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Peter Longo

West Virginia’s Personal Touch, Workforce Win Macy’s

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Martinsburg, W.Va. -- “Imagine doing business in a state where you get a call from a governor who says, ‘I understand you’re interested in coming to West Virginia with a big part of a Macy’s enterprise. I’d like to have lunch with you.’ That’s a wow!” said Peter Longo, Macy’s president of logistics and operations.

Longo said the state’s outreach efforts, including the private session with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, clinched the deal for the company to bring a state-of-the-art 1.3 million square feet distribution center to Martinsburg. As the largest in its network, the center will support Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s growing online sales, preparing and shipping orders primarily to customers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

Macy’s April 15, 2011,  groundbreaking for its new distribution center in Martinsburg.

Longo went on to explain the three other factors, in particular, that contributed to the company’s choice of West Virginia: location, workforce and community support.

“It’s important to be in a location that geographically is near your dense customer base, that has terrific labor availability and a community that’s willing to work with a new employer coming into the market. Macy’s does computer modeling of where a distribution center optimally should be and it works with companies to do labor studies. In this analysis, Martinsburg came up ‘five stars all the way,’” said Longo, for both the workforce availability and its loyalty.

“The Development Office was terrific to work with. There was complete transparency, which builds a lot of confidence that you’re working with an organization where there will be no surprises. The incentives were top shelf,” he said. “It was by far and away the best demonstration of commitment that we saw [from any competing state] and it put us over the edge.”

Serving the Demanding Online Customer
Opening in May 2012, the distribution center’s base staff will be about 1,200 people, swelling to 2,000 during the peak holiday periods.

Martinsburg will be the fourth of Macy’s megacenters located around the country. Longo described the new center as using technology to assist in the speed and accuracy of filling orders.

“Our internet business is the fastest-growing part of our company right now. There is no more demanding customer than an internet customer. It’s all about the ability to give consumers choice: 24-7 Macy’s is open for you,” he said.

Macy’s fills 90 percent of the online orders within 24 hours, shipping about 50 million packages a year to fulfill the online shopping orders. As the head of logistics, Longo moves products from where something is produced to where it needs to be.

“The ‘win’ in the world of the customer is that you must be as much of a technology company as you are a retail company. We move things from one spot to another as quickly and cheaply as we can, with a high commitment to customer service,” he said.

Results Matter and You Count
Longo said Macy’s builds a team-oriented environment within its centers, around the motto: “Results matter and you count.”

He said the company plans to be active in the community.

“We want to become part of the total fabric of the community. We have a brand value of contributing to the community, after all, these are the libraries and amenities that our employees will use, too.”

Macy’s expects the center will be in full operation to support the 2012 holiday season. Later in 2011, when construction has progressed, Macy’s will post jobs on its website

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