steve-smith-1In 2009, Manhattan Associates became the leading Warehouse Management Systems vendor in the Middle East, in Africa and in Asia for the first time (ARC Advisory Group).The company also leapt from 6th to 2nd in the industry analyst’s league table of WMS vendors in EMEA, all of which helped consolidate the company’s position as the world’s leading provider of supply chain optimisation solutions.

Manhattan’s range of integrated solutions for warehouse management, collaborative commerce, flow-through management, distributed order management, labour management, slotting optimisation and supply chain intelligence serve retailers, manufacturers, distributors and logistics companies – both large and small – and operate in more than 2,500 distribution sites across the globe. The integrated, user-friendly approach of Manhattan’s solutions lowers total cost of ownership and provides rapid return on investment.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Resolving customer’s problems – I get a great deal of enjoyment helping a customer with their strategic problems. I really enjoy the intensity and dynamic nature of my job.

Who inspired you most in your career?

David Kirkwood, ex Tesco, gave me a great deal of guidance while I worked at Dallas Systems – he is very good at mixing business with fun. Also, Professor Alan Braitwaite who has been a brilliant mentor to me and an inspiration.

If you were an item in a warehouse, what would you be?

An Apple iPhone because it is technologically advanced and always improving.

What brought you to this industry?

By coincidence rather than by design. By trade, I am a chartered engineer and worked at Fleetwood Systems. While there, I carried out a project for EMI records which involved warehouse management systems. This sparked my interest and I started work at Dallas Systems. Once I moved into this industry in the mid 1980s I’ve never looked back.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different?

Nothing differently, apart from working out a clear career path slightly quicker than I did.

What’s your favourite pastime?

My passion is skiing.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?

I was speaking at a conference in Monaco and half way through my presentation I realised that I was presenting to the wrong audience – they were expecting me to speak about PR and branding! The conference organisers had sent me to the wrong venue and I should have been in Milan instead.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can juggle seven balls.

Who would be your favourite party guests?

Sir Phillip Green. He has a great analytical brain, is fast talking, opinionated, and a very successful business man, but keeps a relatively low profile. I imagine he has some interesting and amusing stories to tell.

What is the greatest luxury in your life?

My house – It’s a sixteenth century thatched house which has been a labour of love and is now finally restored back to its original glory.

If you won the Lottery, what would you do?

Take a sabbatical and donate some of the money to famine relief and children’s charities. After my sabbatical I would go back to work in the same field, as I like to keep busy.

Who or what makes you laugh?

justin-lee-collinsMy 15 year old son who is quite the comedian and Justin Lee Collins who I have met on a couple of occasions and is very funny.

Do you have any secret ambitions?

To win the lottery, but from a career prospective I feel I have reached the pinnacle with my position but I do have ambitions to grow my present role.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Cape Town.

What’s your favourite music album

I don’t really have one, I’m not particularly music orientated.

What’s your favourite movie?

The Last Samurai.

What’s your favourite book?

Anything by Jeremy Clarkson, I really like his wit and direct nature.

Who or what do you detest the most?

Rudeness and laziness.

What would be your advice to someone thinking about coming into the industry (apart from “don’t do it”)?

Starting from a graduate level, I would say try to work out what your specialism will be early on. There are a great deal of generalists in this industry and not so many specialists. There will always be room for specialists who take a global interest in the market.

If you would like to take part in this feature call 01923 272960

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