Establishing a New Location
Matt Strahan oversees the daily operations of the company’s 12,000-square-foot facility in Visalia, California. Making the cross-country move was a big decision for Matt and his wife, Leilani. But he said they both decided the region would offer great opportunities — including access to mountains and the ocean — for their young son, Elijah.
How does the Visalia site fit into Muncie Power’s structure?
The plant is our largest outside division except for Muncie and Tulsa. It’s a distribution warehouse and we are here to support our customers. Although I am mainly focused on the West Coast, I am also the last stop for the company’s customers. I serve clear to the East Coast at night. A guy can call me when the Midwest offices are closed, and I can still get the product out the same day because of the time difference. When the sales floor closes in Muncie, that’s when things pick up here.
What was the most rewarding part of establishing the new location?
I started setting up the warehouse from day one. It’s really my baby. From the ground running, we got to implement our “Lean” philosophy. I was able to set up the exact vision I had without any obstacles. It was a blessing to get to set up everything the way I wanted things, instead of having to change things already in place. I have grown up with the company and I wanted the site to reflect the things I have learned and loved.
Is being so geographically far away from the crew in Indiana a challenge?
It really has not been difficult because I have a really strong supporting cast from the Muncie Power team. Any time I ever have a question, they are just a phone call away. Everyone’s willing to help me. That supporting cast and team has made it an easy warehouse to open and run. I have never been treated like I am bothering anyone. I could list a thousand names of people to thank.
As a manager in a new location, how do you impart the company’s mission to new employees?
I have one employee and we are a real team. He says every day that he has never worked for a company like this. It is easy going, but we also want to educate our people. We are a company that focuses on teamwork. We are not coming at each other and competing with each other. It’s all about what can I do to help you serve the customer. You never have to be afraid to ask questions. I still learn new things about our product line and it is important to continue to learn, take notes and figure things out.
How has business been at the Visalia site since it opened in April 2014?
We have exceeded our initial projections and that’s a nice feeling. In fact, we have managed to go beyond our initial goal the very first month and we have increased every month since.
Was the move from Indiana to California a culture shock?
I grew up on a family farm. I’m not really a big city person. But we are not in Los Angeles or some place like that. It’s basically a rural area about three hours north of L.A. It’s a nice little town, just a little bigger than Muncie. The mountains are 1-1/2 hours away, and you can go to the beach in about three hours.
Matt Strahan - Warehouse Manager
After working for Muncie Power Products for 10 years, Matt Strahan recently made the big leap from his home state of Indiana to California to become warehouse manager of the new Muncie Power plant in Visalia in the heart of San Joaquin Valley.