A bit about Customer Service and Human Nature

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Hello all, Last week seemed like a long week right, I hope all was prosperous and productive for you!  Welcome to Warehouse and Operations as a Career where we discuss the Positions and Opportunities within the Warehouse, Transportation & Operations Worlds.  I’m Marty and our sole objective is to help today’s young men & women maybe break into the field, even if it’s through a general labor task and give them the pathway, keywords & experiences through our discussions & interviews to advance into Senior Management and beyond. We don’t have anything to sell, just a lot of experience and experiences, some thoughts and probably way too many opinions and the time to share them and pass them along.  Usually we publish a show once a week on Thursdays, talking about different positions, how maybe we can earn those promotions and quite a bit on Safety.  Occasionally I run across a situation or have some of those options or thoughts I’d like to share so we’ll publish it as kind of a special episode so as not to take us off our path to reach our goals or mess up our career plans!

Today I’d like to share a few situations I encountered last week and talk about a few responsibilities we each have on our new jobs.   Early last week I heard a complaint from an Over the road driver, heard many like it before and as I was traveling around different facilities I shared it a couple of times, just passing it along in hopes of avoiding it happening again, I guess you could say maybe thinking I was doing a bit of training along the way.  I felt like it could be a great Customer Service Opportunity but while speaking with several Lumpers and warehousemen I got the feeling that

1 – They didn’t know it was a part of their job, not anything specific but how we should always be focused on what’s right thing to do and what’s the wrong way of doing things AND

2 – knowing they had been trained to be focused, that they had forgotten, well maybe not forgotten, but weren’t paying enough attention to the Customer Service aspect of their task.  We all, every job, has a customer, back in my day it was called setting the plate for the next shift, for that person or position that handled the item or pallet after us, the drivers or transportation etc…

Think about it for a minute, the Lumper may have two Customers, the Driver he is unloading, he or she has other stops on the truck, we need to keep it organized, clean and not damage anybody else’s product & if we have to move any pallets around we’ll need to keep the weight distributed properly as well.  His or her second customer is the Receiver, we’ll need to segregate and separate the product properly, stack according to the proper ti & hi and place it properly in its staging area so it can be received correctly.  Oh and maybe we could count the Forklift or Put-Away person as our customers too, we need to make sure it’s stacked on a good pallet, placed squarely on the pallet and stacked tightly, maybe even wrapped insuring its ready to be racked.  The receiver’s customers could be many, the Lumpers, keeping the product tagged, received and making them plenty of room to keep working, and the fork drivers, keeping him plenty of product to haul, keeping him busy and of course all his companies accounts product, making sure it’s the right items and counts.  Then of course the forklift drivers customers could be the Order Selectors, even Inventory Control, he or she needs to get the product to the right slot or rack it properly.  Customers for the Selectors may very well be the Checkers, Shipping Clerk or the Delivery Driver.  The list goes on and on.  I feel Customer Service is a part of every position I can think of, and really isn’t it just really doing our jobs right?

Speaking of Transportation and the Driver – that may very well be the toughest job in Operations.  Not because it’s so physical necessary but the buck always stops with them.  Salesmen, brokers, dispatchers can say anything to get someone off their back and the Driver has to meet and fulfill all those promises they don’t know anything about lol.  I like to think of them as the CEO or President of their loads, they have all the responsibility for it, have to answer for EVERYONE else’s mistakes from the Customer and has the least amount of control of their whole delivery day lol.  We’ll talk a lot more about drivers and their challenges in a later episode though, it’s a very interesting and rewarding Career as well!

Where was I now….

Oh Yeah, I really do think we all should try to pay more attention and focus intently on how what we do affects the next task in the line and that it really is just doing our jobs correctly.

Wikipedia states, you all know how much I like looking up definitions all the time, Customer Service is “the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase…, couldn’t we apply that thought process to the person handling the freight after us? Shouldn’t we all, always try and Set the Plate for the next task or shift?

Anyway, back to my short story.  So this driver backed in, hired the Lumper service to unload several pallets.  The lumper pulled off his part of the load, evidently had to move a few pallets around inside the trailer to get this stop’s product out so it could be worked and then ran the other pallets he had moved down the wall of the trailer.  The driver paid for the services, got the signed bills & pulled away from the dock, got ready to close the door and discovered the rest of the load was now ran down one side of the trailer and the weight distribution was now WAY off.  The driver had to go back in and get it corrected before they could hit the road again.  To make matters worse there was a bit of a delay in getting someone with a jack to go correct it!

