4th Quarter 2017 – Preparing for a Richer “2018”

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Well the 4th quarter of 2017 is coming to a close.  Marty here with you at Warehouse and Operations as a Career.  Your Company’s probably been busy this month with a lot going on.  Many facilities may be not only closing the books on the month but have the quarterly reporting going on as well as the end of the year.  For us on the floor, if our Fiscal year, or financial year is ending we are probably seeing asset list being made and Inventories being taken.  I remember having to account for every pallet, battery, freezer suit, really everything we used in the warehouse.  My Supervisor and manager would really stress over having the answers for the accountants and their bosses at the end of the year.  And Inventory, or the counting of every box and case of product in the building, a time consuming endeavor to say the least.  Your facility may actually shut down operations and solicit help from the salesforce and all the other departments to perform this yearly function.  Even if your company utilizes a cycle count system, meaning every item is counted a specific number of times a year to keep inventory levels accurate at all times a total inventory may be requested around this time of year.  Of course, as we in Operations know the product so well, not to mention every nook and cranny of the warehouse we’ll usually play a big part in the task.  I guess it’s just a part of the job right, and may even provide us with a good amount of over time.  For me the dread was always having to work with salesmen or the people from the other departments that knew nothing about the product or even how to count the ti’s and hi’s or pallets.  Personally, I was glad when a full blown inventory was over, and we could get started on a new year.

Speaking of a new year it’s just about here isn’t it.  The new year is a great time to reboot and catch that 2nd wind, kind of makes me reflect on the past year and welcome the new one in.  Here at WAOC we’ve talked quite a bit of the importance of Goals in our Career’s, we’ve set several for ourselves this year, how’d you do, did we accomplish all we wanted too?  Several of our listeners worked for and received that promotion, got noticed by their management teams and earned that raise they wanted or earned that next position.  I’d like to think we all did a great job this year, let’s all pat ourselves on the back and give ourselves a big round of applause!

Seriously though, it is time to plan out next year now, if we want to make 5 grand more next year than we did this year that’s only $2.40 an hour we need to make at regular time this year, and we can somewhat control our wages so it’s guaranteed we can.  Sounds strange doesn’t it, but I believe its factual, it’s up to us and we can do it!.  Some of my favorite quotes:

https://www.ziglar.com/category/quotes/

Zig Ziglar, one of my favorites said “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you.  If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”

I saw this recently on Facebook, I think it came from The Vibrant Mind “When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”  I know if I interject myself close to successful people It helps me make better decisions.

https://livelifehappy.com/life-quotes/when-a-flower-doesnt-bloom-you-fix-the-environment/

One that helps me almost daily is Don’t ruin a good today by thinking about a bad yesterday.  Let it go.  I think I found that a long time ago on lifeadvancer.com

One thing I worked hard on this year and is probably my strongest accomplishment is just keeping my mouth shut more often.  I get in a lot of trouble by thinking something and it just rolling out of my mouth.

Oh and how can we talk about quotes and not mention a few from my favorite, Vince Lombardy:

http://www.vincelombardi.com/quotes.html

“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while…you do them right all the time.”

“Unless a man believes in himself and makes a total commitment to his career and puts everything he has into it – his mind, his body, his heart – what’s life worth to him?”

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

I’ll put links to todays quotes in the show notes at warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com in case you’d like to look at others as well, I like looking them up, its fun and interesting to me.

I wouldn’t want to be the person to tell Vince Lombardy that I couldn’t make and additional $2.40 an hour next year, I don’t feel he had much patience for the word can’t or couldn’t.

Henry Ford left us with “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” I myself tried to quit using the word can’t a long time ago.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/203714.Henry_Ford

This year at WAOC we talked of our responsibilities as employees, from researching where we wanted to work and who we wanted to work for to building our resumes, acing our interviews, being on time for our shifts everyday and learning to be among the best at our tasks and getting noticed by our management teams.  We’ve talked a lot about participating in shift meetings and start up meetings and how they can put us on our managements radar.  Putting all that to practice will earn us that additional $5000.00 next year, I’m certain, I know its possible.

