57. Why Hiring Veterans Is Good For Business | Derrick Murdock, IPS Packaging

Episode 57

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Why Hiring Veterans Is Good For Business

On this episode of the Driven by DCKAP podcast, Derrick Murdock, CEO at IPS Packaging joins our host, Karthik Chidambaram, to discuss their strategy in distribution, why it’s important to hire and support veterans, why veterans make amazing employees, how innovation in B2B marketing leads to even greater success, and more.

IPS Packaging & Automation is one of the leaders in industrial packaging, and they have been in business for over 45 years. IPS Packaging is also service-disabled veteran owned, and Derrick is uniquely suited to advocate on behalf of veterans with his background in the military. Alongside the innovative practices that they are executing in B2B marketing and the strategy they hold for the future, this conversation highlights some of the best practices in the industry.

Veterans Resource mentioned – Upstate Warrior Solutions


Karthik Chidambaram: Hello, everyone. Welcome to a brand new episode of
Driven by DCKAP podcast. I'm your host, Karthik Chidambaram, CEO of DCKAP.
We make systems talk to each other for distributors.

It's a real privilege to have this guest with us today, the CEO of IPS
Packaging, Derrick Murdock. I'm looking forward to our conversation today
with Derrick, IPS Packaging and Automation is one of the leaders in
industrial packaging with headquarters in South Carolina.

I've never been to South Carolina. I would love to go.

IPS packaging has been in business for over 45 years. And IPS packaging is
also a service disabled veteran owned company.

In this podcast, we are going to be talking about hiring veterans and B2B
marketing. Thanks so much, Derrick, for joining me on this podcast, and it's
a privilege to have you join us.

Derrick Murdock: All right. Thank you. Well, first, thank you for having me.
It's my honor to be here in front of your audience and talking to you and
your audience. So, I'm excited. I'm pumped, so thank you.

Karthik Chidambaram: Thank you, Derrick, for the excitement.

So, to get us started, can you tell us about IPS packaging? What do you do
and who are your customers?

Derrick Murdock: Yeah, absolutely. So our business was actually started in
1976 by my father. So I'm actually second generation. And what we focus on
is industrial packaging supplies. That's the material that a lot of
manufacturers and distribution companies use to move the product from point
A to point B.

A lot of our products are typically disposed of before the products get to
the end users, such as the shelves and stores. But a lot of it could be
just, you know, corrugated boxes to paper mailers, poly mailers stretch film
to shrink films specialty tapes, carton sealing tapes just a lot of
different applications because a lot of it varies per industry we sell to.

So what the food industry may use. It will differ from what 3PLs would use
versus what automotive manufacturers would use. So very diverse product wise
but the common thing is protecting the product from getting it to point A to
point B is our big focus.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah, getting the product from point A to point B,
protecting the product, industrial packaging solutions and how do you
differentiate yourself from the market?

Derrick Murdock: Well, our focus is on very high service levels. So high
service levels is such as, you know, providing just in time inventory for
our customers. So a lot of the products that we sell or the products our
customer use is very bulky, takes up a lot of space on their floor. And, you
know, so what we'll do is we'll stock that material.

And provided an adjust in time basis for them. Not only would provide like
product like say carton seal and a box, we also put carton seal and tape. We
also do this stretch film that help palletize it. So almost a one stop shop,
but we also take it a step further where we also have an engineering

We have over eight engineers on staff, packaging engineers by degree that
actually will work with the customer. And design the packaging from cradle
to grave for them, or we'll come in and completely redesign what they're
currently using, because over time, customers products change based off of
their needs, and you have to have changed that packaging with it, and
really, it's about increasing your throughput protecting the product and
doing it in the most efficient way you possibly can for our customers.

So we really focus on that value added services for our customers.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah, very interesting. There's a lot which goes into
packaging, but what you focus on is primarily industrial packaging. Correct?

Derrick Murdock: Yes.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah. You served in the military, and we thank you for
your service. For many, the transition back to civilian life can be
difficult. Did you have support after your service?

Derrick Murdock: In all honesty, I didn't have necessary- I had my family as
support. And that's critical. Having that support and everything, but
actually for me, going out to different services out there to help me with
that transition. I didn't have that necessarily. I would go ahead and tell
you, it's very challenging for, you know, service members in a lot of cases
to transition from the military to civilian.