Of course nothing was done intentionally but his customer, being the driver was really dis-serviced. Quick example we can relate too, we all get upset when going through a drive through with our children only to find when we get home that part of our order wasn’t put in the bag or the special sandwich order wasn’t done correctly right!  I bet our first thought is of that employee that didn’t do their job correctly, probably not in those nice of terms though.  It’s all the same thing, the task just isn’t done if it’s not done correctly & I think it all starts with the mind set of doing it right and staying focused on the task right.  Yep, it’s hard, Distractions are all around us all day long but remember we’re only in our present position short term, in it for the experience & our goal is to be recognized by our management team as the absolute best at it, the easiest way of doing that is just staying focused on the task when we’re on the floor and performing the job right?

It’s just important that we stay focused, do our jobs the best that we can and remember our goal is to earn that next task, next position & next promotion.

Oh, another thing I ran into later in the week, In one of the Powered Industrial Equipment classes that was scheduled, it was a full class of 6 new Associates, one of the young gentlemen didn’t really understand, and maybe it had been poorly explained to him, that the class was 4 hours long AND he would be on-sited at the facility later that day.  A long story short, and I wasn’t actually there for the class, but after investigating I found that the associate probably could of handled his frustrations a bit better.

Remember, from the time we send in our Resume we’re asking for a job, everything we do and say from that moment on is a reflection of our Character and may be reviewed or considered by our prospective employer and once hired we’ll be meeting many others within the company, and that each one of them is really interested in us, we’re going to be helping ease their responsibilities BUT make no mistake we’re also being sized up for our experience and how well we’ll fit in, another words can we perform the job and do well at it.

Now the company has a responsibility to give us the proper opportunity to succeed, the right training and the chance to show them we’re a perfect fit for this task and perfect for the job BUT it’s our responsibility to treat everyone with respect and understand that there’s processes and procedures that have to be followed, that we have to follow.  We’ve asked for a job and been given the job.  By all means, if were asked to do something that we feel is wrong, unethical or not safe, we need to speak up immediately but let’s be professional in everything we do.  It’s never going to go our way if we raise our voices or make a scene in any way.  A new job is stressful, remember we have a lot to learn about how to perform it and how our team works together to accomplish it.

While we’re just reviewing the week I’ll share one more story that I really struggled with, I hadn’t planned on sharing it today, it really bothered me, maybe not the situation in particular but the Human Nature side of it I struggled with for a bit.  We’ve discussed that pesky human trait in a couple of different episodes and I find it keeps popping up throughout my career and I still haven’t learned to ignore it, not have I figured out how we let it overcome us in our jobs.

A Lumper, I’d call him an accomplished Unloader, a professional individual, I know he’s worked at least 3 places over the last 4 years and for the last 4 months had been working at a facility he had previously worked for before.  By all accounts he’s a great guy, works hard, shows up every day but feels it’s his responsibility to watch out for everyone else, that’s his words not mine.  He punched out and left before completing a special load he was scheduled to unload at the end of the day.  When his Supervisor called him he stated that there were two guys still there and they could unload it, he was too far away to turn around.  The following morning upon arrival to his job he was spoken to and issued a corrective action warning.  Really just told not to let it happen again, that the team all rotated throughout the month for the last trailers and when it’s his turn he just needed to stick around and wrap it up.  This evening load usually took less than 20 minutes to complete.  We’ll the gentleman took it upon himself to start arguing with his Supervisor and pointing out different instances that spanned over like a 3 month period where others had done a variety of different things and wasn’t addressed with them.  The Supervisor explained that those infractions were addressed and that he couldn’t always share disciplinary actions with everyone but that they needed to stick to the conversation at hand and lets just correct this situation going forward, calm down and lets wrap up todays loads.  The employee wouldn’t drop it and eventually was asked to take the day off, go home and calm down and come back to work the next day ready to do the job and work as a team.  We need to take care of our own jobs!  Of course if we ever feel an injustice is occurring or a member of Management is not doing his or her job in a professional manner or fairly we have the right and should go to the next person in line and share our concerns, that’s their job.  It is not our job though to be concerned with others jobs, nor should we assume we know how others have been dealt with.  We’re on OUR Career path & we have our OWN goals in mind, we should do our Job and be concerned with doing it to the best of our ability.  Again, I understand sometimes it’s difficult to follow directions, it’d probably be easier if we know the Why but that’s just not always going to be the case.  Let’s do our part, do it well, go cash our checks and reach for that next position and task.  The gentleman lost two days’ pay for absolutely no reason other than he wanted to get in the last word on something that should have been as easy as saying “I know what you’re saying and I’ll check with someone next time” Done – it would have been over with!

