An Interview with Darrell R., Vice President, Operations Support

In this week’s video with President Jon Vander Ark, he was joined by Darrell R., Vice President, Operations Support, to highlight how our solid foundation has helped us remain strong during this unprecedented time. Our safety numbers have never been better, engagement is high, customer service metrics are great, and productivity has improved – these are all achievements worth celebrating!

Thank you to Darrell for taking the time to answer a few questions about our company’s operational strength and the initiatives we have in place that have set us up for success.

Q. Why do you think some of our key metrics (MPUs, etc.) are so high right now?

The biggest reason we have some of the best metrics right now is our people. We have an incredible group of Operational leaders at the division and Area-level. Our Supervisors and Operations Managers are adapting to changing market conditions quickly, adjusting routes to volume and becoming more analytical than ever before. Operational leaders are engaging our frontline employees more than ever on a daily basis. One example is our tailgate meetings. Our divisions have limited the group size to be less than 10 people, which means Supervisors can spend more one-on-one time engaging each driver as they come in the morning.

Q. What has been the biggest challenge for you and your team since the pandemic started?

Since the pandemic started, we had to adapt quickly to how and what we work on. We created new tools for the field in this environment to help manage the business and made sure everyone was aligned in using them. We had to ensure all safety protocols that our HR and Safety teams put together were in place and being followed. We were disciplined in our communication and I am proud of how our team, and the frontline, has adapted to all the changes.

Q. How do you see the way we work changing permanently, even after social distancing restrictions are not in place?

I think this environment is making us grow in ways we didn’t have to before, which will make us stronger in the long run. In our flexible work arrangements, we are learning how to be efficient, productive, and provide value to the organization in ways we haven’t thought of beforehand. This environment is forcing us to think outside the box and change the way we do things. We are brainstorming ways we can substitute an in-person visit with a virtual visit to a division without losing effectiveness. I think more of the technology-focused changes are to come as we can see the value of it. The field is also adapting to these changes too, and we might see some changes in how we do business in our field offices. I heard one of our local Sales teams scored a municipal contract over Facebook Live, which is amazing

Q. In what ways do you think Republic is stronger today than ever before?

I think the words unity and vigilance describe why Republic is stronger today than ever. Unity because we are acting as one Republic team in this pandemic environment. Vigilance because all the hard work we have laid over the past few years with initiatives like Route Ready, Route Complete, and Route Optimization have paved the path for our operational leaders to adapt to change successfully. Also, as millions of people lose their jobs, I think our people understand the pride of being an essential service, serving our communities in an environmentally responsible way. We are communicating more frequently, which is helping us be more engaged together and truly operate as one team, one Republic Way.