And it's different. One thing is in the military, there's a culture
of, you know, like, hey, you gotta be tough. You gotta toughen it up. Suck
it up, get the job done. And so that kind of that mentality is it prevents
us to ask for help and there is, there is good nonprofits out there, good
organizations that help veterans, you know, assimilate into the civilian
world, but sometimes it takes us as an individual just to be willing to say,
hey, I need help or how to go about this.

So sometimes we could be our own worst enemies in that case but yeah, it's
important to have a good friend family network to help with that transition
because it could be challenging. It could be, it definitely could be,
especially coming back from a combat zone.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah. I'm really glad you had support from the family,
but what advice would you give? For people out there, right? So people in
the military who are looking to transition into a civilian life or getting
into work, what advice would you give?

Derrick Murdock: I think when they come back and they get to their hometown
or wherever they're going to be living at there is different veteran
organizations out there that will help them from preparing a resume.

to job skill training to also just making sure they're getting all the
benefits that they earned why they were on active duty. That's very key. I
actually did that, but I did it like 7-8 years later after I got out, I just
didn't know about the organizations out there and I happened to be talking
to another veteran and he told me about the services and of course I was a
little hesitant.

But he's like, no, no, trust me, these people, they really care. They're
passionate. They're going to make sure you'd be able to navigate the VA is
that that's a very big organization and a lot of paperwork administrative,
but these entities out there, these nonprofits really help the veterans, you
know, fill out the paperwork correctly, help them get all their records and
really help them navigate.

That monster of paperwork, administrative stuff that's got to be done. So I
definitely recommend, encourage veterans when you get out to your local
market, where you're going to be find out these nonprofits, NGO
organizations that help veterans assimilate back into the civilian world,
because there's a lot of good ones out there that do a lot of good help,
help a lot of veterans, not only the veterans they help, but they also help
the surviving members.

If there's a veteran that passed away. They're surviving spouses and kids
make sure they get the benefits from the government that they deserve. So
there's a lot of good ones out there.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah, as you nicely said, ask for help. So that's
really well put.

You talked about a lot of non profit organizations helping veterans out
there. I'm just curious to know, you know, what are some of the
organizations you are involved with, which are helping veterans? Can you
just share some resources?

Derrick Murdock: Yeah, absolutely. So there's one that I personally dealt
with for me as an individual.

It's here in South Carolina, Upstate Warrior Solutions, and a great
organization because what they do, they really focus on the needs of the
veteran. And they hit several different cycles of that Veteran's life. The
very first one is the Veteran coming out of the military, is that transition
to the civilian world.

And they will help that Veteran from, you know, doing their job, you know,
getting their resume done, finding what their skills are, because a lot of
us, you know, we had, like I was infantry in the military, so I can't put on
the job description, my job, my skill sets are killing the enemy. I can't, I
can't put that in there, you know, because I was infantry, but they help
those veterans, you know, take what their specialty was and put it into a
resume that the business world can understand and appreciate.

So that's a huge value added right there. The other thing they do, they,
they help veterans navigate the VA and fill out all that paperwork, because
that can be very overwhelming and very demoralizing that, you know, the
military, unfortunately, in some of these government agencies, if you don't
dot that I across that T they kick the application out.

Or starts to process all over again. So this organization, they know how to
fill out the forms. They help the veterans to make sure they navigate what
benefits they get. They also have programs to help with substance abuse,
either drug or alcohol. They also have depression programs. So they got a
lot of avenues there and they take it a step further where they help
surviving spouses or kids of veterans that passed away to make sure they get
their benefits.

So it's really a 360 program. This organization is incredible with what they
do. But there's other ones out there and a lot of veterans I recommend, you
know, when they get to their area, they don't live in, they could go online
and search. and find these organizations out there. There's a lot of great
ones that got great people here to help them.

So it's very important. I used it myself. When I had to look at, I had to
get a surgery done and everything. I had a surgery in the military and I had
to get it again and they helped me navigate that and really beneficial. So I
could speak firsthand about that. And so it's very important.

And I know a lot of veterans that use these organizations, very impactful.
So I highly recommend it. They talk to these organizations in their local
communities that are there. They just need to, you know, pick up the phone
and call them or search online.