On a much more typical note, I had the honor of working with 4 young men heading toward their goals of leadership, it’s going to be exciting working with them over the next quarter and I’ll be sure and share how well their doing as they progress to their future Supervisor roles!

If you have a Customer Service or Setting the Plate story or a promotion or advancement you’d like to share with our group shoot me an email to host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and I’ll put it in a show, maybe we can all learn from it and save an error on our part.  Thanks for listening in today, please post on our Twitter and Facebook pages if you found or heard anything interesting and tell a friend about our program.  Have a great week & speak up at your start-up Safety meeting tomorrow, get noticed and get on your supervisor’s radar as that employee that’s really interested in a Culture of Safety!

Do your work with all your heart and you will succeed.” ~Elbert Hubbard

Twitter from @managersdiary

 

Wikipedia.com

The Pallet Runner Position & The Pallet Jack

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Thanks for reaching out and catching Todays Show! I’m Marty with Warehouse and Operations as a Career. One of the most utilized and versatile pieces of equipment in operations is the Pallet Jack.  Wither it’s a Manual Jack, which by the way helped revolutionize the movement of freight, the first models, around 1918, were operated with mechanical linkage only.  Today’s manual jacks use hydraulics for lifting.  The Electric Pallet Jack can be used for much heavier loads and over the years have become an important item in today’s productivity driven warehouses.

I was asked about the position of Pallet Runner, “what are their duties and does every operation use them”.  Not all warehousing operations use this position, it’s an In-Direct expense position and sometimes difficult to justify unless there’s quite a bit of distance to cover.  A Pallet Runner can be utilized by the Receiving Operation, a person that takes the pallets of received product from the dock and runs it across wide docks and into the storage aisles for the forklifts to put-away or place in the racks for storage.  In many instances it’s much more productive to bring the pallets to the forklift instead of them navigating the docks and eating up all that travel time.  A pallet runner can navigate the environments much safer & quicker than the fork lift operators can, their machines are much larger with obstructed views and they have to really use caution when operating in high traffic areas.  The same holds true for the Shipping Operations, the freight can be brought to the docks after selection for the loading process, in the larger facilities its actually the order selector, with their pallet jacks, that are responsible for bringing the product from the aisles, across the docks and to the staging areas for the loading process, I’ve seen them actually responsible for wrapping and loading them into the trailers as well.  Many of today’s operations may use a single jack or a double and even triple pallet jacks for moving freight across the docks from the receiving areas to the aisles, carrying up to three times the cube or volume with each minute spent in travel time.  We’ll be discussing travel time, a huge expense in our industry by the way, when we get into the Supervisory Positions in later episodes.

It’s not a position that every warehouse probably has a need for, especially in the Production buildings as the movement of freight needs are quite different from a Distribution Facility.

Generally the electric pallet jacks are our first experiences with powered industrial equipment, many times they can be the first added duty, or step if you will, while working at the General Labor task.  There may be an pay increase given to us if our job will be involving a substantial portion of our day operating the equipment but remember, we’re just interested in this position for the experience and education being given to us, it’s like school but we’re getting paid and NOT paying for it!  The Electric Pallet Jack will probably be our first step or goal in our career path!

