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We are working with GENCO in its search for an SVP, Operations – Retail Business Unit based in Pittsburgh, PA This is one of the coolest logistics jobs around!.

GENCO is North America’s second largest and a Global Top 50 third party logistics (3PL) company with over 120 operations and 10,000 teammates. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, the firm provides a wide range of service offerings to more than 250 customers, including many Fortune 500 manufacturers, retailers and U.S. government agencies.

In this 2012 video, Herb Shear, GENCO CEO, discusses value drivers in the supply chain industry with Jean Murphy of Supply Chain Brain. Herb discusses Product Lifecycle Logistics, sustainability and how GENCO delivers value to customers. GENCO takes costs out of the supply chain by focusing on ways to reduce waste and add value.

GENCO seeks an SVP, Operations for its Retail business located in Pittsburgh and reporting to the Business Unit President. This is an outstanding opportunity for a forward-thinking leader to be a key player in GENCO’s growth strategy by driving operational excellence with its existing service offerings and partnering with other departments and customers to develop new product solutions that will differentiate GENCO as a lifecycle logistics provider in the retail market. This position supervises 3-6 direct reports and is responsible for 10+ facilities in the USA and Canada. Travel is typically 50%.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: When potential clients come to me with a new search, one of the first questions I ask myself is “Can this search be closed on the back of a single story?” In other words, is there a natural hook in the job’s selling story? Because if it’s not obvious to me, it won’t be obvious to candidates.

Now then, there are a million possible recruiting sales hooks, but one of my all-time favorites involves giving a humble, business-oriented, “Level 5,” cost center workhorse an opportunity to transform himself into a marquee revenue generator. Generally speaking, the thrill of making the trains run on time in a retail organization, day in / day out, pails in comparison to the ego satisfaction one gets from mixing it up with clients and closing deals.

Lookit: I’ve held several logistics jobs (including a two year stint in sales), and if I’m truly being honest here, EVERY supply chain guy secretly longs to have as much fun as the “deal guys,” and quietly they wish it was THEM going out on those client calls. “That should be ME,” they think. Yet they rarely, if ever, get their chance to step in front of the footlights and SHINE!

And that’s what this selling story is about.

Background: Last summer I placed a very talented CEO with the GENCO Marketplace, a wholly owned subsidiary of GENCO, a recognized leader in product lifecycle and reverse logistics solutions designed to maximize value and reduce costs for its clients. These are really sharp people, and GENCO is a top-flight company.

GENCO operates 140 value-added warehouse locations comprising 35 million square feet and manages $1.5 billion in freight annually throughout North America. The firm’s diverse range of customers includes many Fortune 500 companies in the technology, consumer and industrial, retail and healthcare markets and the federal government.

GENCO’s complete range of product lifecycle services include inbound logistics; warehousing and distribution; fulfillment; contract packaging; transportation management; systems integration; returns processing and disposition; test, repair, refurbishment; product liquidation; and recycling.

Let me tell you why this business is SEXY.

If you’re like most of my readers, you work in the Internet Retailer Top 500. Perhaps you are a logistics professional with one of these firms, and a friend sent you this posting. Maybe this is your first exposure to my stuff. Great! Welcome. Now, let me take this opportunity to tell you what is keeping your executives awake at night …

Amazon. (As if you didn’t know.)

But here’s the thing: I have been an ecommerce recruiter for 10 years, and I’ve spent more than 10,000 hours on the phone with executives from the North American ecommerce community. In most companies, logistics is a cost center that serves to simply deliver on the promises that marketing makes to customers. Yet Amazon has turned logistics into a branded marketing weapon with Amazon Prime – a “gateway drug” which it uses to seduce customers into trying Amazon’s new goods and services. It’s diabolical! It’s one thing to innovate on the back end of one’s business. It’s another thing entirely to innovate so well that customers would actually for the innovation as a separate service. But that’s what they’ve done.

