Inbound Logistics | January 2022


as told to Karen Kroll

Honed for the Holidays

MICHAEL SHAUGHNESSY is senior vice president, supply chain, operations, and emerging markets, with Balsam Brands, which designs and offers home décor, including under its f lagship brand, Balsam Hill.

We try to be good partners with our carriers. For instance, we shifted our schedules to align with the times our outbound carriers are less busy. By maintaining strong relationships, our carriers will think of us rst when they have additional capacity. We outgrew our order management system and are shifting to a new one. While there is never a great time to implement a new system, this will allow us to scale without adding headcount. “We try to be good partners with our carriers. By maintaining strong relationships, our carriers will think of us rst when they have additional capacity.” RESPONSIBILITIES: Lead outbound customer logistics, reverse logistics planning, ocean freight selection and negotiation, international warehousing and fulfillment operations, and customer service. EDUCATION: MBA, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College; Professional Studies, U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College; B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

EXPERIENCE: Principal, BDD, Inc.; president and CEO, Cold Chain LLC; lt. colonel; U.S. Air Force and Idaho Air National Guard; Air Force officer; regional business development manager, EnerNOC; director of finance, Willowview Consulting; investment management professional, Goldman Sachs & Co., co-founder, captain/pilot, assistant director of operations ESAir; naval officer.

I n my role leading an e-commerce company’s supply chain organization, I tell my team we need to do three things: First, ensure when someone hits buy, our products show up on their doorstep. Second, receive on time the products our partners manufactured for us—a huge challenge now. And third, manage costs so we’re efcient and predictable. In 2021, that has also been difcult. On top of that, our goods are seasonal, and essentially perishable. Christmas décor needs to arrive by Christmas. There also are a lot of traditions and emotion tied to the holidays. We have to give our customers the best information possible. To get there, I’ve worked with my team to come up with creative ways to manage amid the recent disruptions. We partnered with customer service and merchandising to set customers’ expectations.

Some people plan every step of their careers, but I think you have to be willing to take the journey. One thing leads to another and you follow the kernels of popcorn on the ground. My dad was an electrical contractor and I’ve always been interested in electrical things, so electrical engineering was a natural course of study for me. And a lot of work in the military is engineering-based, while much of ying involves math. My 23 years in the military, where I ew for the Navy and the Air Force, was a formative experience. Business situations, no matter how crazy they get, usually don’t carry the same sense of gravity. When I returned from my last tour in Iraq, I thought about a different career path. I studied nance and worked for a Wall Street rm throughout the nancial crisis. Then, I decided I would rather be involved in making things and using my

30 Inbound Logistics • January 2022

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