Since we’re here and talking so much about the pallet jack let’s explore it for a bit.  The modern EPJ, LOL a term used by people that don’t really use them is really a great piece of equipment.  There many different types, you may use a center drive, a unit with a compartment you stand in and a handle that swings towards you that you turn with and a throttle bar that rolls away from you for forward and towards you for reverse.  Many models have a Deadman or emergency brake that you hold down with your foot, once released the machine comes to an immediate stop.  For regular braking you PLUG the machine, known as plugging, or reversing the motor.  When going forward and you wish to slow or stop you would simply roll back on the throttle bar reversing your motion.  Another type of unit is the End Control, there’s a platform you stand on with a handle that swings away from you that you steer by extending and moving from left to right, again utilizing a throttle bar or flipper type controls.  Then of course there’s the various models of Walkie Jacks, jacks you do not ride but walk with.  A quick search on the Internet will produce a wide array of specialty units, a few I’d even reference as hand controlled lifts.  Each model has its own unique uses and productivity usually determines what you’ll be using to perform your assigned tasks.

As with any piece of Powered Industrial Equipment we’ll be using there will be training involved.  These units aren’t all that difficult to operate but we have to be trained on them.  As with any machine or piece of equipment with moving parts they can be dangerous, we can hurt ourselves and others if not properly operated with Safety being our focus.  As we know there will be a 29CFR1910.178 class given to us and some training and do’s and don’ts for the individual tasks that are assigned to us.

One thing to mention is your toes & ankles, if you cruise Twitter at all you’ve probably seen a tweet about pallet jacks and toes.  Many a bruised, crushed or injured toes and ankles are up and down the feeds! I strongly suggest, in ANY warehouse environment, utilizing Steel Toe boots or shoes.  They can be cheap ones or name brand’s but get a pair!  Be careful and keep your feet away from the jacks and from under pallets at all times.  Fingers too, I’ve heard of many a busted finger, even wrists hands, It’s easy to get your fingers and hands injured by running the steering handle into something.  Be careful and put your training to practice.  Oh and skateboarding, don’t skateboard on manual jacks, we’ve all seen it done & you will eventually hurt yourself or someone else!

Oh, I just thought about a gentleman’s Safety story I’ll share real quick.  When you have any type of accident or even a small incident, actually even if you’re just observed operating any type of powered equipment in an unsafe manner you have to be removed from using the equipment until your retrained on it.  I know of a person, he had been operating the pallet jack for several years, was what I’d call very proficient at it, and he had 2 different minor incidents, neither caused a lot of damage and no one was injured but he had been taken off the equipment and retrained after the first one, He had just possibly gotten too comfortable with his job, maybe had some outside of work things going on or for whatever reason wasn’t focused on Safety and had the second incident like a month later.  He of course had to be removed from his position, he was placed in a job that does not use equipment AND pays almost $2/hr less.  An employer cannot over look negligence and unsafe acts in the workplace.  It’s for everyone’s safety and it’s just the rules.  Please pay attention and practice what we’re taught in training, it’s part of being the professional we’re wanting to be right?

Manual & Electric Jacks may be assigned to most all G/L Depts for use, Sanitation may use them for moving trash bins and pallets out of the way for sweeping, Inventory Control may need to move pallets around for counting purposes, Unloading or Lumpers will use them for staging products and in the Production Warehouses typically one or two people in every dept may be trained on their use as there’s always a need to move products around to the different work stations.  Remember, we want to be the one that raises our hand if asked, and let our Supervisors and Managers know that we want to learn them, we want to take on that added responsibility as it’s a step in our long term Plan, it’s kind of our 2nd short term Goal, the first of course was get our foot in the door right?  The following step may just be the Forklift positions and this will help prepare us for its use as well.

I think we’ve answered our question about the Pallet Runner position and I really enjoyed talking about the Electric Jacks today.  It’s so interesting, as I travel around to the many different types of warehouses to hear all the different names and terminology that are used when talking about the equipment we use daily, your facility may call them by other names but their uses are really all the same.  If you’d like to see all the different models available today check them out on-line or on YouTube, there’s some really interesting ones out there.  Remember it’s a part of our Plan to educate ourselves, learn those keywords and actions that will get us noticed by our management team & BE that employee that’s asked to take on more duties and responsibilities!

Please send us any questions, comments or suggestions by email at host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com or post them on our Twitter or Facebook Pages or the Comments section on the website.  Participation is education and that’s all our Goal.  We all get busy with our Jobs and our personal lives, but let’s be sure to include Safety and Learning in our daily routines, make it a habit, we all have Family waiting on us at the end of our Shifts!

