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Customer Order Management Manager - Paula Martinez 

This article is from the “Cummins: All Access” series, a compilation of unique, reality-based stories featuring Cummins employees.  The series is designed to give a behind-the-scenes perspective of Cummins employees as they develop their careers.

Cummins Customer Order Management team is responsible for delivering factory-based support to end-user customers and dealers across North America. Paula Martinez is a Customer Order Management Manager who leads, recruits, develops, coaches, and mentors a team of specialists  - all while leading special projects that have cross-regional implications for the business.

Paula, with previous experience working with customs brokers and cargo consolidators, joined Cummins just 8 years ago and has moved from a Customer Service Representative up to our Customer Care Manager. She partners with her Order Management colleagues to develop and maintain external customer and channel partner relationships. As the group leader, she also leads and resolves customer complaints, as well as special projects that have cross-regional implications.

“As with any global company, It is extremely important to adapt our approach and communication style based on our customers’ culture and nationality.”

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Paula starts her morning around 6:30am (yawn!) following up on urgent requests from customers in time zones ahead of us. Her team arrives at staggered times over the next few hours and they begin working on those immediate needs – all within communication structures that meet business requirements in other cultures.  After the early morning requests are handled, she now turns her attention to a long-term project. For now, her plans will have to wait – a customer in Argentina needs immediate assistance!

“To support our customer in Argentina, my team needs to coordinate movement of crankshafts from the United Kingdom to their remote location. Due to the urgency of the request, we need to by-pass our standard operating procedure and make arrangement to expedite these parts. We immediately took the lead in coordinating the process between the supplier, the transportation carrier, customs brokers, and the receiving party. It’s going to be tight, but we’ll succeed because my team knows what they’re doing!”

While her team works on the hot situation, Paula keeps her Skype IM on green and turns her attention to her upcoming project presentation later in the week. She is working on a plan to further support Cummins aftermarket strategy with our cross-region channel partners, OEMs, and customers. This project also provides her with visibility to local leaders in the Supply Chain function within Cummins.

Later that morning, Paula takes a walk around the building and thinks about her project. She senses a connection between a key performance indicator and another aspect of her role. Cross-cultural competence - this skill is transferred through a knowledge-sharing culture in which the manager or other team members share their challenges and experiences with the different cultures we serve.

“Cross-cultural competence is an essential skill for my teams, we need to be able to be familiar with the context in which the customer is operating and deduce ambiguities specific to his culture. We are aligned with a specific customer segment or region, which allows us a deeper understanding of our customers and their culture.”

At lunchtime, Paula eats an early lunch at a local barbeque restaurant. It’s a good time to catch up with a peer who works on different accounts and compare notes. Global operations demand a high level of productivity, and the ability to anticipate change and quickly adapt to it is key to her (and her team’s) success. At the end of lunch, she receives a call from her team.

“Our team quickly found an alternative solution that allowed us to comply with the necessary requirement for this international transaction while avoiding any delays. It looks like the product will be successfully delivered with minimal disruptions to our customer’s operations.”

Paula heads back to her desk after lunch to spend time working on another long-term project – this one with her team’s development in mind. Since they interact on a daily basis with different functional areas around the world: Sales and Marketing teams, Material Planners, Supply Chain Analysts, Field Service and Rapid Response teams, Global Distribution Centers, etc. building strong relationships with these areas is key. This allows them to quickly identify factors affecting the flow of customers’ supply chain and take immediate action as needed.

“The major steps to build stronger relationships starts with sharing our team’s processes and procedures to identify mutual challenges and areas of opportunity. Then, we prioritize challenges and opportunities by region taking into consideration the criticality and complexity of the request. After that, we implement changes or processes, ensuring that the communication channels are always open by alerting internal functional areas of any changes in our customer’s ordering patterns.” 

Later in the afternoon, before Paula leaves for the day, she checks in with co-workers who are planning a Community Involvement event at the local YMCA with the Latino Achievers Program. She is also the co-chair of the Hispanic Latino Affinity Group chapter in Nashville and has helped organize a few cultural awareness events for both students and Cummins employees.

“I love equipping and encouraging Latino/Hispanic high school students to pursue a college education! I have the privilege to share my experiences as a bilingual Cummins employee and encourage some of these students to look at their diversity as a strength - not as something to be ashamed of. It has been extremely encouraging seeing some of these students graduate from college already! “Vayan por el mundo y tengan éxito!”