Karthik Chidambaram: Tell us about your journey, Derrick. When did you
decide that you wanted to choose this career path? And what made you choose
this career path you're on right now?

Derrick Murdock: So so in all honesty, it goes back even when I was a young
kid. So I'm actually second generation. So, you know, my dad started the
business, so I was always involved in the business one way or another. I
remember as a kid in elementary school, me and my younger brother, we go in
with my mom at night and we cleaned the restrooms.

We were a very small company at that time and really couldn't afford, you
know, janitorial services. So me and my mom and my brother, we'd go in and
clean the bathrooms. And then when I got into junior high, I was washing the
trucks on the weekends. And then high school, I was working in the
warehouse, receiving orders, shipping orders.

So throughout my life, I was always involved in it, but I'd be in all
honesty, I had no intent to be in the business or even get involved. My path
was going into the military. So I went to Citadel, the military college of
South Carolina, and I ended up joining the army. And so I was in the army
loving it and enjoying it.

I did five years active duty on overseas tours and came home on leave one
time and my Dad's like, ‘Hey, you ever thought about joining the business?’
And of course, I'm like, nah, nah, I have no intent. I enjoy, love, you
know, enjoying what I do. I love serving my country. Enjoy all my fellow
soldiers. But my Dad, being a good salesman, was persistent with me and came
home on leave again.

And he said, look, seriously, take a look at this. You know, business is a
lot like the military. You got to have a strategy. You got to have a good
team behind you. You’ve got to anticipate what's going on, and so it really
struck a chord with me. And so I thought about it and, you know, it wasn't
an easy decision.

And so I got out of the military and joined the business. And been with it
since 2001. It's been, it's been incredible. I did get called up in 04 to 05
and served in Afghanistan. But it's been an amazing journey, being in the
business, and I started customer service and went from there.

I became an outside sales rep. And then from there became sales management,
went into operations, about cut my teeth and probably every department in
the company. You know not an expert at any, but enough just to understand
the overall business. And we're very blessed to have great employees, you
know, and that makes a world of difference.

But ironically, I had no intent joining the business, but now I'm glad I
did. And I love it. Very rewarding.

Karthik Chidambaram: I think you're being very modest. Your journey is very
inspiring. It's not like you just come out and then you sit at the top. You
cleaned restrooms and you did anything and everything that came your way.
Really, really inspiring.

So how did that early years influence? You right now, right? So I mean,
cleaning restrooms, that teaches you a lot. And in spite of your Dad running
the company, you know, you did all kinds of jobs. How did that help you? I'm
just curious, you know, because I mean, there are a lot of kids out there
and they might be watching this as well.

Sometimes they don't want to do these little tasks. What do you think? I
mean, I'm curious to hear about your thoughts on this.

Derrick Murdock: Well, I think as a leader you know, you’ve got to lead by
example. And I think everybody sees that in the organization that, you know,
I cleaned the bathrooms. And so for me to ask somebody like, hey, the
bathrooms are messed up. We got visitors coming. We need to get this clean.
Let's all jump in here. They see that I've done that.

And I think it's important for young people to start now. They gotta
understand, you gotta work your way up in the organization. It makes you a
more well-rounded employee understanding all the different departments, how
they all work together.

I mean, you just learned, so much experience, and you look at the top
performers in a lot of cases, it's hard work. and tenure because over time,
you just understand business. You become what's called street smart. You
know, you know, what's going on. You know, understand that you could read

You can anticipate things because you, you worked at it for a while and you
gotta be willing to roll up your sleeves. I mean, you gotta be out there in
the warehouse sometimes, you know, it's a team effort and leadership can't
be in the. I think it's very important that people start at the ground level
and work their way up.

You know, they need to be out there supporting their employees. You know,
how can we make your job easier, more productive, more safe? And there's
times where, you know, everybody's got to chip in and get the job done. I
look at it as we're all on the same ship and we need to ship to keep going
forward. And we all need to work together for a common goal.

But I think it's very important that people start at the ground level and
work their way up. And you see a lot of CEOs out there have been very
successful doing that. They understand the business and is really a champion
for the employee because they've been in the trenches with the employee. So
they're able to, you know, really articulate that company vision and
strategy to the employee in, in their terms, because they worked in that
department and they are able to say, this is why your job is so important
for the overall organization.