Temporary Staffing Agencies

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Hello all and Welcome to today’s episode of Warehouse and Operations as a Career.  I’m Marty and I’ve gotten a number of questions about Temporary Staffing and are they a good place to get started in warehousing.  That’s actually a very good question and I do have a few thoughts, probably more like opinions on the subject!  I also reached out to a very good friend for his thoughts and expertise in the fields and he’ll be sharing his opinions with us today as well!

I feel that Temporary Staffing Agencies can be a good avenue for that quick job or income.  When I think of Temporary Agencies I think of three different situations.

Day Labor – I know of several agencies where you show up, fill out a short application & are given Day assignment or short term assignments that are strictly G/L or general labor tasks, maybe where a number of bodies are needed to make something happen.  Again, a great avenue for a check but I don’t feel you should use such for a long term need as typically you’ll not be using any equipment or be exposed to any machine or production usage or training.

Temporary Placement – These may be longer lasting positions or placements, typically of a G/L nature requiring minimum training.  I feel these placements can, or at least we could have an opportunity to be taught some skills and an opportunity to be involved in Warehouse operations to a greater degree than a day labor or just some needed bodies of a day labor placement.

Then there’s more of a Temp to Perm placement, or a placement that may offer more skills training or machine or equipment usage.  Simply put a company could need several associates to get caught up on projects or a backlog of work and may hire on or bring onboard a number of new boots and increase the company’s headcount.  Let’s be honest with our selves here, the workers that show up on time, ready to work every day and excel through any training and following direction and can bring productivity to the shift are of course the ones that could be offered full time work with the company.  I’ve heard of transitions occurring as quickly as 30 days and as long as 11 months or more.  Think of it being a probation period, is the employee a good fit for the company and even is the company a good fit for us?

I believe there’s quite a few companies using temporary workers today due to the ease of finding people and the opportunity to take the worker for a test drive, if you will, before being out the expense of going through the whole on-boarding process, the training and even risk of an actual employee.

Now that we’ve discussed my thoughts on what a Staffing company is let’s look at how we can use them to our advantage & get something out of them.

We’ve talked about how to use the Resume and the Interview to get our desires across to the recruiter or hiring agent & I can’t help but feel there even more important when dealing with an agency.  We need to be sure and get our wants across to whomever will be working on our placement that we get the type of position we’re interested in and something we will do well at.

In today’s world it’s so easy to check out reviews of any business or industry, now we need to keep in mind that not all reviews or comments are written with the best intentions or even will be factual but we should be able to ascertain the overall spirit of the agency.  Remember, one thing I hope we’re learning is that it’s our responsibility to research or educate ourselves to be a great employee right?

A couple of questions I might ask or look into could be:

What kind of assignments/jobs do they offer?

What kind of training are they offering or willing to do?

Do they offer any certifications?

Is this a Short term, long term or temp to perm opportunity?

 

You know it may be worth our time to accept a short term position if it affords us the opportunity to show our wiliness to work and prove our interest in a position.  Kind of answering their test drive question!

To sum up my thoughts I’d say yes, a temporary or Staffing Agency can be a great place to get started in the industry but I feel it’s still our responsibility to get out of it what we’re after, which is a position we can learn, master and grow within!

We want to get our foot in the door and go from there right?

Well there’s my opinions or thoughts and today we actually have John on the phone with us, John started his career as a warehouseman for a national foodservice distribution industry leader and today is a National V.P. of Operations for a Light Industrial Sourcing Company.

Our visit with John is very interesting and informational, we really enjoyed hearing his thoughts and opinions brought up in our discussions! Be sure to check out the Episode and catch his input.

And I’d like to Thank all of you, our listeners, and encourage you to ask questions or share your thoughts and participate on the Website on our Facebook or Twitter @WhseandOps as we all learn from each other.  Till next week, be Safe in all you do and watch the Distractions in our work AND personal life – someone’s counting on each of us!

“Forklift Driver”

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Thanks for listening in with us today!  Since we were talking about one of the Warehousing positions utilizing Powered Industrial Equipment we of course had to start off with a few comments about 29CFR1910.178 again, I know your probably tired of hearing about it if you’ve listened to all our shows but it’s a rule, and as you know I’m a strong believer in practicing every Safety thought and every regulation! I encourage you to go on line at OSHA.gov and check out the entire regulation, it’s very of insightful and we want to be professionals right?