So what are some of your goals for next year, write them out, put it on paper and keep it with you and I feel you’ll meet everyone of them.  What position handles the case after you finish with it, does that pay more, want to do that job, let your supervisor know what you want to do and ask how you need to go about it!  Want to operate that piece of equipment, will it pay us more, let your boss know your ready to take on more responsibility, it’ll happen.  Another thing we’re learning is that taking on responsibility pay’s, the more responsibility we take on the more we’re likely to earn!

In my travels this month I encountered several, really too many stories where individuals had either backed off their goals or was just quitting their positions due to simply not communicating well.  Now some promotions or positions just aren’t going to work out.  Maybe we didn’t do enough research on what our duties were going to be or possibly the jobs duties weren’t explained correctly to us.  Sometimes we reach our goal only to find it requires more hours, tasks or reasonability’s than what we’re comfortable with even.  Or, if we had communicated our frustrations and challenges better, or at all even, we could find that our pain points could have been addressed and solutions could have been found.  In two incidents that were shared with me the management teams we’re unaware of the young supervisor’s feelings and there were solutions available that could have been implemented and solved all their concerns.  That’s of course not always the case but by communicating on the front side, when we’re hitting those walls, we’ll have the necessary information to make the right decisions with.  Who knows, maybe both of these gentlemen could have gone right back to what they were doing originally.

Communicating is probably the hardest thing we do, I mean we come in each shift, get our case counts or production numbers and go straight to work, we’re there to get the job done.  I think every guest we’ve had on the show has tried to stress to us the importance of communicating.  We can’t confuse complaining with communicating though.  We’ve talked about communication on several episodes and Rodrigo, Nathan and Nelson all has given us examples of how important that one word is to us on the floor.  Let’s look it up again,

Communication: a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communication

And Communicating: to convey knowledge of or information about : make known.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communicating

I’ll put those links in todays show notes on the website to at warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com.

Lets remember we’re working to make money, do something we enjoy and turn that enjoyment into a career that we can retire from and that we control our success, not our bosses. I’ve veered off topic again, so where was I,

Ok, I was talking about how responsibility and how responsibility earns us more money.

When our task is cutting and cleaning a thousand linear feet of carpet at an hourly rate and the forklift position pay’s a bit more it’s because we’ll have a little more responsibility.  Yes, a portion of that’s because we’re operating a piece of equipment and are responsible for it and the safety practices that comes with it but also we may be responsible for properly tagging it’s actual length, color etc or getting it to the correct slot or staging area to be loaded on the correct truck heading to the right convention!

An Order Selector might be paid a base rate, but if he or she selects above and beyond an amount per hour, with no errors, they may be incentized for it.  Being responsible for the cases and no errors.

Same thing for moving into a lead or supervisor position, we’ll have more responsibilities and may be paid proportionally for them.

If we show up for our shift on time every day that we can, have a great attitude every day, not only follow the rules, processes and procedures but support them and encourage others too as well, we’re going to be noticed.  Noticed by our managers.  Add in participating in startup meetings and safety meetings, sharing with them that we want more, more responsibility and more money we will have the opportunity to increase our yearly earnings by at least that $5000.00 next year.  I really believe it’s just that simple, I see it done every year.

We are responsible for our own success, and in our fields of warehousing, production, manufacturing, distribution and transportation or the world of Operations we can truly plan it out, implement that plan and reach every goal we set for ourselves.

Like I said earlier, I’m ready for the new year & all it’s bringing for me.  We here at WAOC would love to hear from each of you, what are your goals and where is 2018 going to take you this year? Send us an email to host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com .  If there’s any ideas or suggestions through our experiences and opinions that may point you in the right direction we’d be happy to share them.  And don’t forget about our Facebook and Twitter feeds, use @whseandops to find us there and we’d appreciate the Likes and Follows very much.  If your enjoying the show be sure to subscribe so, you’ll never miss an episode!

Until next week, I guess I can add until next year today, lets get those New Year goals written out and a plan in place to reach them & as always let’s put Safety first, personally and professionally, we all have many people counting on us out there!