And so they understand the impact that that employee makes day in and day
out to the organization. So It's I I recommend it to everybody, you know,
you got to start with the basics and build upon

Karthik Chidambaram: I love this Derrick, you know, it looks like a
leadership master class to me and Do things by hand and that's what Ryan
Chesky talks about the co-founder of airbnb.

And like you said no job is too small and you get down and dirty and you
also learn things by doing some manual work, you know, it helps along the
way, really well said, and lead by example. That's something I really
learned from this. Let's switch back to veterans a little bit. So with the
struggle of many veterans ongoing the homeless epidemic, And the lack of

Success is often a challenge, but then there are many who are doing more to
help your company was named the 2023 Veteran Business of the Year by
National Veteran Business Development Council, NVBDC. Can you share a little
bit about your efforts in supporting and hiring veterans?

Derrick Murdock: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, obviously we're a service
disabled veteran owned business.

And obviously I'm a, you know, a veteran and served. And so it's very, it's
very dear and near to me and, but also for all our employees and their
families. You know, even if the employee wasn't a veteran herself, they have
a family member, you know, that served at one time or another. And, and so
it's very important.

And over, roughly, probably about 12-13 percent of our workforce is
veterans. And I tell you, veterans make great employees. They're dedicated.
They've proven that by their service to their country, by selfless service.
They're dedicated. They know how to work in the team. They know what hard
work is because, you know, being in the military and extremely tough, they
worked in some of the harshest climates or situations out there, and, you
know, they responded superbly.

They make great employees. So we, we have made a a push to, you know, look
for veterans and hire them and put ourselves out there on the veteran hiring
platforms and everything and been successful hiring some good qualified
veterans, brought them in the organization and, and, you know, they're able
to make contributions immediately to us as an organization.

You know, National Veteran Business Development Council, NVBDC. Is a great
organization that encourages veteran owned businesses, helps them navigate,
you know, the business world. And then also they encourage, you know, hiring
veterans and it's a win win for everybody out there. And they try to bridge
that platform where the veteran is coming out of the service.

You know, sometimes, they're running hardcore on all the way till that last
day to get out of service. And I'll say, they wake up the next day. He's
like, Oh my God, what I don't do now. You know, they just dedicated 8 to 12,
20 years to the military. All of a sudden, they walk outside that gate and
like, what am I going to do now?

And so these organizations really help bridge that gap and really, you know,
connect those individuals to companies like us or we're like, Hey, we have
needs here. And these organizations were like, hey, based off their MOS,
their specialty in the military, it matches this open position you have. And
it helps bridge that gap between the veteran coming out and companies like
us looking to hire veterans.

And I'd be honest, I mean, we're here because our veterans, you know,
they're the ones on the front line, defending our country, creating these
opportunities for us to be- We're able to go to bed in peace and wake up and
not worried about going to work and being bombed or you name it. And they
made the sacrifices.

So the onus is on us as business leaders to get back to these individuals,
given the opportunities to adjust to the civilian world and be successful.
So it's absolutely critical and it's important to us.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah. You talked about ‘win-win’, can you also
elaborate on that? Because I think that might really help the order that
might help other business leaders who are looking to hire veterans.

Derrick Murdock: Yeah. So when they, so people being in the military, some
of the factors they have, characteristics, is already they understand
working in a team environment. They're very good at following instructions.
And their mission focus, you know, accomplished a job. So you already have
people coming in with the right attitude.

And, you know, that's half the battle is getting people with the right
attitude. We'll train on the job what to do. But if they had the right
attitude, I mean, that just, it just ramps up that time of them producing
and being productive to the company. I mean, it just immediately speeds up
that whole process.

So you got basically what the military does is qualifying people already
that have a hard work ethic, the right attitude, works great in a team
environment. So they already come to you, to that company already motivated
to, to jump in and make a difference. Now the onus is on us to train them
and everything, but you got people that already got the right attitude
because everybody knows hiring people today, you got to make sure you got a
culture fit. You got people that have the right attitude and that makes a
world of difference.