We spoke to a few of the Industrial Lifts today that may be seen in the warehousing fields we’re familiar with, both Electric and Propane, Sit-down Counterbalanced lifts, several Stand-up Lifts and a few Specialized Lifts, all of which could be used in a facility depending on its needs.

Discussing the possible differences between Production facilities and the Distribution environments was interesting.  We reviewed a few of the hazards one could encounter and hit on a few of the many responsibilities the Forklift Driver could be accountable for.

Forklift operation is dangerous, you have to stay focused on the task and there is absolutely no room for horseplay of any type.  We talked about a few of the training topics and scenarios we’ll hear about and learn during our training and the importance of putting what we’ll learn to practice.  We want to be the most Safety conscience operator in our Facility right?  There are Responsibilities that come along with the position, in the job we do and the Safety practices it demands.

In my opinion experience in a warehouse environment is the only path to the Forklift positions, it’s important not to rush it, I’ve known several young people that jumped on a lift too early in their Careers only to get discouraged and face a long term set back regarding the position.  I loved my time on a forklift and learned a lot about product movement and the warehouse, it’s a great position and can be very rewarding.

I hope we answered some of your questions & you feel you got something out of today’s show, please leave us a comment on the website or on our Facebook Page, by participating we can all learn from each other!  Have a great week and let’s make Caution the word of the Month!  Think of a Safety thought and send it to us, I’ll post it on the website and we’ll share it on an upcoming episode!

And check out this link from Ace Equipment I found on Twitter, its very informative! http://www.acelifting.com/blog/tips-operating-forklift/

 

 

“A New Quarter and a New Year”

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Happy New Year! Marty here, Welcome to Warehouse and Operations as a Career, to a New Quarter & a New Year and all the new Opportunities I know there will brought with them!  I thought we’d do a quick recap of last quarter’s shows and talk about a subject that’s came up two or three times recently which is Human Nature in the workplace. I hope you had a great 2016 & I’m sure you’re ready to tackle 2017, I know I am and my plans are to change the things I can and knock down any other barriers in the way! We had a lot of Fun last quarter & we’ve covered a lot of ground and information. I thought as we work our way on through the warehouse and its many positions we should discuss or review where we’ve been and where we’re going.  We spoke with Mike in episode 11, he’d spent about 26 years with the same company, performing 4 different tasks or positions within 3 different departments, even venturing into Supervision for a while and landing, followed by his passion for maintenance back to the job or task that he loved in Facility Maintenance, we had Joe visit with us on Safety, he’s held several positions across 3 facilities, coming from the military into production, then to distribution, into management and now pursuing his Safety certifications and instructor qualifications.  We’ve spoken with Rodrigo, coming from a totally unrelated career, coming up through G/L in the produce world to receiving, heading up several departments and now a Regional Manager with something like 8 Facilities, around 13 Supervisors and 150 employees that he oversees.  The common denominator being all these men started their careers as Warehouse General Labor.

We’ve discussed some of the Whse procedures like GOP’s, SOP’s and Preferred Work Methods, John was nice enough to walk us through the Recruiting process and we learned the many different types of Resumes, their purpose and how to put them together and control our Interview and feel much more comfortable with the process I hope.  We’ve learned a bit about Sanitation & Unloading, two great G/L positions we can use to get our feet firmly on the ground in a warehouse, I hope we all enjoyed the Interview with Abraham as he shared his story with us and how he became a Unloading Manager running his team at large Distribution Facility.  We recently was introduced to Order Selecting, discussed the basics & will be speaking with a few Selectors in an upcoming episode, I’m really looking forward to hearing their ideas and comments about the position!  Although we’ve only touched on the Production warehouse I believe we looked deeply enough to understand the different opportunities it can bring us, Oh Yeah, we discussed the Facility Orientation, and I hope learned its importance and possibly how to coach our supervisor to share all our interest with us.

