Scott Freeman recently joined Kanban Logistics as Chief Operation Officer (COO). Scott comes to Kanban after three decades in operations with MBM (now McLane Company), a major food industry supply chain company that handles distribution of food-related products to chain restaurants. Most recently, Scott was VP of Operations there, focusing on logistics, customer service, quality assurance and oversight of 35 distribution centers throughout the U.S. We recently caught up with Scott to get his take on Kanban and his new role.
What drew you to Kanban Logistics?
Being based in Rocky Mount, NC, I knew Kanban somewhat, but I was honestly surprised to learn the breadth of services they offer. It’s not just warehousing, and it’s not just cross docking or any other single service. We really handle every aspect of logistics here. So, I was intrigued by the potential of the company. I also saw pretty quickly that Kanban truly cares about its customers and would do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer’s needs. That’s consistent with my approach, and I knew it was the type of team I could see myself being a part of.
What do you see as some key areas of focus going forward?
Kanban is ISO-certified (ISO 9001:2008) and has always focused on quality assurance. That will be a continued area of focus. For logistics companies, it has to start with operational excellence.
Of course, these days you can’t ignore the explosion of eCommerce sales and the related requirements for direct fulfillment to consumers. Kanban is doing fulfillment work today and this is another area for potential growth.
With my experience in food distribution, I can see expanding Kanban’s already strong portfolio of food industry clients. I mean, we have a great balance now and our clients are in diverse industries, and we’re definitely going to keep it that way. But we have three food-grade warehouses now and we hope to grow our food-grade footprint in the future. That would make sense given the strong concentration of food manufacturers in Eastern North Carolina.
Speaking of Eastern North Carolina, do you see the continued expansion of the region as a distribution hub?
Kanban’s in a great location, right in the middle of the eastern seaboard and minutes from I-95. That means that we’re within a day’s reach, over the road, of 70% of the U.S. population. So we offer a strategic location for distribution, while our real estate and labor costs are below many competing markets.
It’s also an exciting time to be in this area because of the CSX Carolina Connector Intermodal Rail Terminal being constructed in Rocky Mount. The new facility will bring hundreds of jobs to the region, not to mention a huge volume of rail freight.
Do you see Kanban handling some of the new freight that will come into the region thanks to the new intermodal terminal?
I would certainly hope so. We already have six warehouses in the region, which include rail-sided facilities, and we have clients that currently bring in materials via rail, so we have the experience unloading rail cars. For companies that will be using the new CSX intermodal hub and need logistics support, we offer boots on the ground and an immediate capability.