Cherry Picker, Order Picker & Rider Jack Thoughts

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Welcome back everyone, Marty here with Warehouse and Operations as a Career and I’m back in Dallas Texas this week, it’s nice getting caught back up with regular business and visiting with some local accounts.  I was up North, well I guess I need to call it North Western area last week and found it quite cold for my taste, yes I’m a warmer weather soul without a doubt.  I had a question presented a few weeks ago about Cherry Pickers, what is a cherry picker and is it the same thing as a hi lo machine.  I’m most familiar with using the cherry picker or hi rise machine in the food service distribution side of things so let’s talk about that for a bit.

If your purchasing such a piece of equipment it may be called an Order Picker – Stock Picker or Stock picker truck these days.  When checking them out on You Tube you can search with Order Picker and find some great videos on them.  I’ve heard them referred to as HighRise Machines HighRise Pickers, Cherry Pickers and even High Lows before. Check out You Tube, there’s some great tutorials and videos of them in use on there.  These Order Picker Trucks are used a lot in the furniture industry, theirs a pretty slick square platform made for them where you can slide an item from the slot onto the platform and bring it down with the Cherry Picker.  In larger distribution centers they can be used in narrow aisle environments for the smaller wares or items.  As we know a typical pallet bay or the area or slots between two uprights we’ll find two slots for two pallets to be placed side by side, either straight in, the 40-inch front or sideways on the 48 inch side or 4 way side facing out, with a bay or beam of either 96 inches or 102 inches usually, at least around here.  Anyway, with a cherry picker area or department you can have several pick facings like 9 per bay and the slot may be only like 2ft high or something like that, meaning you can have many slots in the aisle.  I’ve seen these areas being 28 feet high.  As you can see, in one aisle you could have many hundreds or thousands of items in them depending on how long your aisles are.  These areas are built for just such a machine.

Operating an Order Picker or cherry picker isn’t to difficult and the learning curve is pretty short.  Controls wise there’s only a few. Usually a vertical steering wheel, flat mounted on the wall of the driving compartment, typically operated with the left hand and then a forward and reverse lever or roll throttle with up and down buttons within reach of the right hand.  The only other necessary button needed is the horn of course!  In ’88 my Order Picker was Rail Driven, meaning I steered it out on the docks and turning from aisle to aisle or coming out of one aisle and into another.  But as I would enter an aisle I threaded my right outrigger onto a Rail which kept my truck straight as I would drive forward and up or down to the next pick slot.  Many of today’s equipment are wire guided, or follow a wire in the flooring and some are computer guided to the individual slots even.  Technology’s come a long way since I was Selecting.  Here’s a great place for me to slide in one of my favorite points which as you know is to Never get on or even touch any piece of powered industrial equipment that you have not been trained and certified to do so.  Remember, any piece of equipment is dangerous, we must know how to properly operate it before we can use it.  Some of today models have light kits and automatic pallet locks, oh I’ve even seen a few with Fan kits on the driver’s platform to cool us off in the warmer months.

I went online, again some of that self-education stuff and found several pictures of the machines, I’ll add a couple of links in the show notes at warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com if you’d like to see one.

http://www.crown.com/en-us/forklifts/sp-stockpicker.html

https://www.toyotaforklift.com/forklifts/6-series-order-picker

https://www.raymondcorp.com/lift-trucks/orderpickers

While I was looking around on the world wide web, do people even say that anymore?  Anyway, I found a really good Unofficial Forklift Training Video – Order Picker by Raymond Harlall, I’ll add it’s link to today’s show notes. If you’re in Operations, Warehousing or Transportation and have not ran across his channel yet I urge you to check it out.  Raymond does some great videos on different types of equipment, I think you’ll like his work.  There’s no affiliation of any kind with WAOC, we found his channel and are just passing it along, I find them really interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k01FC9JRgC8

Oh, while I was looking for some pictures of the Order Picker I found two links, one that shows a lot of the different Raymond equipment types and one for Crown equipment as well, reference guides I guess you could say.  I found them really interesting and if nothing else they gave me more ideals to go find videos on.  I’ll add these links in the show notes also.

http://www.raymond.mx/assets/media/raymond/literature/truck-literature/RaymondLiftTrucksProductReferenceGuide.pdf

http://www.crown.com/en-us/forklifts.html

https://www.toyotaforklift.com/families/internal-combustion-forklifts-cushion-tire

It’s easy to get excited after looking at all the different kinds of warehouse equipment isn’t it?  I know when we accept a position as an unloader or loader, maybe a packer or sorter and have had the opportunity to be trained on our first piece of powered industrial equipment it’s easy to want a little more.  It’s difficult sometimes to resist the urge to push our experience to the limits but please remember there are no short cuts to our training.  I’m always speaking about not operating any kind of equipment or machine we have not been trained on and certified with but it’s usually the law and it only makes sense.  Let’s not ever even touch anything powered until we’ve successfully completed that training.

