In an interview with insights success, Todd Davis, President and CEO of FARO Logistics Solutions, Inc and FARO Cargo Handling, LLC shares his vital knowledge on logistics and making it efficient, fast and affordable.
Below are the highlights of the interview between Todd Davis and Insights Success:
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience?
We’ve created an organization that has generated appeal to a diverse group of clients within the logistics and fulfillment industry. Business is always in constant motion. To not only survive but excel, we have to be agile enough to meet these ever-changing needs. We have the unique ability to tailor solutions to our customers that stay within the framework of our business philosophy and financial goals. While all customers have the same basic needs, we understand that each customer is unique and may put an emphasis on different facets of the business. Our management team researches, listens and constructs a plan that is built around the customer’s wants and needs. This includes everything from automated IT transactions, reporting to billing. We thrive in tackling our customer’s complex problems with innovation and strategic partnering.
Describe some of the vital attributes that every CEO should possess.
I believe it is imperative that the CEO knows all aspects of the company including Operations, Sales, Finance, Real Estate, HR, IT and Legal. No one person can singlehandedly manage a company of this size and diversity. It takes a team of highly committed and professional individuals to deliver positive results. Being a CEO requires the ability to assemble such a team as well as the ability to listen first and react second. I believe that finding passionate, driven team members is the key to building a successful team. Knowledge and experience are nice traits, but if someone is not driven and doesn’t truly care about their job and the company’s success then they will eventually let you down. A successful CEO surrounds themselves with smart, innovative and passionate people.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?
We look at each new venture as an opportunity to build relationships, build trust and eventually a partnership. We deal in a high volume, low margin industry. A lot of our competitors take on customers for market share with little or no regard to the “hidden costs” associated with the industry. Our experience in the market allows us to expose these costs early on in the customer engagement process. We feel this open dialogue from the beginning is key to establishing the trust needed to succeed in the market and in business. And as I stated earlier, we believe in partnering with the customer to ensure from the beginning they know we are vested with them and will tailor what they need to them specifically and not make them fit into a cookie-cutter type program.
What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as a CEO?
Good question, I feel that changing the legacy culture that existed at the time I became CEO was of great challenge. Human nature has instilled in us that change is bad, but I tend to think of change as an opportunity. Change takes time, is never easy and it starts from the top down. Assembling the right team to embrace a new culture and direction was challenging. It still is, complacency will drive a company into the red quicker than getting fired by a customer. I wanted to make sure that our team felt part of the company and were not just spinning their wheels to get a paycheck. It takes time for people to see and buy in to a new culture, but when they do it changes everything.
Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals? My future is here with FARO.
I, along with the other shareholders have been committed to this company for a long time and will continue to be for a long time to come. We have a great group of people working for us and with us. The logistics business changes constantly, that’s part of the passion and excitement around it. Our future goals will be targeted expansion as we continue to work with current and potential customers on their logistics and fulfillment needs. We are in an industry which is in constant flux. If you don’t change, grow and adapt, you will not survive.
What is Todd Davis’s advice for budding and emerging CEO’s?
Patience and Trust. Both are extremely difficult traits in this fast-paced business environment. Successful CEO’s have a clear vision on goals they’d like to accomplish and how to lead a company to the next level of success and beyond. They also realize that they can’t do it alone. Hiring and retaining quality people will continue to be one the CEO’s biggest challenges. Hiring people takes trust and commitment. A CEO can never be content, they must always be looking years down the road and try to see the future coming and plan for it. A CEO that is just reactive and not proactive and visionary will not prevail in business.
About the Leader
Todd Davis, President, and CEO of FARO Logistics Solutions, Inc., After graduating from Penn State with a degree in Logistics and Marketing, Todd joined FARO in 1991 as a warehouse supervisor. He has held many positions within the organization and became CEO in 2012 after serving as the company’s CFO for a number of years. He has been an active board member since 2004 serving as Secretary, Treasurer and now President.