For this series of blogs, we sat down with some of Charlotte’s team members to talk to them about their work and what drives their passion for creating healthier spaces. This week we had the chance to speak with Shipper/Receiver and Inventory Member Ryan Elson about how the Charlotte Warehouse functions, and what has helped him stay with us for two decades.
Can you tell us about your career path until now?
Grew up on a farm with an auto salvage yard, so I learned a lot about mechanics and farming from a young age, and that’s where my very first jobs were. I also was a butcher for a period of time. When my family sold the salvage lot, I applied as a Maintenance Manager for Charlotte Production. That was 19 years ago. I quickly became a chemical compounder on the production floor, then moved over to the warehouse around the time Charlotte was starting to grow as a company. When I started in the warehouse, we were about two to three aisles of products. Now we are looking at roughly 24 aisles of warehouse space, or 20,000 square feet of warehouse space full of our products.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do at Charlotte?
It’s hard to describe a typical day in my role, because what I do changes from day to day. I have a small, very dependable team, and we all help each other out no matter what comes up. The days usually begins with inventory counts, which means we count every bin in the warehouse. Then we pick orders, ship orders, look over customs and the receiving area, with other day-to-day surprises thrown in, of course. We answer emails and book trucks, and always coordinate with our logistics and shipping/receiving team.
What is your favorite part of the job?
The people are my favorite, for sure. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with great people here through the entire time I’ve been with Charlotte. We are all on the same page; there are lots of moving parts and we all work together. I take a lot of pride and ownership in our warehouse and keeping it running smoothly. We run at a steady 99% in shipping and inventory accuracy monthly. I’m very proud of that number and all the hard work we’ve put in to get to that. Of course, we are always looking to improve, too!
How have you been able to have such accuracy amid so much growth?
I credit those daily early-morning bin checks and inventory counts for helping us achieve that level of accuracy. It’s also possible because we work so well together and there is so much communication.
What ways does your team grow their communication skills?
We have many team building efforts as a company, which allows us to develop stronger relationships. We have a monthly team build and lunch to discuss growth. That’s a time when we all have a chance to hear how we did in the month, what our misses were and where we made progress, and to discuss how we can improve in the next month. We like to involve everyone in the discussion, and that opens up communication lines and allows us all to buy into the work we do.
What does our mission statement, “We help people everywhere live safer and healthier lives,” mean to you?
Our mission is to help create healthy spaces to live and work, and we take that so seriously that we make sure where we work is healthy too. In our warehouse, we are always looking for ways to make what we do more sustainable. We’re always looking for new ideas to help us save room, reduce waste, save cost and make our ecological footprint a priority. We spend a lot of time sorting through and recycling in the warehouse. We compact all our cardboard and plastics and they are all recycled. Very little waste in our garbage weekly. Everybody works as a team to get that done. Compactor in back and everything is separated. We also have a solar wall that heats our warehouse. You could say we practice what we preach!
This interview is part of a series of expert interviews we will be conducting with the passionate team members here at Charlotte. If you’d like to learn more about what we are doing or to connect with one of our experts, please email us at email@example.com