Regardless if you are a 10 Million Dollar Company or a Billion Dollar Company there are employment strategies that help make your distribution company successful.
1.) When implementing new technology it is important for the operation and management team to explain the purpose to employees.
The best implementations we have been involved with started with an internal meeting. In that meeting management explained why the new technology is important. Key personnel were involved in the decision process. Upper level management made it clear their employees were an important part of the process and those who adapted to the new software, new processes and new wireless technologies would be in great shape to help their operations grow and be profitable. Many employees want to do more and actually embrace the technology.
2.) Cross training team members Is important for growth.
The most business savvy operation managers know how critical it is to cross train employees. If you have warehouse personnel that are limited to only a specific area, for example receiving, you will not be able to leverage them in other areas quickly and dynamically. Murphy’s Law states that everything that can and will go wrong does. So if you have pickers that are sick or you have an enormous amount of orders that need to be picked/packed and shipped, your receivers are worthless if they can’t step into the process quickly and efficiently. From an employee’s perspective, doing the same thing day after day can be very depressing and mundane. Therefore, it behooves both employees and management to be trained and moved from various operations. We have a client that specifically rotates their warehouse team members every two weeks. This company happens to have doubled their sales within two years, reduced employee turn-over and increased their profits. A portion of these profits then are rewarded on an individual basis to their top performers.
3.) Tracking and rewarding top producers is critical.
Every employee is important and their direct contribution to your company should be evaluated and rewarded if positive. In the software we published there is a Productivity Inquiry that you can actually pull up any given time period or warehouse to track activities. All activities are counted and tracked to actual employees. You can clearly view which employees accomplish more during their work hours. Several of our very successful clients leverage these reports for individual bonuses or incentives.
4.) Fun Should Be Incorporated Into the Plan.
Several years back, I visited a very successful distribution company. I noticed that the operations manager, the shipping coordinator, the traffic manager and the receiving manager all had shaved heads. Although it was a very hot summer in the South and some of the managers were ex-military I thought it strange. After my curiosity sparked the worst in me, I flat out asked if this was a coincidence. They proudly showed me their “War Room” which was a conference room set in the rear of the warehouse. On a bulletin board in the back, were some accuracy and fulfillment goals clearly laid out in graph format. In big, bold letters it said “Prove to us we can increase this by this % that we can improve our speed and accuracy and we will all shave our heads.” The before and after pictures were wonderful!
5.) I Disagree with Business is Business Don’t Take It Personal.
While profitability is absolutely important and you do not want employees to bring their personal issues to work, life happens. That is precisely why one of my clients is absolutely successful in an extremely competitive and cutthroat business. Their management team stays on top of every birthday of every employee and makes it extremely special for him/her. They also grew large enough to maintain their own kitchen catered with excellent food for a very quality price in a beautiful environment, set up a basketball court, a child care center, and provided incentives for further education. Coincidentally, their employees are some of the hardest working people I have ever seen. They care about their work and the company.