Drive Greater Productivity by Empowering Your Team
This post is part 3 in a series of 10 different approaches to addressing the common challenges faced by distribution centers (DCs) across a broad range of industries without investing in automation.
In my second blog in this 10-part series about improving operational efficiency without investing in automation, I offered a variety of training tips to help employees gain better proficiency in the tasks they perform and their criticality to your process. This post takes a closer look at how to better connect your people to your organization’s overall performance metrics for greater efficiency.
Step 3: Get in the People Business
“People are our most important asset.” How many times have you heard that statement? It might be a phrase used throughout your company, but if you’re not empowering your DC team with knowledge about overall operational success — as in, the facility’s top five key metrics and how their roles contribute to those measurements — then it’s just lip service.
Middle management should frequently (and repeatedly) communicate the overall operational metrics that are of the highest importance in ongoing team discussions. The easiest way to do this? Hold a quick team meeting at the start of every shift, daily, before associates head off to their assigned tasks. Managers should use this time to reiterate how the team and the operation are performing across those metrics, as well as share successes and identify opportunities for improvement.
Incentive programs to encourage both individual and team productivity can also motivate employees to find ways to improve on specific processes or functions. Help them know exactly where things stand by posting digital dashboards with productivity metrics. Not only will that allow associates to monitor the day’s progress, it makes them aware of any slowdowns that might require them to stay late — or gives them a chance to volunteer for overtime.
Finally, one of the most effective ways to increase employee engagement is for supervisors and managers to know each associate’s name. It might sound obvious, but with the challenges of attracting and retaining employees, that attention to personal detail might slip. Treating people as individuals can have just as significant an impact in operational efficiency as training and educating them about key operational metrics.
To learn more about the other nine steps, download the Honeywell Intelligrated white paper, “10 Steps to Improve Operational Efficiency: Addressing Common Order Fulfillment Challenges Without Investing in Automation.” Next up, my entry about the fourth step in this series: “Focus on Order Fulfillment.”