Implementing Innovation In Site Operations
Candid Conversations with Todd White, Director of Site Operations
Recently, I sat down with our Director of Site Operations, Todd White. He shared more about his role and his most recent project, the In-Site Report, with me. Todd started with HTI in 2010. During his tenure here he has risen through the ranks of operations and logistics to our Director of Site Operations.
Life in 5 words or less
Blessed, busy, husband, father, fun.
What part of your job are you most passionate about?
Setting up my people for success.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs. Cats? Ew.
Least favorite food?
If you could invite 3 people dead, alive, or not yet born to dinner who and why?
My grandfathers, I’m counting them as 1 person, George Washington, and my daughter’s future husband. My grandfathers because I was very close with them when I was younger and they both died when I was young. I’d like to see what they think of the man I’ve become. George Washington because of my History side, and I want to know what it was like to lead in those times and how he did so successfully. And I’ll let your imagination run with why I might want to have dinner with my daughter’s future husband.
What do you feel is most blog worthy about your job?
Well I’m not a blog expert by any means, but I think for me what’s most interesting is how I’m challenged in my role to think innovatively and creatively. My brain is more inclined to think analytically and tactically so how I keep myself engaged in that creative problem solving, and how we’re challenged to do that as an organization is interesting.
Tell us how the In-Site Report came about and how you felt being charged with that responsibility?
It was very challenging, especially because it wasn’t exactly our initiative. The customer came to us explaining their frustrations and the issues they were experiencing, and it was our job to find a solution. Herb (CEO of HTI) is the one who came up with the idea of creating a “metrics” dashboard that could give you a look directly into operations in as close to real time as possible. His vision was to fix the short-term issues we were experiencing, AND create a long-term solution that would allow us to manage our workforce more efficiently and in turn allow the customer to manage their production more efficiently.
So initially, it felt like we were essentially over promising when we didn’t know exactly how we were going to create or implement this tool. After getting our marching orders, I had to sit down with John Knight and work through the value stream to figure out what deliverables we were missing, and which were essential. Then from there it shifted to me working with Stacy to design the program and roll out the execution to our staff at these sites.
Why should other companies consider that important to do?
It’s a much more proactive way to manage than most people in logistics/operations are used to. It’s incredible that top, global manufacturers are coming to us to ask how to implement this accountability. I think it’s very easy in operations to fall into firefighting mode which is very reactive. The default mindset of operations is focused on putting out the next big fire instead of strategically and proactively looking ahead to how the fires can be prevented. A tool like the In-Site Report creates a level of transparency and accountability that’s essential to pushing toward innovation and growth. Any way an organization can create operational improvements so there is space for employees to think about how they can more effectively do their job is very important.
Biggest achievement since being with HTI?
That’s really tough for me to answer. I don’t think I can say an achievement has been solely mine. I’ll answer it in a way I’m comfortable answering. A great achievement for me would be if you were to ask every coworker, subordinate, supervisor, peer, etc. that I’ve come into contact with they could say I’ve treated them all the same. That I was able to maintain consistent values. I’d like to think that’s true so that would be my biggest achievement.
What changes have you seen in the organization during your time here?
Over the past 10 years we’ve experienced a lot of explosive growth, and I think it speaks volumes that we’ve stayed true to who we are. We are maintaining our company values while we continue to grow, and not every organization can say that. Especially in times of growth.