The road to success: Q and A with Ashley Kordish, CEO of Ralph Moyle
Ashley Kordish, B.B.A.’14, was recently named CEO at Ralph Moyle, a family-owned transportation and warehouse business. She is the third generation of her family to lead the company, where she looks forward to applying her skills in team-building and strategy—and operating the business with core values of commitment, integrity, safety, sustainability and teamwork.
The company prides itself on providing superior service to clients, a family atmosphere for employees and a long-term investment in the local community. Studying integrated supply management at WMU, Kordish was able to navigate the challenges of leadership in the transportation and warehousing industries with a robust ability to problem solve. Read on to hear how Kordish is mapping a course to success for Ralph Moyle.
What are you most excited about in your new role as CEO?
I have found that I have a passion for business strategy and talent management. This role fits my passions perfectly, and I cannot wait to create positive change within our organization and help the company continue to grow and evolve. My grandfather founded Ralph Moyle Inc., then passed it on to my father and uncle. It is exciting to be the third generation running our growing family business; I am looking forward to bringing my unique experiences and perspective to the organization and am excited to start implementing change and perfecting our processes. I grew up around trucks, trailers and warehousing, and being able to affect the big picture is extremely rewarding.
What are some of the goals you have for the company in terms of operations, culture and strategy?
Right now, our executive group is working on our corporate strategy. We are using the book “Traction” by Gino Wickman, as a tool, and one of my first goals is to gain buy-in from the entire company on this process. We have identified our core values, mission and niche, and now we must communicate that to all our employees. The book “Traction” concentrates on building and living by a culture, creating goals, and holding people accountable. It is a shift in direction from what we have done in the past, and it is exciting to be part of this strategic initiative. In business, you must be evolving constantly. This process has helped us to streamline how we identify and solve issues, maturing our business processes.
In general, why does the supply chain industry need more women at all levels? What is your own personal experience as a woman in supply chain?
Having women leaders in supply chain is incredibly valuable. Women have many skills and abilities that often get overlooked. Women, especially mothers, are amazing multitaskers, knowing how to accomplish tasks under pressure—we think on our feet. With how fast-paced and ever-changing the supply chain field is, those skills are necessary. However, it is not an easy feat to become a recognized leader as a woman in supply chain—the industry is still male-dominated. Women must work twice as hard to prove themselves, and because of that, any woman who is willing to put in that amount of work to gain the respect of peers should be viewed as an equal. Women will stop at nothing to be successful; I have so much respect for women that enter any male-dominated industry.
What do you see as the key challenges and opportunities that the pandemic and other supply chain stressors have highlighted?
It has been an interesting time to be a supply chain professional. I feel like one of the challenges that has become glaringly apparent is the lack of employees in the skilled trades and other key roles within the industry. Skilled trade professionals and service providers have never really gotten the respect or appreciation they deserved until the pandemic showed exactly how important they were to the industry and, ultimately, consumers. We have seen in the news how there are worker shortages at manufacturing facilities, how ports have shut down and how those who handle freight and transport are in short supply. Having those employees in place is what keeps the supply chain moving. I think one of our opportunities now is to educate our young people on how critical the supply chain is for our society. We must do a better job at valuing these roles in a variety of ways.
What do you see as key takeaways for your industry from the last two to three years?
One of the biggest takeaways that I have had for the trucking industry is just how important it is. I always knew we had an integral job in society, but the pandemic made that fact even more apparent. Without truck drivers and the employees loading and unloading trucks at stores, no retailer would be able to restock products.
What have you learned about yourself as a supply chain professional throughout the last two to three years?
I have learned how truly adaptable I am. I have worked from home much more in the last two to three years and dealt with situations that I never dreamt I would have to address. Our team has had to make tough decisions quickly and efficiently to ensure our employees were safe and cared for. My organization was able to do that without laying off a single employee, and I am so proud of what we accomplished during that time.
How did your supply chain education at the Haworth College of Business prepare you to enter the workforce ready to contribute immediate value?
The supply chain program provided me with all the resources and skills that I needed to be successful in my career. The range of information and classes gave me the confidence to intelligently talk to engineers and understand the basics of prints. I was able to hit the ground running with my skills in Excel, Microsoft, and my exposure to ERP systems. I had an awesome understanding of how the supply chain runs and knew the terminology I needed coming right out of college. I absolutely love the program, and I believe that any student who studies supply chain and takes advantage of everything WMU has to offer will have endless opportunities available to them.
How has WMU Haworth been a partner in recruiting?
Two members of our executive team have supply chain degrees from Western. Additionally, in the past few years, we have hired two interns right out of the supply chain program, one intern from the human resource management program and one intern from the business analytics program. Three of those interns were hired into our organization full-time. We are proud to have those individuals growing with us. The WMU business analytics intern we hired is now our operations manager! We love bringing in interns to help them gain experience and hope to do so more in the future.
What are some of the opportunities and challenges in running a family-owned business?
My family and I spend a lot of time together, and we do not always agree on everything. It is hard to shut down the business talk at family gatherings and sometimes our relationships can intensify certain business issues. However, at the end of the day, I would not change it for the world. My dad and my uncle have a vast knowledge of the industry that they learned from their father, Ralph, and now I have the privilege of learning from them. I could not ask for better mentors in my life, and I honestly get to go to work each day and be with some of my favorite people. The family feeling at our company has allowed us to create a culture and work environment where I walk in every day and am able to get to know my employees personally, and they, in turn, have become family as well.