Another question we received and it kind of goes along with todays topic is about the word Rider Jack and what is it.  As we’ve learned and speak of the many different types of warehouse powered equipment different industries, regions and even Managers and Supervisors may use a term their familiar with or warehouse slang when calling a piece of equipment something.  A Walkie Electric Pallet Jack is usually one that does not have a platform for the operator to stand on while the machine is moving.  Where as a Rider Jack or Rider Electric Pallet Jack has a platform on both sides for the operator to stand on while operating on it.  Usually their used in the larger facilities and productivity driven environments.  I’ve heard both types called just end control electric jacks before. In this particular instance or to answer the question I’d suggest that you just ask this gentleman to describe the jack to you and explain its operation.  We’ve spoken before how this type of equipment very well may be our first experience with powered equipment.  It’s fairly easy to operate, roll the throttle forward to go forward and roll it backwards to go in reverse turning the end control in the direction we want to travel.  The key is to go slow, very slow until your comfortable with its operation and watch everything around you, be comfortable with your surroundings.  During your training and certification, you’ll learn more about weight capacities, center of gravity with loads and other things like going up or down inclines with your loads.  The key to operating any powered industrial equipment is to Be Safe and know what your doing and following the procedures as you’ve been instructed to do so.

I hope we’ve helped and brought some value to you today and I thank you for listening in with us.  If you have a moment maybe you could Like and share our Facebook page with your friends and check out our Twitter feed, maybe follow us there.  We try and retweet as many job postings as we can each week and share any interesting articles we might find.  You can find us on both @whseandops.

We look forward to you visiting again next week and lets all be Safe on the equipment out there!

Best Practices – Getting That Job!

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Hello all, Marty and the Warehouse and Operations as a Career Podcast back with you this week!  I’m sure it’s been a busy week for all of us & we appreciate your visit today!  I was out on the road last week, attending a few meetings and hitting up a couple of industrial parks, I enjoy seeing the different warehouse configurations, the history of the buildings and how you can see the different building designs, many times built to accommodate the shifts in the transportation world and the movement of freight efficiencies.  I guess those thoughts could be an episode all on its own one week! I find it really interesting how we’ve came from straight line buildings, to rail dock facilities, to the L Shaped designs and even the Inbound In on one side with Outbound going right out on the other side.

Anyway, the question came up of Best Practices and where did the phrase come from and what does it really mean?  I first started hearing of Best Practices in the mid to late 90’s.  Before we get into what Best Practices means to me lets look it up, some of that self-education stuff I’m always talking about:

OK, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_practice first sentence states: A best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/best%20practice say’s : a procedure that has been shown by research and experience to produce optimal results and that is established or proposed as a standard suitable for widespread adoption

And I found like 50 sites explaining or selling Best Warehousing Practices online, one https://www.thebalance.com/warehouse-best-practices-2221401 had a pretty good article called 5 Warehouse Best Practices to Lower Picking Time, it’s informative and worth a look.  I’ll add each of these links to our website for you to check out if you’d be interested.

So, let’s talk about what Best Practices may mean to us as associates.  Like I was saying earlier I first started hearing the phrase Best Practices from my Manager in the mid 90’s, we were installing a Warehouse Management System, a full-blown system with inbound inventory scanning, directed putaway and Selection scanning.  Of course, with such systems every step has to be completed correctly as to keep the inventory levels, slot quantities and selection to flow smoothly.  At the time I guess it looked more like a check list to me.  These steps if you will were the best practices or steps that had been learned as the most efficient in past rollouts.  I learned pretty quickly a best practices list needs to be fluid or as additional efficiencies are found they should be included.  I think our industry started recognizing the importance of best practices as Warehousing and Transportation costs grew and we went from the wild west mentality to a more structured and efficient movement of freight model.  I believe all the systems have helped us as employees, structure and disciplines can only help us succeed, our positions are documented and defined right?