So, here’s what this job is about:

As GENCO’s new SVP of Operations for its Retail Business Unit, you will be leading a very large existing logistics service business within GENCO. When I say “very large,” I mean you will have 400 indirect reports and 3 direct reports servicing GENCO’s accounts like Sears, Wegmans, Warby Parker, RedBox, and Ulta. You will be responsible for leading this unit and making sure that your team hits the targeted KPI’s for each account. Those KPI’s might include order fill rates; order turnaround; inventory accuracy; order accuracy; and more. It’s a massive responsibility, but if you are our target candidate for this role, this pretty much sums up your current job.

Here’s where it gets really cool.

All of these accounts are looking for ways to use logistics as a competitive advantage, and not necessarily just in the garden variety “better, faster, cheaper” sense of the term. No, using logistics as a competitive advantage will require a deep understanding of not only WHERE these accounts compete, but against WHOM these accounts compete (both now and in the future), and HOW these accounts compete (again, now and in the future).

Naturally, we are looking for someone who has enough strategic agility to look at a complete value chain for opportunities to improve a client’s competitive position through growth, efficiency, and capital optimization. Once these opportunities are identified, it will be up to the SVP and the rest of the GENCO sales team to develop and present a business case to the client for expanding the scope of GENCO’s relationship with them accordingly.

GENCO is a custom shop, and the firm offers its clients an opportunity to put their own stamp on their logistics operations. To the extent that logistics and fulfillment can be differentiating (and even branded) for the customer – that’s what GENCO wants to do. Amazon Prime is one example of how fulfillment can be differentiating for retailers.

How many others can you think of?

We want someone who understands the interplay between warehouse management systems and operational processes and knows how these things can enhance client performance. Additionally, the successful candidate will have shown a propensity to innovate their supply chain and fulfillment solutions. The goal is to offer the client a distinguishing customer experience through value-added services, personalizing the product, and more. The possibilities are endless.

A couple of final notes on this position:

This is not necessarily a sales hunter role. Job One is running the Retail Business Unit to each client’s satisfaction. You will be brought in as a subject matter expert during sales negotiations, meaning it’s essential that you know all of a customer’s pain points and understand how GENCO can solve them.

As you can imagine, I have a massive amount of information to share with highly qualified candidates. If what I’ve just described makes your heart race just a bit, I’d love to hear from you. However, please understand that these interviews will be very rough. We’re looking for a poised and proven logistics and supply chain visionary who can manage a large organization; run a profitable business, and build relationships with GENCO’s external partners. If that’s you, then hit me up below.

Key accountabilities and outcomes include:

  • Developing and implementing an operations strategy tailored to our retail customers that identifies opportunities to improve costs and margins and will lead to business growth with our existing customers.
  • Ensuring operational excellence through standardization of existing practices, risk assessment and review of key metrics.
  • Planning and executing start-up facilities for new business.
  • Spearheading teams and partnering with customers to trouble-shoot and solve existing issues or problems.
  • Contributing as a key member to our sales and solutions team in winning key strategic accounts.
  • Building bench strength by leading, developing and challenging an operations team to raise individual and collective performance levels.
  • Questioning and challenging existing ways of thinking
  • Working collaboratively and establishing solid business relationships with the sales/solutions and finance teams

Candidates must have the following experiences, skills and behavioral traits:

  • A minimum of 10 years logistics operations management experience with “big box”, ecommerce or specialty retailers and at least 5 years experience as a regional operations leader managing multiple locations. Third-party logistics experience is preferred but not required.
  • Experience in a “customer-centric” environment with accountability for both operations metrics and customer relations. Must excel at and enjoy teaming with members of the operations team and customer representatives to trouble-shoot and solve existing problems.
  • Direct experience preparing budgets and actively participating in financial reviews with a solid understanding of standard and actual cost variances
  • Has led high-performing teams. Can recruit, develop and motivate superior talent
  • A Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Business or Logistics or equivalent fields is required.


PS – If you’re thinking about changing jobs this year (though us or anyone else), you might want to check out this post on why even TOP candidates get rejected.

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