Elite Supply Chain Solutions minimizes issues by maximizing efficiency
Selling equipment is not at all the end game for Elite Supply Chain Solutions.
Selling solutions is.
In fact, according to its president, Scott Hennie, the young Hudson, Ohio-based company works with clients individually to create a strategic approach toward each unique storage and materials-handling environment, with a particular aim toward solving long-term, complex efficiency concerns.
Elite was founded in January 2013, and a year later, it became a subsidiary of MH Logistics, which is based in Peoria, Ill. and also includes sister companies MH Equipment, MH JCB, Guardian Fleet and Iowa Machinery.
“The corporate transaction,” Hennie said, “enables Elite to access both personnel and capital while continuing to work with customers to maximize operating space, organize inventory storage and implement automation and technology.
“Companies are often focused on their day-to-day business operations and they are unable to take the time to focus on long-term strategies. This is where Elite steps in and offers long-term solutions and recommendations. The philosophy of MH and Elite is very synergistic.”
And the demand from clients for cutting-edge solutions is very real, which means even a distinguished industry veteran has to constantly remind himself not to simply fall back on proven past methods.
“When we created the company, one of the things we wanted to do was go into every opportunity, whether with an existing customer or a new customer, with a clean slate,” he said. “It’s very easy to fall into the trap of ‘Sure, I know how to solve this problem. We did that 10 years ago.’
“But today, customers are looking for different solutions. They’re looking for more automation and more technology, integrated into their business.”
The Elite operation consists of the headquarters office in Hudson – about an hour southeast of Cleveland – alongside five more regional offices across the Midwest. Combined with MH Logistics’ resources, the entire enterprise employs more than 700, which ensures access to related assets as needed.
The spread for services stretches far beyond the home base, however, and has seen Elite work on recent projects in Oregon, California, Utah, Texas and Iowa.
The undertaking in Portland involved consolidation of distribution functions for a 120-store auto parts chain into a single existing facility, while not interrupting workflow and not adding on to the building. The eventual $1.2 million project featured an expansion and relocation of existing shelving, new pallet rack and pallet-flow rack, and an updated and expanded conveyor system.
A combination of both new equipment and assets transferred from the newly-closed distribution building was used, and the critical cut-ins to the existing system were done across three weekends, which allowed for movement of materials and ensured the operation would not miss a single day of shipping.
“We listened to the customer’s end goals and objectives and focused on solving those in the most efficient way,” Hennie said. “It was about problem-solving, not trying to sell the most product.”
The target prospects with whom Elite will typically aim to do business consist of facilities whose revenues range between $20 million and $100 million, which translates to sizes ranging from 50,000 to 500,000 square feet. They will include companies that are emerging from infancy into a growth mode – or, he said, “going from a Mom-and-Pop organization into a structured business” – but don’t have an in-house engineering group and are seeking outside help to develop and execute a project and an overall supply chain strategy.
Elite’s approach is turnkey in nature, which begins with a design study in which data is gathered about the goals and objectives for a particular project. From there, one or more solutions are developed and then presented to the client. Once mutual agreement is reached on the most appropriate single remedy or combination of remedies, Elite moves into the execution phase, which means bringing in the personnel and equipment to install the particular elements.
Inside its own house, Hennie said Elite is constantly staying on top of the technologies that will enhance the way it does business. Implementation of 3D-simulation software is planned to help the company’s employees to animate and simulate the processes it creates for clients.
“We want to utilize the technologies available to the point where, when we present our solutions and our designs to our clients, it’s something that they can touch feel and really get to understand before they tell us to go ahead and implement it,” he said. “Our designs and our solutions will be presented in a manner where an untrained eye can look at it and say, ‘Oh, I get it. I understand it.’”
The focus on client comprehension, Hennie said, is an extension of the corporate mandate – spelled out in the Elite mission statement – that the operation be a quality steward to its customers’ assets and to the communities in which it’s located, while positioning itself as an employer of choice.
“That’s a big part of the value of our company,” he said. “When we’re developing a solution and we’re developing a design for our clients, we’re really looking at it from the standpoint of ‘If it were my money to invest, if this was my organization, how would I approach this project and how would I approach this problem?’ So we’re going to make sure what we present to our customers is justifiable in terms of what they’re trying to achieve, but also something we know is a proven, solid design.
“The CEO of MH Logistics likes to use the phrase, ‘If our customer knew everything that we knew about this, would they be as happy as we are about the outcome and the result?’
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Elite Supply Chain Solutions
WHAT: Wholly-owned subsidiary of MH Logistics that works with its customers to maximize operating space, organize inventory storage, review facility layout and design, recommend equipment and implement automation and technology
WHERE: Hudson, Ohio