Karthik Chidambaram: And you talked about 12 percent of your workforce being
veterans and it's very inspiring. So that is a focused effort, I would
think. And I think a lot of companies would need to take that approach as

I was at a Salesforce conference. I was just listening to different
speakers, and Mark Benioff, and everybody speak. And one thing which was
very visible when speakers were speaking at the conference was there was a
lot of diversity, you know, people from different ethnic origins, people,
veterans and everything. Right? That's one thing I really love about

So they really have a focused effort on that. Right? So they really want
that diversity in the podium. People who come to speak and it's just not
people of a certain race or a certain ethnicity. They have great diversity.
And that's something I really love about Salesforce. And that's something I
think you guys are doing as well, where hey, it's focused effort. It's not
that it just happens by accident. So, you have a focused effort.

Derrick Murdock: Absolutely. And that makes a difference, you know, you say,
hey, this is where we want to make an impact. And then doing it, you know
and we have a great HR department that is able to do that and really help us
accomplish some of our goals as an organization by just being focused on it.

Instead of a shotgun approach, you know, we go with more of a rifle
approach. And that makes a big difference where we're able to make headway.
So that's key.

Karthik Chidambaram: Let's switch gears a little bit from veterans hiring to
B2B marketing. Traditionally, if you look at it, B2B marketing lags a little
bit behind. I know it's considered not so innovative compared to B2C, but
you guys are ahead of the game.

You guys tried different things and a lot of it works and you guys are
definitely ahead of the game when it comes to B2B marketing. Can you tell us
about your thought process and your strategy with respect to marketing for
B2B? How do you market to your customers?

Derrick Murdock: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So we do a lot of digital

First off, we got an incredible marketing department that that team is
incredible. And I mean, they do such a great job, led by leader Kevin and
just do an amazing job. It amazes me every day. With the content and
everything he creates. So what he has, what he does is we really leverage,
you know, video.

And a lot of people do it too. But we take it more instead of trying to do a
commercial and try to sell you something. We take it more as approach to
tell a story, to kind of pull back the curtain and let you see who we really
are, you know, and we, you know, we try to make fun of ourselves, you know,
tongue in cheek and just have fun with it and just So people see that we're
just like everybody else.

We put on our pants. Just like everybody else out there and we're hoping
we're trying to connect that way with people that they see we're just like
them, you know, we're a great company. We've got great employees and by the
way, you know We love to have opportunity to talk to you about your
packaging needs, but that's not what we're leading with We're just leading
with this is who we are as an organization and we're trying to build that
relationship And connectivity versus a lot of companies are trying to do a
you know a pitch You know, straight up pitch.

So we kind of twisted it and go with a different approach. And the big one
we use is LinkedIn. And we, you know, do a lot of the video one and the team
does a great job with it. And we do have a plan. There is a. Just not like
to do one thing. There is actually a business plan. The department put in
for the whole year, you know, and sometimes we cut it down to like, hey,
what is the real plan of what we're trying to do this quarter and we tie it
into certain calendar events throughout the year.

So, there's a lot of good collaboration there, and we pull in real employees
in these videos and just give you, you know, we don't hide anything just.
Just who we are. And I, and I think that makes a big difference. And I think
people appreciate that versus some of the stuff that's out there.

Karthik Chidambaram: Very interesting.

Very interesting. So talk about, talk to us about video a little bit, right?
Because when it comes to video sometimes, you know, there's a little bit of
hesitancy, hey, how am I going to look? And it's also a lot of effort,
right? So compared to, let's say, writing content and all that, you know, it
takes a lot of effort.

So how do you guys manage that, right? I mean, in terms of, hey, you know,
sometimes, you know, people are a little camera shy. How am I going to look
and all that, right? So how do you guys deal with all that?

Derrick Murdock: Yeah. Well, first off, I'll go ahead and tell you, I'm
probably the most guilty person of that. So, coming out of my military
background, I'm very rigid in some ways, unfortunately, and I'm my own worst

So I was very conscious about the media and everything. And, but I realized,
you know, talking to the marketing department here and everything. And, you
know, being the leader of the organization, I got to lead by example. And so
I gotta put myself out there. And, but it's okay to make a mistake. It's
okay to let people see who you really are.

