Behind the List with Randy Steadman
corporate logistics and inventory manager of Schaedler Yesco
Q: What does your company do?
A: Schaedler Yesco is the largest independent, locally owned electrical distributor in Central PA. We have 18 branches across the state, and our main distribution center is in Harrisburg.
My challenge is that the material comes here and we send nightly transfer trucks to places like Pittsburgh, State College, Williamsport and Hazleton so our customers get what they need by 8 a.m. the next day. Then, the trucks need to be back here by the morning for us to use around here.
It's becoming more challenging as we stretch across the state. We are growing where the business is growing. We have customers who do more than a million dollars with us, and then we have the guy who does $50,000 but might be more demanding because he is a one-man show and his livelihood is dependent upon us getting the stuff to him on time.
How has the field changed over the years?
We have 80 job trailers as part of our site inventory management program. Rather than send the materials to the company and have the electrician load his van, our drivers go to the job site and put it on the shelf so it's right there. If you're paying an electrician so much per hour, you don't want them waiting around for lug nuts.
We also individually kit some things for our customers — in other words, we put everything they need to redo a fixture into a box with all the little parts so it's there for them. It's extra work on our end, but it saves them time.
What are some of the challenges your industry has been facing recently?
As the economy gets tighter, pricing is getting more challenging. People want the best deal they can get, but you also have to stay in business.
We also need to stay on top of technology changes and governmental rebates for different kinds of light bulbs. Your average customer doesn't know about that.
What do you see for the future of your business?
We expect more individualized requests from customers. As customers demand more, you need to be more efficient at what you do. You need to cut the fat out and be smarter. There will be less room for error. You have to be better than the next guy and more educational to the customer. We're not just order-takers. We have also bought some mom-and-pop distribution shops that just couldn't compete anymore and are doing partnerships with vendors who want to sell in bulk. If you're not bigger, you are going to be gone.
What are you most proud of?
The 50 percent employee stock options program and monthly bonuses we have. We pay out of our profit if we meet certain sales goals.
It's a great company, and I'm proud of the training we provide. When a customer walks in and needs to add something to an order, anyone who picks up the phone can answer their question. We also have a monthly conference call where anyone in the whole company can question anything.
We have been voted one of the best places to work in PA for numerous years. That reflects on how we treat our employees. People just don't leave.
About Randy Steadman
Title: Corporate logistics and inventory manager
Time with the company: 26 years
Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration from Clarion University
Professional involvement: Member of the Warehouse Education Research Council
Family: Wife, Susan; daughter, Robin; sons Daniel, Colin and Eric
Hobbies: Exercising and watching sports
Little-known fact: Steadman just completed his first Warrior Dash, which is an obstacle course race, a month before his 50th birthday.