FRAMINGHAM (04/10/2000) - Interviewee: Joe Plaster, vice president of electronic-business technology. He was promoted to the position March 14 from director of common systems technical support.
Company: VF Corp. (www.vfc.com), a clothing company comprising the brands Lee Jeans, Jantzen, Vanity Fair Intimates, Jansport, Wrangler Jeans and others. Its newest acquisition is Eastpak.
Main location: Greensboro, North Carolina (45 minutes west of Research Triangle Park)Number of information technology employees: About 600 nationwide. The centralized shared services group in Greensboro has about 200 people. IT and shared services staff are dispersed throughout all the business units.
Number of employees (end users): 66,000 to 70,000Tenure: 10 years total over the course of 15 years. "I've worked for VF three different times."
Why did you keep coming back? "I had left the first time because I wanted to expand my horizons. I came back because VF, from an IT standpoint and from an apparel industry standpoint, is a leader in using technology to drive business processes. And I had to wear a coat and tie in my other jobs."
Dress code: "The VF business casual products. Levi's would certainly be frowned upon."
What did your job entail before your promotion? "Technical and infrastructure support for the suite of applications that we use across the company, including the i2 supply-chain planner, SAP R/3, Logility Forecasting and [Gerber Technology Inc.'s] Web [product data management] apparel industry software."
Describe the new job: "The focus is to extend our common systems architecture out to our retail partners, customers, suppliers and vendors. We want to be more collaborative with them, and we're also planning more business-to-business e-commerce transactions, like enabling a swimsuit [retail] buyer to order Jantzen suits. And we will be an anchor tenant, along with i2, in SoftGoodsMatrix.com, a dynamic e-marketplace for collaboration with retail partners. It will allow procurement services with our vendors and suppliers, for instance, or sharing retail forecasts."
Workday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Really? "Well, in my new job I have a lot of meetings to attend, and that always means I have a lot of catching up afterward, so I'm coming in about 7:30 a.m. and working until about 6 p.m."
Employee-review process: "We get reviewed as part of the salary review administration process, which is once a year or whenever it's necessary to make an adjustment. There's movement available here - we have so many different projects that offer visibility and diverse career paths."
Security badge or card needed to get into the building or office? Yes. All the doors have security-card readers.
Kind of offices: "The shared services group is in a former bank building with a huge atrium in the middle. It doesn't lend itself to cubes, so we're mainly in offices with big 8-by-8 windows."
Must people carry beepers? Cell phones? Yes, most do. "I have both at the moment, but we have some new cell phones that I hope will allow me to get rid of my pager."
Percentage of staff that telecommutes: 1 percent to 2 percentAny on-site amenities? "I think there's a subsidy for a local health club."
The one thing everyone complains about: "Getting calls in the middle of the night"Little perks: Employee stores, annual company picnic, IT outings such as bowling, "and one of our business units provides company-branded apparel, so we have gotten some VF apparel or shirts with project logos."
Would employees feel comfortable e-mailing the CEO? "My guess is that they would be. It would have to be a personal decision."
Quote: "We have a lot of technology available to us. It's very exciting, and we face a lot of challenges."