C.H. Robinson/Robinson Fresh: Eden Prairie, MN
Years in Produce:
Married; Two children
Hobbies: Traveling with husband and kids; cooking; crafting and quilting; president of Oak Point Elementary Parent Teacher Organization; Eden Prairie Youth Hockey Association.
Motto in life: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Hendrickson started at C.H. Robinson in 2002 as an inventory analyst for one of the company’s retail customers. Within a few years, she was managing a team of inventory analysts and working to strategically plan inventory and demand for a variety of commodities. This path led her to account management, where she helped set the overall strategy of specific commodities for retail customers. From knowing the overall strategy, she was able to utilize this information to drive overall strategy for all commodities as lead for the demand planning team. In a departure from working with a specific customer day-to-day, she spent two years as a demand analyst providing top-line insights on how to flow, merchandise and manage inventory through the supply chain.
She has now been working as a project manager for the last three years. In this role, she focuses on driving productivity and efficiency through technology and process improvement. She has been instrumental in the company’s successful internal ERP system conversion. She is responsible for communication strategy and ensuring continuing training needs are met, while uncovering future enhancement needs to drive efficiency and productivity. She helped design, create and implement a new internal forecasting and replenishment tool aimed at providing flexible inventory management and demand planning solutions to support the complexity of different customer needs.
Questions & Answers:
Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?
As I graduated college, I wasn’t 100 percent sure what career path I wanted to take. I knew I wanted to do something that allowed me to meet people and work to solve complex problems that would have a big impact. My opportunity with Robinson Fresh really fell into my lap. I had a job elsewhere, but casually kept in touch with a Robinson recruiter. They approached me with the inventory analyst role thinking it would be a great fit. I knew early on the atmosphere and environment was what I was looking for both short and long term.
Q: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your career?
I wish I would have known when I first started my career that you don’t have to please everyone all the time, but you do need to be true to yourself and be consistent in your words and actions as that is what people come to know you for.
Q: What aspect of the business challenged you the most early on?
At first the business seemed so vast, that there was no way I was making a difference. But by immersing myself in the supply chain, I was able to see that even the smallest interaction can create an impactful ripple.
Q: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of in your career?
I have had the good fortune of working on some innovative technology initiatives within our company. Being able to provide input, shape the process and flow, while driving efficiency has provided me some of my greatest accomplishments.
Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?
I’d like to see more done to promote produce consumption in schools, especially at the elementary level. Whether it’s promoting a fruit or vegetable of the month that the students learn about and have the opportunity to try in multiple ways, or teaching them about agriculture through tower gardens. Kids are impressionable and are open to trying new things if it is done in a fun way.