Hello and I appreciate you listening in with us here at Warehouse and Operations as a Career today, I’m Marty and today I’d like to share a question posed to our WAOC group. I had a great time researching for this episode. I sent out a few questionnaires to Supervisors and Managers I know soliciting their thoughts and advice, I posed the same question to each of them and not surprising all the answers we’re practically carbon copies of each other! Let me kind of set the stage a bit. The scenario is an associate with about 3 years warehouse experience in a distribution facility. Their present position is as an Order Selector and he has experience as a forklift driver in past production positions. Overall he’s worked about 5 years in 3 different warehouses and appears to possess the necessary skills and training. He states “I know I’m an average selector and my errors are well within the norm. I always receive my productivity bonus and I’ve never had an accident of any kind. I want to do more but I feel like my supervisor doesn’t even know I’m here, she’s always nice, says hello and answers any questions, which I hardly ever need anything anyway. WAOC is always talking about Getting Noticed & Be that person so what else do I need to do. I’ve only been tardy one time and haven’t missed many days at all. Any ideas? And in parentheses he’s put please don’t use my name.
It sounds like the gentleman is on the right track without a doubt. Attendance and being on time is a large piece of our advancement pie. Getting noticed isn’t always easy and yes it’s possible to do everything 100 percent correct and find that our Supervisors just don’t see it. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes for a minute. They have an employee they can count on, shows up everyday and produces for them. We make there jobs easier. So yes, even though we may be sharing our goals with them, their comfortable with us in the position we’re in, shoot, we may be the reason this part of their job is going so well. So, all we need to do is make another part of there job, or all of their duties easier. We need to show them we can help in other ways too.
WAOC tries to stress the importance of self-education and impressing others, heck impressing ourselves for that manner. Honestly its so easy, I sometimes think we make it so hard on ourselves because the information and words we need are around us and used everyday. We know all the key words, those attention grabbers that will, without a doubt, get us noticed. Noticed by not only our boss but their boss as well.
We’ve talked a lot about the use of keywords before. Not complements towards our management teams but words that means something to them, things that they are held accountable for. Today lets talk about a few words that will get their attention. You’ll be able to identify where their concerns are or what their focused on and you will get noticed by them. Remember we’re going to make their jobs easier and at the very least we’re going to speak to what’s on their mind. We don’t have to be proficient at any of this, we just need to be able to use the vocabulary & be able to speak to it a little.
First let’s look at a few reporting words:
Productivity: Warehouse productivity is a number of measurements that management will analyze to monitor the performance of their warehouse operations. The basis of many of the measures used in warehouse productivity is based on how much it costs to perform an operation. The study of labor productivity started with the analysis of repetitive operations in a manufacturing environment. Time and motion studies were performed by industrial engineers, who would observe how long line operators took to do certain operations and would then mathematically calculate standard times for operations.
The warehouse operations are unlike production as they are not repetitive, but a number of measures have been devised to help measure warehouse productivity.
That’s a bit deep and at this stage, I feel, we don’t have to figure out the How, or how to arrive at these numbers as much as we need to know the What and Why. The What being the numbers expected from us, 210 cs/hr, 31 Replenishments/hr, 28 Putaways/hr, 750 cs Received an hour, or 450 linier ft moved per hour etc, whatever Industry numbers or measurement number your facility is asking for. And it’s perfectly fine to ask the Why, and we should understand the importance of why. As an example, we need to pick 210 cs/hr so we can load 500cs/hr so the trucks can dispatch on time. These are just made up numbers, you know your numbers as their being discussed daily, or hopefully they are, if not there’s your first subject to discuss with your Supervisor!
Throughput is the rate at which a company can produce finished goods on a consistent basis. While different companies can apply throughput in different ways, a common way a warehouse might measure throughput is as a measurement of how many finished goods can be moved through the warehouse on a daily basis. By measuring the warehouse throughput, management can determine how much warehouse labor expense to include in the cost per unit
Every warehouse I know of really measures throughput using different components but usually it will be something like total cases divided by total hours will be your throughput number. This is a number your management team could use for measuring how well and efficient the operation is running.
Standards of measurements by which efficiency, performance, progress, or quality of a plan, process or product can be assessed.
