The Fetch Spotlight series introduces different members of the Fetch team to highlight unique experiences, industry backgrounds, and expands on the notion that delivery does in fact drive us forward.
With experience in multiple industries spanning over twelve years, Eric Reuther has served in various roles to aid in the overall growth and development of both small and large organizations.
Having worked in pharmaceutical manufacturing, construction and health care, Eric’s diverse background has made him an invaluable member of any team he joins. Possessing a masters degree in public health with a focus on occupational safety, he has implemented and enforced safety measures at numerous companies, including Amazon and Disney.
In his new role with Fetch, Eric is responsible for developing and implementing a safety program that will sustain the company for years to come. With a tremendous passion for what he does, and his uncanny ability to lead a team while encouraging collaboration and individual growth alike, Eric will oversee all of the safety policies and procedures company-wide for Fetch.
We sat down with Eric to get to know him a little more and chat about the importance of safety in last-mile delivery:
What led you to your position at Fetch?
Well, my original plan was to attend medical school, so it was certainly a change in career paths. I got my masters degree in public health and focused on occupational safety. That provided me opportunities and experiences that made me realize how much I really like problem solving, and “putting out fires,” or preventing them when possible, quickly became my passion. After four years with Amazon, I transitioned to Disney as a team leader of safety services. It was during that time I was approached by Fetch and we established a relationship. Over the course of our conversations the issue of safety came up repeatedly, and from that, an opportunity arose to join the Fetch team.
The major appeal to me, beyond the great working environment and team camaraderie, was the chance to create and implement a safety program from scratch. I have never really had the chance to build policies and procedures from the ground up, and that certainly intrigued me. So I jumped at the opportunity to make my own way with this and see the safety measures for Fetch through from inception to implementation. I get tremendous satisfaction in finding long-term, sustainable safety actions that protect all of the team members involved.
What are some of the biggest changes or implementations that you wish to make in Fetch’s warehouse environments?
So, there’s generally five elements to an effective safety program. But at the moment I’m really focusing on two of those. The first thing is to eliminate and reduce onsite risks. And right now when I say risk, I see opportunities as in compliance. So my number one focus is on ensuring that we have the right policies and procedures in place, keeping everyone safe and making sure they are following the policies and procedures, as well as following local, state and federal safety guidelines.
The second main focus is to develop a behavioral-based safety approach. This approach entails everybody onsite taking ownership over safety. By that I mean everyone has a say, whether it is the management side of things, or it is a team member on their very first day, everyone has a voice. If you see a safety risk or have a safety concern, say something. It boils down to this, we want to create a culture of safety at each and every site. When we have that, we have a solid foundation to build further safety measures upon.
What are some of the opportunities that you can utilize to address the challenges to improving safety measures for the company as Fetch continues to grow?
I like that you used the word opportunity. In every challenge lies an opportunity to do better. A chance to evolve and improve. I’ve met so many good managers and team members here at Fetch who are energetic and motivated to make a real difference in the company. My job is to show and educate on what we need from a safety perspective. It’s like being the coach of an already amazing and talented team, and now we just need to train and fine-tune our approach to safety. I want them to not only follow our policies and procedures, but to understand why we do what we do. For example, if I tell them it is important to report any injuries or safety incidents that occurred on the job, they need to also know the implications of not reporting such incidents and why it is crucial to do so. Again, this helps us in laying the strong foundation we need to keep improving.
Has COVID presented any unique challenges for you in your position?
COVID has absolutely changed things, as it has for many people. We’ve all had to maneuver a bit in some aspect of our jobs. While I would have visited each site in person pre-COVID, the pandemic has definitely hindered that effort. However, my previous position at Amazon and being familiar with sortation centers prepared me for the layouts and operations of the Fetch warehouses. That prior experience helps me understand not only what’s happening, but how and why it’s happening. So while getting to each site for a visit is a challenge unique to COVID times, my current aim of creating and implementing the right policies and procedures is moving along as planned, just a bit differently with visits via zoom and Google meets.
Why do you think that Fetch’s direct-to-door deliveries is essentially a game changer for the industry?
Well, it’s serving a niche market. When I lived in an apartment I experienced several occasions where my package was put either in the wrong locker or the key didn’t work. And if the office was closed, I would have to wait until the next day and take the time from work to get my package. Fetch remedied that dilemma with its two-hour direct-to-door delivery window. They disrupted the delivery process for the multifamily industry in the best way possible. In many ways, it’s genius.