You can't, you can't get off, get caught away where I gotta be, you know, I
gotta look a certain way or do this or that. And so when we start taking
that philosophy or mentality, as a leadership team, it really transcended
throughout the organization where everybody says, hey, you know what? I
could do this too.

It's, it's nothing, nothing rocket science or anything like that. Just
putting our stuff, our foot out there and just taking that step. And so the,
so the department has done a really good job of making people feel
comfortable doing the videos, having fun with it. There is some rehearsals,
you know, and some dry runs and stuff like that.

And sometimes we leave in the bloopers, you know to have fun with it. It's
just about enjoying ourselves and letting people see that. So it's pretty
neat. And in through that, you know, obviously we try to carry the company,
company message and stuff like that, but it's just having fun, you know,
life short and, and this is a way to tell our story and, and have fun about

You know, we come in and work hard every day and we want people to see what
we do. And so this is how we China chose to convey that to the marketplace.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah, it's okay to be vulnerable and do not expect
perfection. So that's one thing I've learned because I've been doing some
videos as well. And initially it's hard.

Hey, just get out there and do it. But then, like you said, you know, you
have to lead by example and it's okay if it's not perfect and you'll get
better at it over a period of time. And it's also very critical because
people like shorter form content or, Hey, you know, some people don't want
to read and they just want to listen or watch something or they're just
driving and they just want to get some information.

Yeah, it really helps. And yeah, I don't expect perfection. But one thing,
you know, I just have to tell you is editing makes it look really, really
good. So even if we do a bad job at the video, the editors do a great job
and they make us look good. So, I mean, definitely thanks to all the editors
out there.

Derrick Murdock: Absolutely.

Karthik Chidambaram: So, Derrick, what are you excited about for the next
five years? You know, what, what is exciting for you?

Derrick Murdock: Well, you know, I'm excited for us is, you know, as an
organization, we continuously, you know, focused on growth and really
building out a national presence across the country. I tell you, I'm excited
because we've got a great team.

We've got great products really invested heavily into our process and
procedures. And really focusing on that and really feel like we got some
Good wind behind our backs and we got some really good things going. We're
excited about it. Employees are passionate about it. We put out a BHAG, you
know, big hairy audacious goal.

We communicate that consistently to our employees So, you know why we're
here. What are we doing? And we communicate that out. We got a really, we
got a lot of good things with that and we're excited about it. It's really
about, you know, taking care of customers and by taking care of customers,
we take care of our employees because we create sustainable jobs.

And when we create sustainable jobs, our employees are able to, you know,
accomplish whatever American dream they may have that may be getting their
very first house that may be putting their kids through college. We're
creating sustainable jobs by growing and that's why we try to convey day in
and day out to our boys.

Why? While we're focusing on growing is creating these sustainable jobs,
professional development for our employees, because we always look
internally first to promote versus going outside, you know, to give our boys
opportunity to step up and say, Hey, do I want more responsibility? So
that's from us.

Business wise, you know where we're looking at external factors that does
keep me up at night, you know obviously is the inflation that all businesses
are dealing with right now in this, in this country and how much is that
going to keep going. You know, just the cost of doing business. Another, and
that is the baby boomer generation retiring.

And then we got that new generation coming in. And so we're losing a lot of
tenure and experience as a country and as the industry as a whole. So how we
leaders take that new generation, coming in, training them up, passing that
knowledge to the younger generation. Those are going to be some of the
challenges that are coming down the pipeline, just not for us as an
organization, but I think our industry and the country as a whole.

Those are some things that are keeping us up at night.

Karthik Chidambaram: Very interesting. And so what's been one of your most
challenging times in your career or, you know, which is that a career
defining moment for you?

Derrick Murdock: I think defining you know, I went through three economic
events in my career. I went through the dot com bust.

I remember that one. Then I went through the Great Recession 2008- 2009. And
then I think the COVID one was the one that really probably shaped me. And I
learned a lot. And I think one of those things was communication, constant
and consistent communication to the employees, to the customers.

Because when you don't communicate, people make assumptions. They feel that
void and usually typically they fill it with the wrong information. And so
what I learned is, you know, during that COVID and the lockdowns, we had to
really consistently communicate to our employees what we're doing, what's
going on, communicate with our supplier base, with our customer base.