We all use best practices every day, I mean we all have routines that we’ve honed over the years that work for us.  My morning routine is efficient and gets me started each day, Laundry is pretty much on a schedule, when we’re cooking we follow a recipe etc.  Here in Texas we do quite a bit of grilling or smoking meats and we take our patio time seriously.  That means we marinate or dry rub the meat, let it sit as we go out and start the charcoal.  Of course, any beverages are already on ice and conveniently placed at arm’s reach. We place the meats on the grill and prepare the side dishes and time everything to be done at the same time right.  We just followed the best practices of barbequing!

Seriously though, Best Practices have been researched and implemented by our individual facilities to be the safest, efficient and most cost effective for each task in the building.  I think in many instances we should think of Job Descriptions, Job Hazard Analysis Sheets, and our SOP’s or Standard Operation Procedures as another form of Best Practices, keeping us Safe and Productive.

Us as an order selector could consider a quick Best Practices guide as something like this:

I arrive to work early with my clean PPE’s

Put my lunch away and outside clothes, cell phone etc in the locker

Use the restroom

Get dressed for the environment i.e. freezer suit, steeltoe boots, safety vest

Punch in on the time keeping system

Go to the Start of Shift Safety meeting and participate in the stretching exercises

Proceed to the equipment area, identify my equipment and sign it out

Perform my Pre-Trip & turn in the sheet to maintenance

Pick up my Selection Unit

Down Load the first selection batch

Proceed to the first slot as directed

Utilize proper lifting techniques and ergonomic movements as I’ve been taught

Complete batch and drive directly to staging area as instructed

Pick up pallets for next batch

Down load new batch

Continue until Lunch Break, Punch out and back In after the break

Download another Batch and continue selection as before

Complete last batch as others

Turn in Selection Unit

Plug up my equipment

Complete Post-Trip inspection and turn sheet into Maintenance

Punch Out in time keeping System

Change and gather my personal effects from locker.

Kind of simply put but you get the idea.  A list of what we’ve found to be the safest and most productive course of action for us as individuals.  Our companies Best Practices are just that, a procedure that’s been researched and tested by time to be the safest and most efficient and productive way to perform the operation.

Best Practices may be one of the over used buzz words today, at least with us on the floor as we now have, or should have, our job descriptions and task SOP’s as well as any Safety Practices thoroughly explained to us during our Orientation and by our Leads or Supervisors on the floor.

You know over the last few episodes we’ve discussed some Best Practices actually.  Episode 62 5 of the Dangers & A Visit with Joe we talked about front dock safety and Joe walked us through some of the Trailer Yard precautions.  Oh and I think it was episode 60 Thoughts on Recruiting & Benefits with Sharon and Michele they did a very good job of explaining our responsibilities as a job applicant, kind of a Best Practices to interviewing and getting hired or at least improving our odds of being chosen for the position.

That being said I’m reminded of something I’ve been wanting to talk about regarding getting that job.  Over the last couple of months I’ve been a little more involved or had the opportunity to be involved in the hiring process with a few different companies.  Since we’re talking about Best Practices lets create a quick Best Practices for us applicants or job seekers!

Remember as we’re checking out the classifieds, job boards and advertisements for a job let’s do a little research on the companies and make sure we want to invest our time in training and working for them.  I mean are the advancement opportunities there and do they offer the exact job or position I want?  We want to make this our career, are they going to offer that to us?

One thing we’ve learned from past episodes, and it’s been talked too by John, Sharon and a couple of others is our Social Media pages and postings.  Remember many potential employers, right or wrong, are going to check out our profiles and try to learn a bit about us from them.  Remember that old saying, a picture prints a thousand words.  It’s important we understand we’re selling our abilities and experience, BUT our personalities and attitudes are being looked at as well.  Would you hire us based solely on our Facebook Feed?  If our mothers wouldn’t question anything on there we’re probably in good shape with an employer!

