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Switching Sides

I have a long history with Carolina Tractor, the parent company of LiftOne (Charlotte, NC). My father has been with the company for 30+ years and I’ve been here for about eight years. I started out as a rental technician, working on heavy equipment for the company’s construction division. After about five years of doing that, I moved to our Monroe, NC, office, where I was promoted to rental coordinator. In this new role, I still did quite a bit of service work, but I also handled additional responsibilities like setting up transportation, scheduling and processing rental contracts. Then, the recession hit and the company did some reshuffling. As a part of the process, I left the construction side of the business to learn a whole new industry as I joined LiftOne, Carolina Tractor’s Material Handling wing.

Now, 11 months in to my stint as LiftOne’s warehouse specialist, I’m learning more about the industry every day. While construction equipment and material handling equipment are similar, there’s still a learning curve. Fortunately, I’ve got a great team of supervisors and managers that have helped me along the way. I’ve also been helped by the fact that our company mainly deals with Caterpillar products both in construction and in material handling. The two product lines use a lot of the same parts and the engines are similar. The biggest difference is learning the variety of brands that we deal with on the Material Handling side. We can get parts for any make of forklift.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my first year as LiftOne’s warehouse specialist, it’s to keep a frantic pace. Some of my responsibilities include shipping, receiving, negotiating freight prices, handling inventory levels and anticipating the needs of our customers. Having such a broad base of responsibilities means that no two days are the same—something I very much enjoy.

It might be easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of a position like mine, but here we have a singular purpose that drives all of our actions—customer satisfaction. Ever since the recession hit, our customers’ needs have changed. Now more than ever, I have to closely monitor inventory levels and anticipate customer needs in an effort to be able to swiftly respond to any demand. In this climate, people are trying to save a buck at every turn. That means I have to optimize our warehouse operations and make sure that I negotiate the best possible price with every vendor that we do business with. Customers can buy parts from anywhere. The key is providing availability, competitive prices and correct orders with the best customer service.

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

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