This company that I visited does everything with excellence, and when I say everything… I mean everything. They even care about the details so much, that their yard where they have all of their equipment looked like perfection with each truck and trailer lined up perfectly. As some would say “There is a place for everything, and everything is in it’s place.”
Being mindful of the details didn’t just stop with the equipment in the yard. Part of the reason I visited exactly when I did is because part of the process for them to deliver our product involves cross docking and loading trucks from various origin points. Not only did they make this whole scenario look effortless, they made sure that as they were moving the product from one place to the next, that all the lids where on just right, that the plastic wrap didn’t look like hell, that pallets were in good shape, that the trailers were clean, and that everything looked at its best.
I know what I just described seems like a simple task, but it truly isn’t. If it was, there would never be refused product for boxes looking like hell or that fell over because of a weak wrap job, or broken pallet shards all over a once clean trailer. It’s these small actions of being mindful of ALL the details that make the biggest difference. In talking with this company about all of this, they talked about their why behind it all. “If the product looks nice and in place, when the doors are opened up for it to be inspected, it puts the inspector at ease and makes the process go more smoothly. Not only that, the buyers hear about it and potentially start buying more of your product because it is consistently in great shape. If they buy more of your product, you will need more trucks to ship it and everyone wins.”
It is a simple philosophy, but one that is truly overlooked time and time again. It’s also a philosophy that takes humility and a heart of service to execute well.
What are the small actions that you can make within your day to day operations that will have a big impact and increase business?
I work in a department at work that at times can be very stressful, logistics. Logistics is full of some people with tempers that want things done yesterday, and if their plans don’t go how they expect them to, they get frustrated. I know how they feel, because when my plans get shifted and changed, it can be quite annoying.
One thing I know is that no matter what happens, it usually isn’t the fault of the person I am talking to. This individual just happens to be caught in the middle of it, and even if it was their fault, I know that if it was me, I would still want to be treated with respect.
All of this intro leads me to what happened a couple of days ago.
I was at home and received a call back from one of the supervisors at our other plants and I asked if he knew why it was taking hours longer than it should have to load a truck. As we talked more and more about this issue I was getting more and more heated and my tone was one of frustration, which obviously was putting my teammate on the defensive. Right in the middle of all of our conversation he says that I need to watch my tone. That response hit my like a ton of bricks and made me realize that still have some things to learn. It ended up that almost all of the reasons why they were behind in loading the truck were not their fault and couldn’t have been prevented.
Now, before we even finished our conversation I stopped in the middle Of it all and appologized. I said that my tone was inappropriate and there was no reason for me to respond like that. I said I had been in the wrong because there was never a reason I should have treated a fellow teammate, or anyone else, like that.
From this instance I learned two things: One is that no matter how I am feeling, I always need to treat people with respect, not just with my words, but with my tone. The other is no matter how the other person chooses to respond during and after the situation, I need to own up to my own actions and make sure that I treat them how I want to be treated.
These two lessons are also old as time themselves, but I know that I obviously need the constant reminder.