I think the next practice would be to have a clean, honest and detailed job history sheet or resume.  List everything we’ve done, every piece of equipment we’ve operated and how many hours, day’s or years operating them.  As Sharon explained to us in many instances a recruiter could have a client or position willing to train us.  The more we share about ourselves the more our hiring agent has to work with.  We should do everything we can to increase those opportunities.

Now I’d think we should prepare for the telephone interview.  If we’ve used those keywords or our experiences or what we’re looking to do within our history we’re going to get that call! Now this brings up something I hear about often.  If your experience is in the hospital staff arena don’t just send in your resume to a warehouse position without stating that you want to change fields and maybe why.  The recruiter needs to know that your interested and why you applied to an unloading position.  If we just send in our resume without any notes or reasoning they may just consider it as your blasting the resume to every ad out there and never give us a call! By preparing for the call I’d make notes, what I’ve done, how good I was at it, why I left and really think about what questions he or she may ask and have some bullet points for my answers.  We need to sell ourselves here really strong, be up and energetic, very personable, we want to make them want to call us in for that face to face interview.  If we do a good job here the face to face may just be a formality!

This may sound silly or like over kill, but a recruiter was telling me about a prospect that had sent them an email after the phone interview thanking them for calling him and how forward he was to hearing back from them.  That gesture alone solidified his face to face interview.  He was going to be called in anyway because of his experience but now he’s out front and on his recruiter’s mind.

I think the next practice to list could be being ready for our interview.  We should bring a copy of our work history or a resume with us and be ready to answer questions about our previous employment.  Let’s have a few questions ready for our hiring agent too, that could only show them that we’ve spent a little time researching this job and our interest working for them.  I ran across an article on https://flipboard.com/@flipboard/-17-perfect-responses-to-do-you-have-any/f-c51382635b%2Fbuzzfeed.com titled 17 perfect responses to do you have any questions for me during a job interview.  Check it out if you have a moment, I’ll add the link to our website  http://warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com/  It’s fine to ask a few questions, Things like What common Characteristics do you see in people that perform this job well?

What do you think about the Safety Culture here?

Could you give me a tour of where I’d be working and the people I’d be working with?

What do you think of the Company?

How did this position come to be open?

What does success look like in this position and is there advancement opportunities?

You don’t want to go overboard here but a few questions will only show our interest and motivation!

And your hiring agent may be asking us a few pointed questions to learn something about us as well.  I found a funny article that explains what they may be using those odd questions for.  It was a flipboard article I think at https://flipboard.com/@flipboard/-9-weird-interview-questions-companies-u/f-b984398638%2Finc.com 9 Weird Interview Questions Companies use to reveal your true self. It was satire, or I hope it was but the point being their going to ask questions and we can prepare for them by thinking through the interview, practicing if you will and making sure we present ourselves as Positive, Informed and motivated with the positions we have experience with.

Oh, and every recruiter and hiring agent we’ve spoken with here at WAOC reminds us to take the face to face interview like it’s our first day on the job.  I think it’d be a Best Practice to not bring the Spouse and children with us to the interview.  Make sure we dress appropriately, no need to over dress but let’s make sure we look the part.  I had one interviewer tell me the first thing he looks at is the footwear, if he’s interviewing an order selector or forklift operator he wants to see a pair of steel toes.

If we’ve followed all these Best Practices that we’ve just created, then I just can’t help but believe we’re going to be hired so our last practice should be to have all our personal information with us.  Michele explained how important our Benefits are in episode 60 and it’s our once a year chance to get our tax withholdings, insurance and benefit information done correctly.  We need to ask questions if we don’t understand something being offered or explained, I mean it’s our responsibility, right?

Well I hope I didn’t stray too far off the subject and you found value with the show today.  Remember to Subscribe to us on iTunes, Apple Podcast and Google Play Music or any of the Podcatchers in the play store so you get notified each Thursday when the newest episode is released.  We appreciate you checking in with us and hope you have a Safe and Productive week.  Lets all check out the Best Practices for our Facility and mention them to our management Team, nothing will get us noticed quicker than talking about our Best Practices and Safety!