I hope the recurring theme here at WAOC has been picked up on, that being, that what separates a Job & a Career is each of us, I believe with all my heart that a Job, if we love what we’re doing, is great, if it can take care of our families & we’re good at it it’s perfectly fine to settle in and be the best at it.  But if we want more, to stay challenged, to accept more responsibility & make more money then we are responsible to educate ourselves, push ourselves & continuously strive for more opportunities from our peers and managers. Thinking that way & feeling that way turns the Job into a Career right, we’re in it for the long haul!

I’ve heard people say that the workplace has changed over the years or that companies no longer strive for long lasting employment and In my opinion that’s just pure bunk.  I’m not sure why anyone would say that, think about it, training is expensive, burning through employees is not efficient, I can give you 50 examples right now of employees I know that have been with companies for over 20 years and are planning on retiring from them.  Yes, without getting into economic reasoning, the politics involved, mergers or Wall Street objectives there are reductions within the workforce, layoffs and department closings but that honestly has little to do with what we’re talking about.  We’re after a Career, we’re on a course or path here, and we’re committed to being that Employee that participates, engages with the job, and learns the next step as we’ve mastered each task given to us.  Working with and using Management if you will for the education we need through experiences right?

I believe no matter what happens within the company or Corporations that the employees producing and growing with the company, doing a great job for his management team is going to be the one that’s held onto at all costs, it only makes sense right?

Now we do have some responsibilities ourselves, we need to grow personally & professionally, remember working for a check each week is fine, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that and doesn’t take a lot of additional effort from us on a daily or weekly basis but we need to accept that that’s what we’ve chosen to do.  Now on the other hand, if we continue our learning, growing our experiences, raising our hand at every opportunity, doing that extra task & wanting that next step, participating with our peers and management teams I believe that individual will be noticed, time and teaching will be spent with them and your strengths and goals will become your employers’?

Something I hear from both New Managers or Supervisors as well as seasoned members of management is how they deal with, and sometimes don’t deal with well, is Human Nature.  They may not always use the words Human Nature but it’s expressed with our actions, moods, and words in so many ways. I personally refer to Human Nature, and too many times blaming it as an obstacle to accomplishing a task.  I was asked by a young Lead what did I mean by Human Nature?  I couldn’t answer the question, to kind of quote one of our Supreme Justices I just know it when I see it lol.

Wikipedia.org prints that Human Nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics – including ways of thinking, feeling, and acting which humans tend to have naturally. Merriam Webster.com says: The nature of humans: especially: the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans.  Examples in a sentence You can’t change human nature.  It’s interesting that it states the First known use of Human Nature as 1594!  The definition of Human Nature for English Language Learners is printed as: the ways of thinking, feeling and acting that are common to most people.  I think that kind of nails the definition that I use.  We’re working on our Careers, we don’t want to do anything like “most people” We want to stand out from the crowds, from the other unloaders, order selectors, fork drivers, Leads, Supervisors, Managers etc – We want to be noticed, we need to be the ones willing to work that extra hour, come in early or learn that new task.  Not only for the money but for the experience, we want to keep moving towards that next position or promotion right?  I guess I always want to look beyond the Human Nature I seek out the individual that’s not following the programmed path in us but waving others on to follow them and forge ahead.

I think one of the larger responsibilities we have is too ourselves, we need to protect ourselves at all times, many times from ourselves. A quick example of how dangerous we can be to ourselves, and I’ve seen this repeated many times over the years.  An employee turns in their 2 week notice, his or her Managers of course hate to see them go, I mean they must be pleased with us because we’re employed one must assume doing a good job.  The company starts looking for our replacement for them to train & then the employee comes to the office saying something like “I’m not really unhappy but I think you should have asked me what’s wrong or maybe given me a raise or something”.  DON’T DO THAT, communication is ALWAYS a problem solver, always go state your case to your manager before assuming that you’re being taken for granted.  It’s not necessarily right but think about it, when we’re doing a good job and doing it well, and if we’re not constantly pushing ourselves in front of the management teams faces isn’t it possible that they get comfortable with us, I mean that’s one less area they have to worry about, they know we’re going to get our job done so it’s not one of their worries right?  Now if we go talk with them about our concerns I can almost guarantee they’ll recognize our concern immediately.  Once we give them our notice that opportunity changes!  We’re all only human, take a breath & ask for a meeting!

