Retrotech Inc. is looking to double its annual revenues over the next five years-as well to add to its workforce-as the firm expands into the growing e-commerce market.
The expansion will be led by Paul Deveikis, who was named CEO Jan. 7, succeeding Peter Hartman, who is retiring. Hartman, 72, has led Retrotech since 1998 and has been with the company since 1991. He is remaining with the company during the transition period through the early summer.
At its Victor headquarters last week, Hartman said Deveikis' business experience was a main draw in hiring him.
Deveikis, 50, has nearly 30 years of executive-level experience in sales and operations. Since 2005, he has been president of Wynright Corp.'s engineering and integration unit in Elk Grove, Ill.
His expertise lies in material handling systems and services for distribution centers and e-fulfillment businesses, Hartman said, adding Deveikis has worked at firms that use services similar to those Retrotech provides.
Deveikis agrees his background is an asset to his new job.
"It's easy to have a conversation with customers if you've been in their shoes," Deveikis said.
Retrotech specializes in the design, installation, modernization and support of automated material handling systems. The business has roughly 110 staffers. Its customers include General Mills Inc., LiDestri Foods Inc., Procter & Gamble and Wegmans Food Markets Inc.
The firm was acquired by Savoye Inc., a Chicago-based subsidiary of Savoye S.A. in Dijon, France, for an undisclosed sum in early 2011.
Deveikis was chosen following an international search for a new CEO, Hartman said. Deveikis-who has children ages 16 and 13-will continue to live in the Chicago area for the next couple of years. He is to spend weekdays here and return to Illinois on the weekends.
Hartman believes Deveikis is the right person to help take Retrotech to its next level: growing its business in the e-commerce market and its impact on the distribution network.
Online consumers will increase their spending 62 percent by 2016, research from Forrester Research Inc. shows. That would mean online sales would increase from $202 billion in 2011 to $327 billion in 2016.
The upswing in e-commerce is affecting how retailers, distributors and third-party logistics approach distribution network processes, Deveikis said. It is changing how retailers handle supply chain management processes, such as inventory management and warehousing.
These changes can cause stress on the supply chain, as retailers contend with a growing number of products.
Because of the individual aspect of e-commerce, retailers can be dealing with a million transactions a day versus a thousand transactions they may have had before supplying a store, Deveikis explained. They then have to contend with other aspects of the industry, from free shipping to same-day delivery.
That is where material handling systems come into play, Deveikis said. They can help customers be faster and more productive.
"The need and potential for automation is huge," he said.
Retrotech can set up material handling products, from systems to software, that retailers need at distribution centers. That could mean creating new centers dedicated to e-commerce or creating a central facility that can accommodate the traditional distribution to store business, along with the e-commerce, Deveikis said.
The number of workers added will depend on how fast the firm expands.
"It's a massive change and we are positioned well to address that change," he said.
Hartman said the region has the skilled workforce the firm will need as it grows.
"This is a great community for high-tech businesses," he said.
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