We know how many cases are received each day, how many trucks come in to unload, how many pallets all that freight is broken down on each day. Just like we know everything in reverse on the Shipping side or how many cases are pulled and how many trucks are loaded for dispatch, and we’ll know how many units are produced on a shift and boxed up for shipping to how many customers had ordered them. These numbers are used to measure everything in operations and each number is needed to measure something else.
Again, we hear all these words and numbers weekly. The power is in understanding them enough to bring them up to our Supervisor. If he or she is not familiar with them I assure you that you just met your new best friend. And if they are being held accountable for them he or she will be sharing much more with you if you’re truly interested in them. I’m pretty sure we will now be noticed and noticed in a positive way. Remember, its conversation, don’t come across like an expert, just bring them up in conversation and it should be perfectly fine to ask about them.
A couple of other things that can help us get noticed could be a little knowledge about any Audits our management teams could be responsible for. We’ve discussed a couple of different audits before, In episode 2 we ran through a few of the 3rd party Sanitation and operational ones as well as a few governmental agencies as well, I believe it was titled A Few Thoughts on Regulatory, GMP’s, SOP’s and PWM’s. It’d be great if you have a few minutes to review them, it has quite a few talking points your Supervisors should really enjoy sharing and discussing with you.
Two quick subjects every lead and supervisor should take notice too are our GMP’s and SOP’s so I’d like to talk about them for a few minutes.
As we’ve learned, General Maintenance Practices can include, and probably should include, all of our facility sanitation and warehouse rules.
GMP’s can be written simple or pretty complex, every facility will be different but there are a few that are just Warehousing 101 like:
No gum chewing or using mints or candy in the warehouse
No glass containers outside of the breakroom
No soda’s or sugary drinks on the warehouse floor
No civilian or personal jackets outside the locker room
No lunch containers outside the lunch room
Clean up spills of any kind immediately
Do not place boxes on the floor always utilize pallets
Cover any cuts and scabs with a bandage
Smoking in designated areas only
No spitting in the warehouse, including in the trash cans
Segregate damages in the specified areas
And SOP’s: or Standard Operating Procedures
Arrive to work on time and dressed for work wearing all required PPE’s or personal protective equipment
Proceed to the equipment charging area, retrieving your assigned jack and performing your Pre-trip inspection of the equipment
Sign into your selection equipment and pull your first batch down
Proceed to the first slot and complete your batch
Stage and wrap pallets at the assigned door
Proceed to the empty pallet area and retrieve pallets
Pull down your second batch and proceed to completion
Of course, that’s a quick example but you get the idea. Remember we learned that Documentation is the important key with GMP’s and SOP’s, if it’s not documented that you’re doing it the Auditor will assume you’re not doing it!
Properly having and documenting all Safety procedures are very important as well, from general safety rules to exactly describing the procedures for cleaning spills, properly lifting product and procedures for stacking pallets and controlling walkways. Pre and Post trip inspections of equipment and a good Lock out Tag out program are good examples as well.
You mention a few of these at the right moment or bring them up in a conversation and again, you will be noticed.
Share your thoughts and ideas, participate during every Safety meeting and you’ll be showing your management team how interested you are in the job and the company. I can’t help but feel they will notice you, and notice their working with someone interested in a career!
I read once, and I apologize I’m not sure where – that Luck is just when preparation and opportunity meet. I feel we can control both of these. We’ve discussed several times here at WAOC how it’s our responsibility or us as Associates to be a bit self-educated, listen and learn during every shift, we’re exposed to so much about the company and its inner workings every day. And our Managers give us plenty of opportunities to show them what we’ve learned. Use those start up meetings and safety meetings to speak up, an opportunity to slide in a little of our learned knowledge will present itself.
We’ve covered a lot of ground today, it’s easy, it’s really simple to get noticed by the management team. If we’re there and on-time every shift the self-education will come easy, we’re around it every day. The only part that some find difficult is bringing it up and participating, just do it, you’ll find it’s just that easy and its appreciated.
I hope we answered the question and you’ve picked up a pointer or two or at least a couple of ideas to try or throw out there at your next meeting or chat with your supervisor. If we here at WAOC can help you with an individual question or situation just shoot us a email to email@example.com and we’ll share our thoughts and probably an opinion or two with you. Thanks for listening to us today, and we’d appreciate it if you’d check the show out again next week. Until then lets all Listen, Learn, Participate and Share! Please work and live Safe, we have many people counting on us!