And it really made us a better company coming out of it. And we really
learned to like, Hey, you know, communicate, we can't assume we have to take
a more proactive approach, communicating, reinforcing that communication,
following up with employees, departments to make sure they know what they're
doing and asking like, Hey, do you understand?

Is there anything you need? How can we support you to accomplish your
department's goal? I think that was real defining for me as a leader, you
know, because I think I took for granted by making some assumptions. And
really learned real fast. Hey, communication, communication, and you got to
be out there in the forefront.

You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and really get in front of the
employees and departments and consistently talk and let them see and
reassure them, reaffirm them, like, Hey, this is where we're going as a
company, you know as we climb this mountain, there's peaks and valleys as
you climb to get up that mountain.

And you just gotta let people understand that, that cycle and, and, and keep
moving forward. But that was pretty critical for me as I learned, you know,
I always tell people, I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what
not to do. Cause I made every mistake in the book and the key is just
learning from your mistakes.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah. Communicate, learn from your mistakes, get out of
your comfort zone. Yeah. Great lessons.

Derrick, on this podcast, we interview a lot of leaders and we ask the
leader this question- what question would they like to ask the next leader
we interview? And we recently interviewed Anne Vranicic.. And the question
she wanted to ask- ‘One of the biggest shifts that I'm seeing is going from
an individual seller to more of a team sales approach. How are you
positioning sales, marketing, customer service teams to work together? How
are you positioning your sales, marketing, customer service teams to work
together to grow sales efforts? How are you building a team to be able to
interface with customers to get scale and growth?’

Derrick Murdock: Okay, first off, she’s spot on. We're seeing that trend in
our industry and we're actually doing ourselves internally going more of a
team approach.

Because of the product specifications. Technology is rapidly advancing. So
we look at the sales rep to, you know, develop that relationship with the
customer initiate the process and then bring in the product teams behind
them to To really, you know, go team sell approach and some of the things
that we're doing when technology, you know, we're leveraging technology So
if we're doing a a business review with our customer, we may have a couple
people on site but then we have people video conferencing in where it could
be the customer service rep it could be the Our transportation manager, it
could be our automation specialist, you know, so we, we really do focus on
that team approach.

It's important to us because we want the customer to see that, hey, we're
here for you. And when you have your challenges, it's just not one person.
You got a team here to take care of you. So I think that trend Is is going
to be more prevalent, in distribution as a whole, but I think going that
team approach And it helps ramp up, you know, some of those new employees
too where they're new into the industry They don't know all the answers and
they and we work as a team.

So it helps me ramp up some of those new people but we highly encourage it
where I mean, we always say, Hey, four eyes is better than two eyes. You
know, I'm wearing eyeglasses, but, you know, go with that team approach.
It's okay not to be the expert, but bring in the experts with you. And a lot
of those are internal people, but we also leverage our supplier base.

We got good suppliers and we make an effort and actually put in internal
KPIs where we try to make so many joint calls together with our customers.
So we're taking a proactive approach on that. And the previous CEO’s spot on
that's, that's definitely a trend. We're seeing it, we're encouraging it,
and we're really trying to promote that in organization.

A lot of benefits for our customers. They see it. They see there's a team of
people there to take care of them, you know I think that's important,
extremely important. So,

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah, well said, you know, customers are not just
buying your product or service. They're actually buying your team. I mean,

So people really want to work with people they like, and you have great
people on your team. And if you sell together, I've also found this a lot
because. Anytime you know you go as a team and you sell as a team, you're
able to sell better and you're able to sell more as opposed to, hey, I'm
just depending on one person or this one product or one service.

Yeah, really well said. And people need to really rise up to that. And yeah,
training also plays a very important role in that, like you rightly said.

So, Derrick, now it's your turn. What question would you like to ask the
next leader we interview?

Derrick Murdock: All right. So, what I’d like to see is they talk about-
what are they doing? With, you know, we’ve got to get- the baby boomers are
retiring this decade. So we're losing a lot of that tenure. How are they
doing, recruiting and retaining that new generation coming in? And
especially today where the younger generation doesn't stay long at jobs, you
know, they think it's okay to jump every two to three years.

You know, how are they addressing that? How are they trying to increase that
tenure of those employees? Because, I mean, it takes time for people to get
up, ramped up, and really start being productive. You know, what are they
doing to shorten that gap? And what are they doing to retain those
employees? I'd be really curious.

