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Opportunity from Disruption

While pandemic disruption may dominate current supply chain strategies, the impact of data will deliver the greatest opportunities in the longer term, believes Jim Hooven at Standex International.



Q: What is your new role and focus?
A: I am responsible for global operations and supply chain at Standex. I am obviously taking some time to get to know the team, which has been difficult under our current travel constraints. Operationally, we are focused on making sure we have standard work around how we measure performance in our manufacturing plants, how we execute our operational reviews, and how we prioritize our operational excellence roadmaps.

Q: What are the most pressing issues facing the manufacturing today?
A: I believe in the near term we are still faced with potential disruptions to the supply chain both externally and internally. We have done some risk assessments and mitigation strategies for our key plants but the potential for disruption is significant. Furthermore, trying to make balanced decisions on whether to maintain global supply chains in APAC or whether to nearshore those activities is still in focus.

Q: What is the most important corporate initiative you are involved in?
A: All the items mentioned above, particularly those around supply chain disruptions and nearshoring. We also believe we have a strong cash position and are actively pursuing good acquisition candidates. And while the current market conditions can make that challenging, we see some sound opportunities.

Q: What are the most important leadership qualities for the future?
A: In the short term I believe empathy, flexibility and creativity will be required to navigate the pandemic and ensure that our teams remain motivated and focused despite all the external pressures they face. I think longer term it will be embracing technology in such a way as to ensure that your organization stays current and competitive.

Q: What are the greatest opportunities for manufacturers over the next five years?
A: I think the current crisis can provide those companies with a strong balance sheet and presence in the market a chance to take share and acquire at attractive prices. Longer term I believe the use of data and how it can impact our supply chains is the greatest opportunity. Those that find a way to smartly embrace VR/AR, ERP improvements, IOT, etc. can find themselves advantaged.

Q: What is your favourite activity outside work?
A: I read two books recently over a long fourth of July weekend which was great as it seems I don’t quite have the same amount of time to read as I used to. The first was Leadership in War, by Andrew Roberts, and a memoir by Lisbeth Andersen titled, Anger is My Middle Name. I also try to get outside as much as possible and I love to hike whenever I get the chance.

Jim Hooven

Title: Vice President, Global Operations & Supply Chain
Company: Standex International
HQ: Salem, NH
People: 5,400 Employees
Revenues: $650 million (2019 proforma)
Industry: Diversified Manufacturing


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