Matthew P. LoPiccolo
Vice President, Customer Service and Supply Chain
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I grew up in our family business of running service stations and actually ran a Sunoco station during college. While pumping gas, checking oil and washing windows, I learned the details of running a business. I learned how to serve customers, standing face-to-face with them.
But I knew my future wasn't in service stations. In 1985, I earned a degree in computer science and got hired at Swagelok as a programmer in the distributor systems area. With my service background, distributors’ jobs resonated with me. As I gained experience, I discovered what I liked most, though, was being part of projects — using information systems (IS) to move the business forward.
After getting my M.B.A. in 2000, I was ready for a challenge outside the computer center: director of distribution and logistics.
For six years, I led distribution centers in the U.S., Japan, Europe and Australia. Soon, my group combined with the factory customer service group. That’s when I helped start the World-Class Customer Service Programs like the Service Summit. For the Service Summit, we invited distributor staff for a week long visit to our factory — then sent our staff out to visit distributorships. Everyone learned what life was like at the other end of the phone. Kind of a face-to-face customer service lesson, like at the service station. Swagelok still does it today.
Then the company got a big idea: building a new Order Fulfillment Center where most of our inventory and assembly people would work together. From 2004 to 2006, I led that program, the largest one Swagelok had ever done.
For that work, I earned a Kerzner Award for Project Management Excellence. The award is in my office, but more important to me is the picture right next to it: the picture of our program team.
Then and now, people are my focus. I know if they’re happy personally, they’ll do their best. “Listen, Learn, Help and Lead” is a phrase that I picked up years ago. It still holds true for me today. Listen with the intent of learning, and learn with the intent of helping.
Leading project teams is what I love doing. If somebody said, “Here are the five toughest projects critical for the company,” I’d take all five, get a team and get them done. I love working with other people, helping them solve problems and accomplishing big things. It’s a great way to be involved in moving the company forward.
Leading Swagelok’s Business System Transformation (BST) was another great opportunity to help the company. This initiative established a foundation for operational excellence in process and systems. Today, our BST work continues to make a significant difference in how we satisfy our customers. And that’s very rewarding.
Currently, ensuring Swagelok has a healthy supply chain and is providing world class service are key responsibilities. When customers need our products and services, we need to provide them as promised. What’s more, when customers need additional help, we need to be there for them. Swagelok’s supply chain and service systems help us deliver the quality, innovation and other values we promise Swagelok customers.
While I always want my teams to get the “Super Bowl ring,” thirty years in martial arts have taught me that you can’t control winning and losing. You can control effort and attitude, though, and that’s what drives continuous improvement. “Every day, a little better.” I focus on that with black belts as well as myself and my Swagelok teams—and to those involved with the Pre-Professional Internship Program at my alma mater, Trinity High School.