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Yusen, We Have a Problem!: What is Your Plan B?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 9, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, October 7, 2014

by Mark Kopp and Ron Marotta, Yusen Logistics (Americas) Inc.

We recently experienced the sudden death of a key member of our management team; her funeral service was held on what would have been the anniversary of her 20th year of service to our corporation. She was truly a remarkable woman who had been a solid contributor from day one through her twenty years with us, and even though she was not feeling well in her last days, she worked her entire last day she was with us. Her loyalty, commitment, and sense of responsibility to our organization, and especially to our customers, will be sorely missed, but long remembered.

With a problem such as a loss of a key member of a team, for any reason, there is learning that should, hopefully, take place and help prepare your organization for inevitable change that will surely occur when you least expect it or can afford it. Is your organization prepared to lose a key member of management? We all know that you can never quickly replace an employee with that much tenure with just anyone as they likely won't possess the same intimate knowledge of your clients or business. It is also difficult to match the soft side of a coworker who all would call a friend. Where do you find someone with a similar knowledge base or demeanor? What is your Plan B if a key member of your team suddenly passed away or chose to leave your organization? It is possible someone could win the lottery and move to the Caribbean…

We would encourage you to think about some easy concepts we've outlined below that will help you to prepare and strengthen your organization so that, if you are hit by some event, you have the ability to get right back up and get your organization back on track, continuing your business in the right direction, and focusing on your daily work and mission.

  • Does your organization have a firm succession plan?
  • Do you hire staff to train and focus on them making your company a career or do you just offer a stop along a career path?
  • Does your company have a mentoring program?
  • How do you help new or young members of your organization to grow and prosper?
  • Do you focus on your company's culture when training employees?
  • Are members of your team crossed trained?
  • Is there someone in your organization that can step in and fill that sudden void who knows other accounts, operations, or job functions?
  • Have you kept your companies contingency plans up to date?
  • When was the last time you reviewed your disaster recovery plan?

Organizations change, people change, and we can all agree business and our global market constantly changes. Since 9/11 we have all been aware of the need to have our IT systems backed up. Most organizations now have copies or electronic copies of important documents stored off site. Since Sandy, those of us on the East Coast now have plans in place to work offsite in case our infrastructures are damaged or our employees cannot report to their normal workplaces. Now the media tells us Ebola is here in the United States with at least one confirmed case. Can your organization keep functioning in the face of a pandemic? Can your organization continue to support your operations and your customers if you lose a significant portion of your workforce, even on a temporary basis? Or are those plans sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust? You should determine if they're even effective still or if they should be updated. Disaster recovery is an ongoing process that needs to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. What is your Plan B?

We would like to dedicate this month's article to Ms. Dianne Dunbar a truly remarkable and professional women who loved her life, her career, and our industry.

Dianne was not just a coworker but a true friend to many. She had been a mentor to many folks who have passed through our division, and many that are still with us and who have risen through management.

Yusen Logistics Vice President, Ron Marotta shares his thoughts about Dianne:

Dianne has been with our company for twenty years and in that time she worked with our origin cargo management team during a period of remarkable company growth, changes in our industry, and in our organization. Dianne was a key member of our team and she contributed greatly to the expansion of our business across the globe. She was so proud of her role and contribution to our rapid growth, and all who knew her loved her spirit and the way she always worked toward improving all that we did. With her strong and loyal dedication to our customers, our organization, and our coworkers, she has left a lasting impression with all that she has worked with, managed, and taught.

Dianne was a very detailed person who understood our business inside and out, showed an incredible enthusiasm for doing things right, and for quietly helping others. She always tried to live life to its fullest in all she did and with that special style she had, she became a friend to many. Her infectious laugh could always be heard across the office while she wrapped a call up with a customer who may have joked with her and she was never afraid to laugh even at herself from time to time. With the positive impression left with every customer that Dianne worked with, she gave her very best to represent us every day and she will be deeply missed. Those that had the good fortune to know Dianne and to work with her, we will have lasting and many warm memories to remember Dianne by.

We ask all to celebrate, remember and honor a remarkable woman's life and career by doing a little extra each day and not being afraid to reach out and quietly assist someone who needs a little help every chance you get.

Please keep Dianne's family in your thoughts and prayers as they will deeply miss her.

When was the last time you reached out to those people who have helped you in your career and simply said "Thank you"? Today might just be the best day to do that.

Ronald M. Marotta is the Vice President of Yusen Logistics (Americas) Inc., International Division, an NYK Group Company, responsible for the Origin Cargo Management Group and is based in Secaucus, NJ. Ron also serves as the NYK Group's Commercial Council Office Leader and works with all NYK Group Companies in their efforts to collaborate and provide integrated global logistics services to our mutual customers. Ron began his career at NYK almost twenty years ago as the General Manager of OCS of America, Inc. and helped to transform one of the original consolidators in Asia, into a modern consolidator and cargo logistics company. Over the past 19 years, Yusen Logistics has grown their international business over 1,100% and extended their service reach throughout the globe. Ron can be contacted at (201) 553-3803.

Mark Kopp is currently the Senior Manager for Import Compliance for Yusen Logistics (Americas) Inc. Mark has over 30 years experience in all aspects of supply chain management and compliance - from product development and buying, cargo management and shipping, customs brokerage, to warehousing, distribution and retail sales. He has managed/directed imports for Kinney Shoe Corporation, Woolworth Corporation, Russ Berrie & Co. and DHL. He has also served on the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America government customs council, been a member of the Board of Directors for the Toy Shippers Association, and been an instructor at The World Trade Institute in New York. Currently, he is a member of the NY/NJ Freight Forwarders & Brokers Association and serves on the American Apparel & Footwear Association Government Relations Committee. Mark graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA with a B.A. in Political Science.

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Tags:  Cross Training  Human Capital  Organizational Changes 

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