Patrick Mulvehill knows his way around technology. After a stint at Lenel Systems, where he directed operations for the software development leader, he stepped in to lead business and technology optimization initiatives for the manufacturing behemoth Kaman. There he oversaw and drove continuous improvement activities for high mix/low volume electrical engineering & manufacturing across five states. When ITT Goulds Pumps came looking for an operational excellence leader, Patrick was tapped to utilize his Lean Six Sigma expertise to transform the manual processes for the $450M industrial engineering organization. Leading internal IT development teams to write their own software to track orders and run reports in real time, Patrick revolutionized the Commercial Operations Organization and was promoted to Director of Commercial Operations in 2014. In 2016 the healthcare giant Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield brought Patrick aboard to lead a technology operations division and then later lead the technology strategy enterprise wide as the Chief Technology Officer.
In this conversation with Calero-MDSL President and CRO Andrew Taylor, Patrick talks about how leadership must be tailored to meet the customer demands of a technology-focused organization.
Andrew: What is your approach to leadership?
Patrick: Leadership starts with our people. People are our only sustainable advantage. If we take care of our team members, they will take care of our customers. We need to continually invest in developing and promoting our teams.
"His employees followed him and listened to him when there were changes that needed to be made. They really looked up to him and followed him, they respected him. He did a great job with the people he inherited with career development, guidance and coaching them to be better employees.”
- Frank Valente, Sales/Distribution Lead at ITT Goulds Pumps
Andrew: What will be your plan on day 1?
Patrick: Take time to listen and gain a deep appreciation of our people, processes and technology and understand the problems we are solving for our customers. Using this understanding, we will build a collaborative operations strategy focused on advancing our customers success, growth and innovation to new levels.
Andrew: How do you evolve service in a mature company?
Patrick: I have a strong sense of HOW and WHY Calero-MDSL became so successful. Our team members are at the heart of our solution. That being said, it is important to embrace change as it’s the only constant we face. Listening to our customers and team members is key to understanding the types of innovations we need to develop and deliver in our technology and service offerings. Everything can, and should, be improved. I am confident that if we are always listening and challenging ourselves to be better, we will deliver in new and innovative ways.
Andrew: What role does technology have in operations?
Patrick: Technology can drive efficiency and increase productivity of an organization. A guiding principle of mine is ‘Lead with the need and follow with Technology’. What this means is we must first have a strong understanding of the process or outcome we are working to achieve and then identify how Technology can best enable and power the operation. Technology is an essential part of operations as it can reduce cost, improve delivery processes, standardize and improve quality and afford vital customizations all creating and delivering greater value for our customers.
Andrew: What would you tell your employees about service if you had 30 seconds in an elevator?
Patrick: Take care of the customer first. Do not worry about the process, budget or the tools. We can take care of everything else later. Pick up the phone and make decisions. Feel empowered- there is action waiting to be taken.