Q & A with Trade South Director

Jun 15, 2016 | by Laura Poff

Q & A with Director of Trade South

Southern Spirit recently sat down with Jeremy Rowland, Director of Supplies & Purchasing with Trade South to discuss the store’s new website, branding and what he sees for the future of his department.

Q: How long have you been in charge of Trade South?

A: I have now been the Director of Trade South for two years now.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your professional background. What were you doing before you joined THQ?

A: I began my professional career working in sales at Motorola's International Headquarters in Illinois after graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago. A few years later I became the sales and marketing manager for the Trade Department in the Central Territory for six years, where we covered the Central and Western Territory Trade fulfillment.

Q: What were some of the core areas for improvement in the department that you identified when you first came on board?

A: The most significant improvements I wanted to establish were customer service and communication to the field.  Our main focus is to serve the Southern Territory at the highest level possible. We needed a team and new methods of communication to accomplish this. We also needed to develop a website that was simple and easy to use for all customers. 

In addition to customer service, there were system updates that needed to take place relating to inventory management, product quality and order processing.  These systems have now been updated, and our goal is to continue to improve all areas of our Trade South ministry. 

Q: How did you go about addressing them?

A: Over these past two years we have hired six new employees to help achieve our customer service goals. We have reorganized our team to make sure we are utilizing their amazing strengths to accomplish these goals. We have also established the My Trade South which has been widely used by the Salvation Army corps and commands, soldiers and supporters.  

In regard to our systems, we have updated all of our processes to eliminate unnecessary steps and strive towards accuracy. We have also been working with our suppliers on quality control to make sure we are only offering high quality products.  We are excited by how far we have come, but we are always striving towards improvements. All of this has been done with great support of the Southern Territory administration.

Q: Change is hard. Did you face any challenges along the way?

A: Many of our updates have been received with amazing encouragement and excitement. Obviously, there are changes that were a bit of a culture shock, but our ultimate goal is to resource the field appropriately and be good stewards of our financial decisions.

Q: How did you convince Lt. Colonel Bill Mockabee to participate in your last promo video?!

A: The script was written and I was trying to figure out who would be the best fit for the role. Lt. Col. Bill Mockabee was the ideal actor because of his great personality and humor. I owed him big time for this, but it was well worth it.

Q: What are the latest updates that we should know about?

A: We have just launched a new discounts website promoting our national purchasing agreements with outside vendors (discounts.mytradesouth.com). Many people do not know that Trade oversees and negotiates these agreements, and we want to keep everyone aware of the money-saving opportunities. You may have seen many new and improved product announcements, especially as it relates to uniform items. We plan to continue new product offerings that are relevant to each ministry.

Q: What's next?

A: Later this year we will be updating our website where it will have a responsive design, modern look and feel, as well as updated graphics and descriptions. Also we are working on new product offerings and ministry resources. Keep an eye out for these new product announcements and commercials, we will do our best to keep everyone informed.

Q: Tell us about your vision for the long term future of Trade South?

A: Trade South's motto is "serving those who serve," and our goal is to do this to the best of our abilities.  We want to be the Southern Territory's first call for products and services where they trust and know that we will do everything in our power to make it happen.

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