Warehouse Freight Handler to Transportation Driver – Thoughts on ELD’s

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Well here we are in week 49 of the year & Welcome back to Warehouse and Operations as a Career where we talk about the many different opportunities in the Operations Industry each week!  The Warehouse, Logistics, Transportation or Operations whatever you want to call it can provide us great jobs to support ourselves and our families, and everyone of those jobs can be a fantastic career for us to retire from & really enjoy, hey, we have to work for the rest of our lives and I just think its better, easier if we love what we’re doing!  I’m Marty and each week we try and answer some of your questions about these positions & occasionally speak with those doing the task, or with individuals whom may of stepped through those positions on their way to the job they were interested in.  Now don’t be harsh with us, we’re far from audio experts, if you’ve caught some of our earlier episodes I hope you’ve felt like we’re learning or trying too, at least trying to make your listening experience a little easier on the ears.  We are however Op’s men and women with plenty of opinions, thoughts and experiences and we like sharing them & talking about the many opportunities in the fields of operations!  We’re having fun with it and hope each of you are as well.  I’d like to encourage your participation with the group, feel free to suggest topics or just send us a shout out to host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and of course join our Twitter & Facebook feeds using @whseandops.  If you’ve missed any of the shows you can catch them on Apple Podcast, iTunes and Google Play Music and on our website warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com.

We’ll enough of all the sales sounding stuff as I have absolutely nothing to sell ya!, I’m not really sure why I went down that road today BUT let’s get to today’s topic.

I was excited to see this question last week as we haven’t seen many on Transportation and Transportation is a large part of our industry.  All that freight and material handling we do really means nothing if there’s not a way to get it to us end users or consumers right!  If you missed our Episode titled, I think it was episode 22, Driving, Transportation & Logistics you might enjoy it, check it out!  A gentlemen named Jim asked what we thought of moving from Freight Handling in the warehouse into a Driving position.  His company has a training program where you can enter transportation as a driver helper and they’ll help you get experience in their yard and help with the testing.  He also brought up a regulatory change that’s occurring at the end of this year regarding ELD’s and wanted to know what we thought about those units also.  Thanks for the questions Sir, lets talk about the ELD’s or Electronic Logging Devices first and we’ll share some thoughts on making the switch from warehousing to transportation, both are fields I’m really passionate about & believe them to be fantastic Career’s!

Ok, Back in March of 2014 DOT or the Dept of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, better known as FMCSA, you can check out their website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/   announced a proposal to require interstate commercial truck and bus companies to use Electronic Logging Devices in their vehicles to improve compliance with the safety rules that govern the number of hours a driver can work. They stated, in part, “Todays proposal will improve safety while helping businesses by cutting unnecessary paperwork”.  Transportation Secretary Antony Foxx went on to say  “By leveraging innovative technology with Electronic Logging Devices, we have the opportunity to save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and safety inspectors.”  An interesting statistic the article states is – Analysis shows it will also help reduce crashes by fatigued drivers and prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year for an annual safety benefit of $394.8 million dollars.  It’s an interesting article, I suggest checking it out if you’d like to see how changes are proposed!  There’s been a lot of talk, discussions and changes over the last 3 years but my understanding is it becomes law DEC 17th, or maybe the 16th depending what article or news agency your tuned into and I read something just this morning that stated the 18th.  And there’s a couple of last minute exemptions I’ve heard about in the last 30 days so if you need to know any of the particulars I’d point you to the FMCSA website for all the facts.  I found another good article at https://www.overdriveonline.com/  you may be interested in, it does a good job of spelling out the requirements as they interrupt them.  Basically we’ll have a unit in our vehicle that will take the place of our old paper copy log books, it’ll need to record things like the date, times and locations of the vehicle, engine hours, miles and know who’s using the vehicle.  I think it has to record engine on and off time too or when the tractors moving.  Although we won’t need to keep our old time graphs & charts, the machine will need to show one or be able to print them out I’d think.  We could talk about the new regulation for hours but hopefully we’ve hit the high points, its new and interesting information, we’ll add the websites mentioned above in our show notes if you’d like to check them out!

