Alum McAfee of Packaging Resources, Inc., Presented in William’s MGT 301

Posted: Saturday, May 11th 2013 at 10:55 AM

April 25, 2013 Roy McAfee ('06 FIN) of Packaging Resources, Inc. (PRI), (web site HERE) presented in Associate Professor Susan Williams' MGT 301 classes.

McAfee currently lives and works in Chicago for PRI, a distributor of food packaging for customers like Kraft. PRI is focused on finding solutions to packaging problems that their customers have. PRI's motto is “Inspiring ideas in food packaging.”

McAfee was instrumental in IML Container’s (a customer of PRI) decision to locate a facility here in Flagstaff (full article HERE).

McAfee's first job was as an investment banker, but he moved on to find his current position with PRI. His primary role is sales manager and business development. Because it is a small company (11 people), he is involved in more of the decision making in a variety of areas than he would be in a larger corporate environment.

McAfee talked about the challenges of conducting business ethically. In one scenario, a supplier asked what other suppliers were bidding. He had to handle the situation carefully and not reveal confidential information. He went through a case study with the students, including his "Death by Forecast" predictions to help demonstrate his approach to risk.

Says Williams, "A theme in the class is that operations is about trade-offs and finding the right balance between cost and other objectives like customer service. Roy talked about 'death by  forecast' and that there are two risks when he needs to decide how much to order: inventory risk – order too much and it’s expensive; and service risk – order too little and you’ll stock out and not serve your customers well. So his dilemma fit nicely into the theme of the class.

"He gave an interesting cost analysis that integrated accounting, pricing, operations and logistics. This shows that problems that he is solving are not just in the marketing silo or the operations silo or the accounting silo. PRI had a new product that they weren’t making as much money on (perhaps losing money on) as they expected from their initial analysis. Roy had to track down the errors and was able to improve some of the transportation logistics to save money which also corrected the cost issue.

"Roy discussed ethical relations with vendors and lent some credibility to the topic that it should be taken seriously.  So many people think it’s a game but as Roy summarized in a follow up email – professional responsibility is important."

Student feedback showed appreciation for hearing McAfee's insights, as summarized by Williams:

  • Appreciated his openness and willingness to answer questions directly
  • Appreciated hearing that he didn’t settle for a job he wasn’t happy in and found a better fit

  • Appreciated having so much time for questions and discussion

  • Sharing the real world

  • Appreciate knowing that what we learned in this class is useful

  • Appreciate knowing that business ethics is important.

Categories: roy mcafee guest speaker spring 2013 packaging resources, inc. pri susan williams mgt 301 iml container alumni