Because I see that something that everybody's dealing with and we kind of
got to, I know as an organization, we, and the industry as a whole, we’ve
got to think differently. What we did 20 years ago doesn't work today. So,
I'd be curious to see what the next CEO is doing and what they're thinking

Karthik Chidambaram: So how are you retaining talent and how do you make
sure they stay motivated? So that's a great question. Yeah. We’ll make sure
we ask that.

By just listening to you for the last 30-40 minutes, I can tell you read a
lot. So my last question for you is what book are you reading right now?

Derrick Murdock: So, in all transparency I, probably, I read more articles
out of business magazines.

So I, because they're short, to the point, they only maybe, you know, a 20
minute read. So I do a lot of that. Different trade magazines and, and
different like supply chain, logistics, packaging, general leadership. I
migrate to those articles because I could go in and get good content.

And then I'm out because I'm trying to balance work, life, family. I’ve got
young kids and, and it's hard for me to, you know, to take a book at night
and read, because my kids are in sports activities. I’ve got one in school
athletics, another one in dance, you know, so I'm running 180 and so I found
that's what typically I do.

And then if I do read a book, which I don't read as, probably as much as I
should, usually some military book or something, so.

Karthik Chidambaram: Very interesting. And so what are the articles you
read? Do you just put it into practice? So let's say you read an article,
you know, just takes you about 20 minutes and you learn something from it.
So what do you do next?

Derrick Murdock: Okay. So, I read a good article. I share it with the
leadership team, or I'll share it with that particular department and ask
him to read it. I don't tell him what, necessarily, I see in it. And then I
ask him, hey, read this article. Tell me what you could pick a way that can
help improve our operation or help improve us as a company.

And because I'm trying to build a culture where they read it. And then they
kind of start seeing the same thing I see in where, you know, it talks about
best practices or. You know, if we could get one nugget out of that article
that makes us better, we want that. And so I'll take those articles and
share it with the teams and ask them to read it.

And, and then I asked them, say, hey, let's talk about it as a group. Did
you see something in there that can make us a better customer service
department? Or is there, is there some process in there that can make our HR
process better? So, that's what I do. I actually shared one last week. It
was a survey of automation in distribution, 3PL industry.

And I shared it with the department and asked them to read through it. Tell
me what trends you see in what, what important takeaways. So, that's what I
do. I read these articles, I see stuff, and then I share it with the team
and say, okay, are these things that we can implement? We may say, yeah,
let's definitely do this.

This one, we could table later, you know, and we kind of prioritize it. So
we actually, We actually execute on a lot of them, and we get some, I mean
there's one right now, we, we read a couple, a couple months ago, we're
going to re look at some of our racking in our DCs where people were at the
end of racks, they were storing their pallets.

In some type of racking device at the end of the pallets. I mean, at the end
of the racks, where you can store your pallets and make sure facilities look
cleaner. And we caught that from the article, you know, so I mean, little
things like that to technology things, softwares. I mean, we, That's how we
use it. I mean, some really good ones.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah, it's very interesting, right? So it's not just
about what you read, but how do you really put it into use or how do you
execute? Yes. So, Derrick, I really enjoyed this conversation. One thing I
really loved about this whole session. Just talked about, hey, it's the
team, right?

So it's the HR team, the marketing team, and you have great people. And, you
know, it's not just about, you know, you just learn, you share what you
learn with your team as well. I found that to be really, really inspiring. I
also love your leadership style in terms of, you know, you're talking about,
Hey, you know, it's just a win win.

You know, hiring veterans and yeah, it's very, very inspiring, Derrick, just
want to say thank you for this conversation. Really great chatting with you
and thanks for joining us.

Derrick Murdock: No, it's my honor to be on here to be in front of your
audience. I just want to say thank you. I really appreciate that.

And, you know, God bless you and your business and the good Lord has blessed
us and our- we got great employees, we've got great customers and great
suppliers, and it's my honor to be here and be even talking. So thank you. I
really appreciate it.

Karthik Chidambaram: Thank you, Derrick, and thanks to everyone for joining
Driven by DCKAP podcast.

Until we see you next time, signing off.

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Episode 57