“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!

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