Discovering a Passion for Supply Chain
The first time I walked into a Target distribution center I didn’t know much about supply chain. It was early March of 2013. After spending several years bouncing around North Carolina, Virginia and D.C. working in grocery stores and restaurants, I’d decided to move back to my hometown of Suffolk, Virginia. I needed a job and the local Target warehouse was hiring.
I started out working the outbound dock, loading freight on trailers and learning the basics of warehousing and distribution. I was eager to learn as much as I could, and fairly quickly I was given additional responsibilities as a trainer and a backup utility attendant. I learned a lot about inventory management and discovered that I have a passion for this kind of work. For me, Target started out as a job at a warehouse, but quickly became a career in supply chain.
Thanks to Target’s flexible work schedule, I was able to go back to school and get a degree. I finished my bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management last year at Old Dominion University. About that time, Target announced a large expansion of the Suffolk facility. It meant lots of new jobs for the community, including new leadership roles. In January of this year I was promoted to Operations Manager in the Warehousing department, where I now lead a team of warehouse workers.
What’s so awesome about supply chain? For me, it’s the ability to problem solve in a way that has a big impact. In the industry, we call this the “bullwhip effect,” where very small changes and tweaks upstream can have a tremendous impact downstream. For example, if my team receives a pallet of toys or apparel incorrectly, 40 stores could be out of stock on that same item a day later. Although we don’t interact with Target guests directly, everything we do is about driving a quality experience for them, and it’s exciting to be part of something that important.
I would recommend our distribution business as a great place to get started in the company. It’s a fun place to work, with full time hours, competitive pay and good benefits. Most importantly, this is a company that cares about people and invests in their careers. I’m excited for my future in Target’s supply chain.