It’s About Relationships -- Mary Orth is a wealth of service operations knowledge, but her real gift is in managing supplier relationships. She’s worked at the Toyota Financial Services’ Western Customer Service Center in Chandler, Arizona, for 16 years and been with the company for 31 years.
As Toyota celebrates its 60th year in the U.S., Mary Orth is celebrating her own great ride — more than 31 years at Toyota Financial Services (TFS), much of that in supplier management.
For the past 16 years, Orth has been based at TFS’ Western Customer Service Center in Chandler, Arizona, where she’s spent the past seven as a supplier relationship senior analyst. In that position, she manages a business partner that provides customer-facing financial services such as bill collection.
While TFS has a strict set of quality control measures for its financial services partners, it also values relationships, choosing to call suppliers “partners.”
“Of course, our expectations are that they perform and meet our needs, but we don’t go in and boss them around,” Orth says. “We treat them with respect and ask for their opinions. We demand great performance, risk management and compliance, but we are fair.”
Toyota vets each prospective business partner to ensure they have strong processes in place to protect customer privacy and mitigate risk. Orth says it can take 10 to 12 months to become approved to ensure a relationship that’s built to last. Once on board, Orth visits her assigned partner regularly.
During visits, Orth does compliance auditing, meets with management and conducts quarterly business reviews and focus group meetings. She also takes time to “plug in with the agents and listen to live calls.” This hands-on oversight has led to some significant partner relationships.
“Many of our partners have been around many years; some for as long as eight to 10 years,” she says.
It’s been a two-way street of mutual respect, she says, resulting in partners who value and respect the relationship with TFS.
Puppy Love -- In her spare time, Orth says everything revolves around her dogs, Roxie and Luna.
When she’s not working, Orth enjoys spending time with her two dogs Luna, a Lab and shepherd mix, and Roxie, a pit bull mix.
“Everything revolves around them,” she says.
Orth’s passions also include an interest in natural products.
“I am constantly working with my Young Living essential oil group to detox everything I use,” Orth says.
On her bucket list: a trip to Italy.
With the 60th anniversary approaching, Orth has reflected on her own anniversaries at TFS. She continues to enjoy a fulfilling career that has provided friendships with peers and learning opportunities with many managers over the years. She notes that her 28-year-old son, Phil Orth Jr., has only known her association with Toyota and has, himself, always driven a Toyota since getting his license to drive.
Orth worked briefly for another car manufacturer before joining Toyota in 1986.
“I’m glad I jumped ship when I did,” she says. “Toyota has been very good to me. I learn something new almost every day.”
By Kerry Curry