Written By: Narek Hakobyan
In this interview, we will be delving into the experiences and insights of Justin Blum, Logistics Guide for Mercury's Tango Squad. who has been helping clients with their specialized cold chain and freight-related shipments for the past 2 years.
I'm currently a Logistics Guide for the Tango Squad. In this role, my responsibilities are setting up specialized cold chain and freight-related shipments. On a typical day, I handle new shipment requests that come in during the day and the previous evening, track ongoing shipments, and maintain crucial vendor communication to ensure the seamless movement of the specialized shipments, ensuring they reach their destinations on time and in top condition.
After I graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in May 2021 with a degree in operations and information management, I began looking for jobs. I found a job posting from Mercury that caught my eye. Later, I got in touch with Josh Medow, and after completing the interview process, it was clear that this role was a great fit for me. My academic background, particularly my degree's focus on supply chain, matched well with Mercury's expertise in cold chain logistics and time-sensitive shipments.
I find the challenge to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job. While we handle many repeat shipments, there is a lot of diversity in the destinations we serve. We often ship to fascinating countries, some of which we don't ship to very often, which keeps the work interesting. I also learned more about what we're sending and explored the complexities of new shipments. Another aspect I enjoy is the challenge of essentially piecing together a puzzle. For instance, take a cold chain shipment that needs to go from point A to point B. In this scenario, we need to identify the most efficient route for it to reach its destination. This often involves researching ahead of time and determining the amount of dry ice required to maintain that frozen temperature.
What sets us apart is the personal touch in our customer service. Unlike big carriers where you might get lost in a 1-800 maze and rely on notes left by previous interactions, we at Mercury keep meticulous track of everything.
One of the recent challenges we encountered involved a hiccup at the Canadian border. A shipment for one of our clients experienced delays at customs, extending the processing time by a couple of days. To address this issue, we worked closely with our network partners, maintaining consistent communication with customs, and following up for updates. Once the package cleared customs, we coordinated with the local terminal to ensure the replenishment of dry ice before releasing the product, safeguarding its integrity. The main issue was that documents for the shipment were not being transferred, but the open line of communication allowed us to resolve the issue for our client.
The lessons I've gained revolve around problem-solving and time management, particularly given our involvement with numerous time-sensitive shipments. For instance, when a product ships on a Monday, our aim is to expedite the process due to the limited lifespan of dry ice. We strive to ensure the swiftest route from point A to point B, involving extensive research on pick-up locations, the nearest airport, optimal routing options, suitable delivery partners, and potential customs clearance requirements.
Effective time management becomes crucial as we engage with partners in the morning for updates, handle multiple client shipments, and swiftly communicate information to ensure clients are well-informed about their shipments. Problem-solving skills come into play, especially during delays. Whether it's missing documents or required information on the consignee's or receiver's end, we collaborate with clients to determine necessary actions on our part for resolution.
I am big into the outdoors, participating in activities such as skiing, hiking, and biking.