Eric Lail is a busy guy — as a leader of our Converting team, Eric is responsible for all the manufacturing sites except for the paper mill, including our facilities in Nachez, Las Vegas, Memphis and North Carolina. Each of those plant managers report directly to him, and he also oversees the supply chain for the whole company, as well as corporate quality and corporate continuous improvement initiatives.
This has given Eric a unique opportunity to experience many different facets of von Drehle and enables him to articulate exactly what makes us different: “I used to tell people in trade shows, if you’re looking for all the widgets and the processes — we can check the box, but that’s not what makes us different. It’s our people.” Eric’s favorite part of the job is not just working with people, but developing their talents and strengths and aligning teams so they are all focused on the same strategy. His passion is connecting people with the roles they themselves are passionate about, and he does this through coaching, developing, and perhaps most importantly, listening.
After coming on board with von Drehle in 2016, Eric spent his first three months actively listening to our team members and learning from their experiences. These conversations have enabled Eric to empower our employees in ways that are unique in our industry. Our plant managers, for example, are truly empowered — we teach them to be true business leaders instead of just managing production and maintenance.
While the sales team has always developed relationships with customers, Eric has been instrumental in getting our operations team in front of the customer. Last week, Eric and our Sales VP visited one of our largest customers in New York to talk about what we’re doing in operations and sales and to discuss new solutions we can work on together. This takes our company to a whole new level.
When asked what separates the good distributors from the great ones, Eric reiterates the importance of both customer service and delivery performance. He sites the strategic decision made by our owners to hold inventory and help our clients manage their cash flows, which allows us to ship very quickly. The speed of delivery and the cash flow to the customer is the difference – and having team members like Eric on board continues to separate von Drehle from the competition.
If you are interested in becoming a distributor of von Drehle paper products, please be sure to give us a call today at 800-438-3631.