DANIEL STANTON | Assurance of Delivery Leader Manufacturing Logistics and Transportation Services | Caterpillar Enterprise System Group (CESG) Caterpillar Inc.
ALAN volunteer and supply chain professional Daniel Stanton enjoys finding ways to use his expertise to serve others. When devastating tornados struck southern Illinois in late 2013, many of Stanton’s close friends lost homes, cars, and possessions. That personal connection to the disaster, as well as experiences in his youth prompted him to offer help. Stanton says growing up in the country and seeing families looking out for one another and volunteering during times of crises inspired him to serve others in need.
Stanton says that following the tornados, “There was a tremendous need, and a huge, generous outpouring of support. Government, religious, and community organizations all wanted to help. Donation collection centers sprang up, and people brought in car loads of stuff. But how on earth do you receive, sort, inventory, and distribute all of those tons of stuff? Where do you put it? You need space, you need systems, and you need trained people in order to make all of that work.”
Several voluntary organizations active in disaster (VOADs) took on the role of managing the donations, and Stanton stepped in to help. Relying on his expertise in supply chain management, he helped the VOADs map out activities, and explained what should occur at each stage of the process. But Stanton feels the most important role he played was simply helping the VOADs communicate about these activities.
Stanton says he learned a great deal from his volunteer activities, but he thinks the most critical lesson was regarding relationships. “It was wonderful to be able to learn so much, so quickly, about how to engage and how to make a difference. It would not have been possible without the connections ALAN already had in place with the disaster response infrastructure.”
He says this experience has been a stark reminder of the need to always be prepared for a disaster. “On the Friday before the tornado I was talking with a colleague about how important it is for us to support disaster response activities. Two days later his home was ripped in half. It really can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time. So today is the day to prepare.”
Stanton offers this advice to others interested in using their logistics and supply chain knowledge to volunteer for disaster response. “First, discuss it with your company and make arrangements for devoting some or all of your time to the effort. If they know you have the interest, they may be willing to give you the time off. But it is better if you can have that conversation before the disaster hits. Then, get involved with ALAN. The opportunities to get engaged, leverage your skills, and give back to the community are huge.”