Part of the question was what did we think of the units.  I think it’s a good move in the right direction, like anything new though its going to have some pro’s and con’s, be great for some instances and create hardships for other situations.  Many companies have already made the switch, several years ago actually.  I’m hearing in the distribution world or route delivery men’s positions there’s been little effect and probably it’s been a positive thing.  For an over the road driver, that’s say only an hour from his or her designation and has ran out of hours it could present a hardship.  You know I’m kind of big on Safety and rules, so I try to see the positive in them.  Every time there’s a change with the hours of service laws the industry just works better with schedules and appointments, it always works out and after all, these kinds of things are to really protect the employee and the public so I think it’s a good thing!

And the first part of Jim’s question was what did we think of moving from the warehouse into the transportation fields?

Transportation is a great career field.  Wither your looking at Distribution or Route Delivery Driving or something more like Vendor Supply and Long Hauling it can be fun and rewarding.  In Jim’s case he has an opportunity to move from a Material Handler position and into a driver training program that’s sponsored by his present employer.  The first step could be training as a Driver Helper.  As we’ve talked too in previous episodes the driver helper may be responsible for stacking down freight inside the trailer, sorting out the freight by stop’s, maybe stacking the dolly or two wheeler and hand truck loads for the driver to run into the delivery location.  Once trained on using the hand truck our driver may teach us how to wheel the product into the delivery, proper stacking and storage for their customer, things like product rotation and FiFo or first in first out, possibly even how to mark or check off the invoicing, documenting returns and returning the product back into our companies inventory!  His company is going to let him use their equipment and their yard to get the feel of the tractor and prepare to take his driving test after he’s received his permit and completed his testing.  If you’ve ever backed a trailer you know practice is the only way to teach it!  I think it’s a great opportunity for those of us that like being on our own and want the responsibility a driver position brings with it.  We’ve spoken several times about how us as drivers are like the president of the company once we leave the facility.  We’ll hear about every error made from the sales dept, to the order selector mispicking the product to the loader that left something off.  Even the credit dept that forgot to notate a discount or credit to the accounts invoice, we’ll hear about it and in someone’s eyes it’s going to be our fault.  But there’s no greater feeling as a days delivery’s being accomplished and all our customers being pleased and successful due to our accomplishments!  It’s hard work, we may leave with 20 stop’s and 1200 cases to be broken down and delivered each day but the pay is usually good, Route Delivery can be very rewarding and a great career choice!

Vendor delivery or Long Hauling is a little different yet I find it very interesting too.  If you don’t mind being away from home a bit it’s a good deal, the open road, the freedom, and you are truly in charge of yourself out there.  I think we need to be a little self-disciplined with this choice as we’re the boss, AP/AR, the credit dept, and President, shoot we’re the whole company when we’re out on the road!  Maybe not for everyone but the long-haul world is a great career for the right individual and there can be great money here as well.  I feel any type of driver position can be a fantastic career choice!

I’ve heard people talk about all the regulatory and rules associated with today drivers and although that’s true, there’s just as many regulatory concerns in warehousing.  Safety is of course the first priority in all industries & fields.  Check out the You Tube Videos for transportation, you can get a pretty good look at the opportunities regarding accidents out on the road.  Many of them make you think what in the world was that driver thinking!

You know, just as when we’re on the road in our own personal vehicles or out shopping at a lumber yard or one of the big box stores or DIY stores it’s usually not us being unsafe we have to worry about.  And in the warehouse environments we know what we’re doing operating our equipment its everyone else were watching.  I mean we know we’re focused on our job’s and tasks, I think that’s where the phrase defensive driving comes from and I’d like to add working defensive also.  It’s those other drivers on the freeways and equipment operators in the warehouse we have to watch as closely as we do ourselves.   You know last week we visited with our Safety Guru Joe and discussed several of the dangers on the front docks and the transportation yards, I’m not sure how I jumped off topic again but hey, my rant kind of applies to what we’re talking about!

I hope I answered Jim’s questions today & I hope you all found a little value in the show.  I had fun talking to the points, I’ll reach out to a few people that’s gone from warehousing into transportation and vice versa.  Maybe we can have a few guests tell us what gave them the idea and how its worked out for them.  I think that’d be interesting.

Until next week please remember wither our job is in Transportation, Distribution, Production or Manufacturing, it’s our job to keep Safety our first priority!