February 24, 2020 – After a nationwide search by executive search firm Saenger Associates, South Carolina-based baby products giant Gerber Childrenswear has a new head of distribution for the company’s massive worldwide distribution center in the Charleston area.
Katherine Hayes took the lead on the search for the Los Angeles-based recruitment firm along with Gary L. Saenger. The assignment took just 40 days and resulted in the placement of Victor Wilson.
Gerber was looking for a candidate with 15-plus years of experience in a high-volume, fast-paced production/distribution center, and a track record of building and leading world-class teams said Saenger Associates.
“Gerber wanted a strategic leader as well as a people leader,” Ms. Hayes said. “They wanted someone who’s handled volume distribution, understands development of performance indicators and KPIs, and has high-end experience with a WMS (warehouse management system).”
Because Gerber ships to a wide variety of customers, to many retailers, small, large and in-between, the head of distribution “has to know the different vendor rules and compliance issues relating to labeling, packaging and shipping,” said Ms. Hayes. Finally, Gerber wanted a tech-savvy distribution head who could help the company to continue to build its E-commerce operations.
Through Saenger Associates’ extensive search network, Ms. Hayes and the Saenger team found a large group of highly qualified candidates, even as the 2019 year-end holidays approached.
Placed in 40 Days
“Our client interviewed seven candidates and invited three for a site visit and in-person interviews, and of the three finalists, selected Victor Wilson,” Ms. Hayes said. “Victor has a great track record, with extensive experience moving a lot of goods in and out on an even larger scale,” she said. “Plus, he had demonstrated innovation in recruiting and had a vision for moving Gerber’s business to a new level. It really came down to a culture fit and someone who had that great balance of strategy, implementation and people skills.”
On the people side, Gerber was specifically seeking an executive with innovative recruitment strategies, because there are more than a 100 manufacturers and distribution centers in the same region.
Gerber Childrenswear is a marketer of infant and toddler apparel and related products in the marketplace – offering all of the everyday, core layette apparel including Onesies Brand one piece underwear, sleepwear and accessories that mothers need for their babies’ first years.
Saenger Associates, founded over 20 years ago, is led by Mr. Saenger. The firm’s major practice areas are industrial products (including aerospace and defense) and consumer products. Its clients include private, public, Fortune 500 companies and non-profits that are both established and emerging. Saenger Associates is a member of IRC Global Executive Search Partners.
Mr. Saenger’s combined business vision of quality and commitment is the driving force of the firm, said colleagues. Before founding Saenger Associates, he was president and executive vice president of RJ Watkins Executive Search. Prior to that, he held senior management positions with Security Pacific Corp., Citibank and American Hospital Supply Corp.
Prior to joining Saenger Associates in 2002, Ms. Hayes had an 11-year career with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the premiere business advocacy association in the region. As director of human resources and administration, she was responsible for all human resources functions, strategic planning and the recruitment and retention of 75 executive-level volunteer board directors.
“It’s a very competitive labor market with a very low unemployment rate,” Ms. Hayes said. “Finding and keeping good employees goes beyond just paying them more.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media