Best Practices – Getting That Job!


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, 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 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 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 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  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 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!

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