Another thing we sometimes do to ourselves, and I’ve found myself doing it many times throughout my Career is thinking I know the end game or objective lol.  A lot of times were given a task or direction and, not having all the facts or information that’s been passed on to the management teams I saw no sense in changing the process or procedures I was performing.  A quick example, I was working as the warehouse side of Inventory Control for a while, I was directed to start writing down the locations where I found pallets of product, their locations.  Didn’t see any sense in taking the time to do that as the next pallet that came in would just be placed somewhere else.  I was working in a NON-DIRECTED warehouse at the time, meaning no product was sent to specific slots and nothing was actually recorded, the fork drivers just knew where the product was by kind of memorizing where they had seen it.  Little did I know that I could have saved myself several weekends of working if I had just made those records, we were installing a Directed Warehouse Management System in several months, and boy did I wish I had followed direction.  It’s easy to get too comfortable in our task, it’s important to seek explanations and ask questions, keep learning and educating ourselves.

Another BIG responsibility we have, we’ve mentioned it several times & it’s an important one when chasing advancement is Attendance.  Yes when an employee misses a day or is late, and of course it’s necessarily sometimes, but when we’re not there we are going to miss something, a learning opportunity or an explanation for something.  Think about it, everyday a new challenge is presented to us regarding what we do, we experience different things every day right?   And that’s fine if it’s just a job to us, but if we want to turn it into a Career we could miss an opportunity to learn something!

I was in a meeting a while back, a Facility was discussing recalibrating their warehouse, recubing several aisles for product flow.  There was a young Supervisor setting in on the meeting, she’d never heard a lot of the terms or reasoning discussed before but was very attentive.  A day later I was asked to visit with her as she had a few questions.  She explained that she had done some research and wanted to make sure that she understood what she had looked up and learned, I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing everything with her.  She would have only been responsible for implementing any directions given to her for her team, yet she took it upon herself to educate herself to what was discussed, now she is one of the Leads for the project!  She accomplished that for herself, participated & will now have an accomplished experience to carry with her for life.

I’m really excited as we enter this 1st quarter of a new year.  A quarter is one of those financial or reporting words for every 13 weeks or 3 months of a 12 month period.  I had a great 4th quarter of last year putting together the WAOC podcast and I’m looking forward to this New Year with each of you.  Again I’ll promise to share my thoughts and opinions & work hard at gathering people for us to visit with that have the experience and know how to share with us in a positive way, helping us achieve our goals!

I have several Episodes in the works that I’m really excited about, a few of them to keep us on our path discussing the many Positions in Warehousing, Transportation & Operations and several Interviews with the Men & Women performing the task, we’ll let them explain how to be the absolute best at the job, and hear their personal stories and maybe get some direction and tips with our Advancement as well!

I’ve been asked to talk about the many different Fork Driver positions, we’re working on that now.

And we’re putting together a great Interview with a V.P. of Operations with a National Sourcing Company, another Op’s man that started on the docks and held many different positions, even ventured into the Technology fields for a while!

Oh and staying on track this 1st quarter we’ll be talking about several other positions like:

Pallet Runners and Pallet Sorters

Product Packers – Inventory Control and Inbound Receivers!

We’ll mix in a few Interviews and hear how some of these positions can be used as spring boards, giving us the experience needed to take those next steps, Oh and we’ll be putting together an in depth dive into the Safety arena & learn where all that department can take us as well!

We hope to have a You Tube Channel up and running shortly so we can share some specialized Equipment as well, maybe have some demonstration and diagram videos to help explain their use and operation! Remember now be kind with us, we’re Op’s people, not Audio and Video experts but we’ll do our best!

 

I want to a moment and Thank each of you for visiting with us each week and I hope we’re helping you in some small way with your path to success and with a Career you can have until you want to retire with that nest egg to take care of your family with!  Make those 2017 goals, write them down and check them off as you reach each of them, plan your path & integrate Safety into everything you do, every aspect of your Friends and Families lives!  Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page, Participate in our discussions & Suggest topics, I’d love for you to send us an email address, we occasionally send out articles and printed information you may find interest in, remember we have no widgets or products to sell you, all we’re peddling is free thoughts and opinions, – we’re just having a blast learning from each other!  Until next week, be prosperous and Be Safe Out There, we all have others counting on us!