We all want to do quality work, and we’re always trying to find new ways to increase efficiency. If you’re part of a warehouse team, you understand this better than anyone. You face daunting challenges every single day, from adhering to annual budgets to running a profitable operation no matter the commodity, and you’re expected to do it all in a way that ensures service, quality, and safety are never sacrificed. These aren’t the easiest tasks in the world, but they’re important.
So how do you satisfy all of these challenges in our demanding industry? It’s all about creating a culture that supports productivity. Doing so can help you control costs, satisfy customers, and reduce the threat posed by your potential competition—it’s a win-win for everyone in your warehouse. Here are five ways you can start creating a culture of productivity.
- Secure management buy-in.Your goal of creating a culture of productivity won’t go anywhere if management isn’t on board. The chain of command must be committed to improving the operation’s productivity. That means managers must be willing to sacrifice individual compensation in favor of team needs, as well as eliminate an environment that incentivizes billing more hours or having more employees on staff. Management will also need to approve a labor management system allowing for flexibility when it comes to updating standards. It’s a tall ask, but it all starts here.
- Realize the value your employees present besides their time. A clock-punching mentality jeopardizes productivity and the overall quality of work. You don’t need either of those two things, so redefine what value is to your business and your employees. Once you do, make sure to share this message with the entire team. You’ll see the benefits quickly.
- Establish and monitor individual expectations. We all work better when there are known expectations to meet and goals to accomplish. Establishing individual expectations challenges exceptional employees to do even more and gives the rest of the team something to shoot for. Set the bar and don’t be afraid to raise it when you need to.
- Practice individual accountability. Having accountability means holding people to a standard. If your warehouse currently lacks labor standards, now is the perfect time to develop them. And when you do, don’t forget to incorporate a little flexibility as well. This will let you react appropriately to the new customers, products, processes, and equipment you’re likely to see in the future.
- Keep a clear focus on performance measurements and results. If this practice already exists in your warehouse, then it’s time to up the frequency. Commit your team to daily results reporting and total transparency. Then follow through with any pay-for-performance or other rewards you may be offering. This will motivate your employees to make incremental improvements. And for those who fail to meet the expected results, make sure employees understand they won’t face disciplinary action without first being given opportunities for mentoring or further training.