLink Mini PDF loggers) are a one-shot deal. It saves time for us (as far as putting them together) and putting them on the load. The fact that they are super easy to use, makes it really easy.

Question: What do you think are some of the biggest issues facing women in the workforce today?

Lisa: Good question. I would probably say equality in the workplace. I think that’s probably the biggest thing for women. Not necessarily pay, but being treated the same. There’s a whole lot of women who don’t get treated the same. That’s my feeling. It can be hard to find someone that will treat you as an equal. Value your opinion and trust that you know what you’re talking about. I just strive to do my best and trust that someone will see it. Another challenge is finding quality childcare.

I enjoyed speaking with Lisa and Kim about their work, and I wish them much continued success! Be sure to catch next week’s blog where I’ll recap my conversations with other DeltaTrak customers, as we continue our celebration of Women’s History Month.

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