It’s 3 AM, you’re studying for finals, and…
…you want ice cream. Now.
Lucky for you, in the year 2018, that’s not a problem. Head to any 24-hour convenience store and you won’t find just any frozen deliciousness on the shelves, you’ll find the (ice) cream of the crop: Ben & Jerry’s.
We’re talking Americone Dream. We’re talking Cherry Garcia. We’re talking—the absolute Holy Grail—Half-Baked. It’s all there. And it’s easy to forget that people are behind the scenes, making it all happen.
So, if you do ever wonder how it got there AND why it’s always there when you want it, we found your answer. We spoke to Kamree, the man with a plan (for getting you your ice cream). He’s a Customer Service Analyst at Unilever, the company that makes Ben & Jerry’s and hundreds of other brands like Axe and Dove.
He told us everything we need to know about the amazing business of getting products to the people.
Getting Ice Cream Where It’s Wanted (AKA Everywhere)
Supply Chain is the science of getting products from the manufacturer to the customer. It’s a discipline that involves incredible time management, multitasking, and nerves of steel. And Kamree’s got all of that.
“I manage the Foods and Refreshments categories for Unilever,” he says. This is actually quite tricky to manage, because food—especially ice cream—can spoil (or melt) easily. But Kamree isn’t deterred by that challenge.
“I’m involved with all of our ice cream products, so brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, and our Good Humor brand, as well as Popsicles, Klondike, and so forth. I’ve also worked with food products like Knorr and Hellman’s Mayonnaise,” he says.
But what, exactly, does he do?
“I’m pretty much a middleman with the customer,” he says. “We’re always planning, so my job sometimes even involves transportation. For example, we’ll help ensure that stores like Target receive their food and refreshment on time and in full.”
That translates into a lot of hours running numbers and visiting stores and manufacturers. It also means time spent collaborating with managers, engineers, and supervisors and coordinating with everyone from the people packaging the batch to the people unloading the trucks.
How Did Kamree Become The Ultimate Ice Cream Man?
“In school I studied Operations Management,” Kamree says. “I actually came upon Supply Chain on a study abroad experience in China. We learned about manufacturing, as well as overseas distribution of products.”
That trip really sparked his interest in this somewhat hidden but entirely essential aspect of the economy.
“I realized that a lot of the business is run through the Supply Chain,” he says. “It doesn’t matter how much you market a product or how great the product you create is. If you can’t get the product to the consumer, then it really doesn’t matter.”
It’s a lot of responsibility and a lot of pressure. That’s why, when it comes to Supply Chain Management, it takes a certain kind of person to handle it.
“You have to be very comfortable with the uncomfortable,” he says. “In Supply Chain, things are very rarely quiet, and just being able to manage yourself in those types of environments is key. High emotional intelligence is another thing.”
But it’s not just stressful for you. Manufacturing is a labor-intensive process with a ton of opportunities for error. To excel, you have to be able to communicate effectively with all the different personalities and stakeholders.
“Another thing is just being very personable. Because we work in the middle of so many different functions, you have to be able to empathize with other people and understand how other things work in order to truly make an impact,” Kamree says.
Yet despite the high-intensity environments, Supply Chain is a rewarding career path, Kamree stresses. Another perk: It also offers a high base pay.
“Knowing that I’m that integral piece to ensure that little girl gets her ice cream, or that little boy can have his popsicle, that’s what makes it the most interesting to me,” he says. He loves being the person everyone can count on.
And don’t worry, working around ice cream hasn’t taken any of the magic out of it for him. He still has his favorite flavor.
“It’s PB & Cookies, the non-dairy one. I’m vegan, so I have to eat non-dairy everything. And it’s absolutely amazing,” he says.
Think you could be the next great Supply Chain Manager? Check out fun facts, testimonials, and amazing internship and co-op opportunities from Unilever on WayUp right now!