Shanna and Shaun (referred to as ShaSha throughout this interview) from our Training Team had a great interview with Ross this week for our Employee Spotlight. The Oklahoma-born, California-raised Data Operations Manager notes “some would say I’m a little country and a little rock n roll.” ShaSha talked with Ross about his new role, his love of RealTimeBoards (now Miro), and wins for his team...
ShaSha: How long have you been at Build?
Ross E: 1 ½ years
ShaSha: Ross, we know you love promoting the use of Miro, but there must be more to your role than that. Tell us about what you are responsible for.
Ross E: First, thanks for bringing up Miro, I’m a big fan!
As for my role, I’m responsible for the production side of data. I oversee all the teams that build out the product pages for our site. This includes supervisors, specialists, clerks, QA’s, project creation, as well as the newly formed Data Support team.
You may be wondering what data production actually means. It encompasses assembling product pages, including imagery, pricing, descriptions… basically anything you see on one of our product pages.
ShaSha: Congrats on your recent promotion! You are probably working on a lot of different things. What are you most excited about?
Ross E: Thank you! The biggest thing right now is getting our three new Data Supervisors up to speed so they can support their teams and new initiatives. I had 24 direct reports a month ago… all the time punches alone was crazy, and it was during the Workday transition.
We are making massive efforts to streamline production. Production of product pages should operate off a set of rules similar to the manufacturing of physical goods. Samsung wouldn’t let their production staff choose the parts and assembly directions to use for making a phone, so why would we do that with our product pages? You end up with different experiences, with some of them being functional and attractive, while others can be left wanting or out of place compared to the vast majority.
We’re also looking at better ways to report on the speed and accuracy of production, so we can get new metrics for employee performance and the department performance as a whole and to have that reporting visible to all the relevant parties.
ShaSha: What has been a big win for your team over the last few months?
Ross E: Speed to launch for Signature Hardware has been a huge win! We were averaging 4-5 weeks to get ~350 products on site, and now we and can do ~1,000 in just two weeks if not less. Huge thanks to Gary Scheatzle and Joe Kearns for making this a reality.
ShaSha: What do you feel like is a common misconception of your role and your department?
Ross E: I’m not Greg, lol. But seriously, he has so much database knowledge that I could never hope to replicate. Greg can still answer those database questions, especially because his focus is more on the technical side of data. My passion and role is for driving process improvements along with employee development and reporting on those improvements/development.
As far as the Data department, I think a common misconception is that we just copy and paste information. That is not the case AT ALL! There is a lot of critical thinking involved. New hires on our team have to learn so much. I’ve never seen a job where you have to learn so much, so quickly.
Also, the group is not as quiet as people think. :)
ShaSha: What department do you work most closely with outside of Data?
Ross E: Below are the top three:
Merchandising - We work with them to get brand and category specific info for product pages.
Vendor Relations - We work with them when we have data related issues and also provide scoring for the vendor scorecard.
Digital Experience - They give us a set of rules to work by, which is good because it shouldn’t be the wild west on the production side.
ShaSha: What’s keeping your team back from getting more products on site?
Ross E: The volume of quick adds we receive. I don’t think people realized how big the impact was. We now have a whole team dedicated to getting these done. We originally put 4 people on the team, but we need 6 full-time people to keep up with the rate of quick adds we are getting. This impacts our ability to launch products efficiently and in bulk through the tools built out by the amazing Tim Jordan.
ShaSha: What is the new project creation role?
Ross E: We created a role in the plumbing category last year as a trial, called Project Creator. This role is responsible for building out the JIRA ticket with instructions for the Clerks/Specialists. The Project Creator will work with Brand Managers and reps from different brands (ie: Delta, Moen) and will coach them on giving us the right data as well as helping them to understand our new standards for products. We have seen a massive improvement in the data we receive since starting this role. Huge shoutout to Austin Kreutzer for getting this going!
Fun Fact: The defined instructions increased our speed to launch drastically. The average time spent on these projects was at 9 days, and now is at 3 days since the team was created.
ShaSha: Speed Round...go!
Ross E: Ok, let’s do this!
Favorite Movie: Last of the Mohicans
Spirit Animal: Bear (childhood nickname)
Favorite Food: Tacos
Go-to breakfast item: Meat
Favorite Hobby: Fishing
Thanks Ross for being our Employee Spotlight!!