DNA of Success – Reliability

As a leader, it’s highly likely that you’ve seen a wide range of behavior patterns within your team. The ability to find associates that are able to consistently perform at a high level can be very difficult. Being able to hire, cultivate, and retain reliable associates is critical to the long-term success of your organization. Reliability is about more than showing up for work on time. A strong, reliable associate will help enforce standards of work which allow you, as a leader, to drive continuous improvement forward faster because you have a baseline to measure against.

Assuming you meet with candidates before they are asked to join your team, there are a few behavioral traits to look for that may mask poor reliability. Often, unreliable associates will be undisciplined – even when applying for a position at your DC. In conversations are they more independent than most of the others you’ve hired in the past or are they overly self-oriented? Not easy behaviors to see, but they could lead to more challenges down the road – especially when that seasonal rush begins and it’s all hands on deck!

Reliability isn’t just reserved for the associate though. Being a reliable leader gives your team the confidence to know what is expected of them and how to best work with you on a day to day basis. According to Rick Garlick, senior director of consulting and strategic implementation for Maritz Research, it is essential to “maintain credibility with your workforce as a means of getting them to totally buy in to the mission and vision of your company. Anything less fosters a disengaged workforce that puts self-interest at the top of its list of priorities.”

Across the long term horizon, employers have seen a continuous shift in the applicant pool for every position in a distribution operation. Compare the industrial revolution through the Second World War and then jump to today… the processes are similar but the jobs are very different. Across your career, you will see tremendous shifts in behavior and technology offerings intended to make the people and the processes more efficient. The one constant however is the DNA of Success.

With decades of warehouse, manufacturing, and logistics experience, we understand the challenges you face when building a team or an organization.

DNA of Success – Reliability
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What we’re seeing now – Target Tells Its Suppliers to Handle Tariffs Costs

Retail giant Target has taken a firm stance with their vendors and communicated they will not accept cost increases related to levies on goods from China. The Wall Street Journal and CNBC recently discussed this announcement and the impacts this will have on the vendors who manage more than $156 billion in products that will now be impacted by these tariffs.

The retailer also said it expects suppliers to “develop the appropriate contingency plans so that we don’t have to pass price increases along to our guests.” While great in theory for the guests, the upstream impact is huge.

This mandate will have dramatic effect on the vendors, who are now rushing to find ways to offset this cost. Vendors are going to have to find creative ways to drive down their operational cost, while at the same time, looking to diversify their supply chain to countries outside of China.

In additional to long-term strategies, many vendors spent the summer scrambling to expedite shipments to arrive before the tariffs were imposed. The push to bring in product early will not only impact the ports, but vendors will need to find storage in their already full warehouses.

Forbes also reported on this announcement saying that “Other retailers, in fact, have been suggesting that this is a group problem and as such deserves a group solution.” It’s going to be a long road ahead as the entire supply chain analyzes how to respond to the new tariffs.

What we’re seeing now – Target Tells Its Suppliers to Handle Tariffs Costs
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DNA of Success – Dedication

The DNA of Success is a list of employee-specific attributes that are at the core of running a successful distribution business.

Across the long term horizon, employers have seen a continuous shift in the applicant pool for every position in a distribution operation. Compare the industrial revolution through the Second World War and then jump to today… the processes are similar but the jobs are very different. Across your career, you will see tremendous shifts in behavior and technology offerings intended to make the people and the processes more efficient. The one constant however is the DNA of Success.

Today’s DNA of Success attribute: Dedication

In most of the organizations we observe, the leaders who have developed a dedicated workforce see the most success. The degree of dedication varies from organization to organization, but loyal and committed team members are typically more desirable in nearly all cases. To build a great team, start by finding team members who show signals of strong dedication.

The more responsive and receptive a team member is to suggestions and coaching, the more dedicated they tend to be. Furthermore, these associates will often enjoy the work and culture you have created- even if they never express it in words. Their conscientious habits should be consistently apparent and these same behaviors will likely rub off on other associates in the DC.

Caution is the word of the day when you see marginal commitments, self-serving attitudes, and questionable productivity. These team members may be more likely to be self-oriented and these behaviors could undermine your leadership goals for the overall operation. Given time and patience, coaching is the recommended initial step with these individuals. Not everyone will be able to transition into dedicated team members and in those cases, they may hinder you from achieving your goals. Identifying and improving your team’s dedication is critical to your overall success.

DNA of Success – Dedication
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The new 8680i Scan Glove is now available!

The 8680i Wearable Mini Mobile Computer is Honeywell’s most advanced compact, ergonomic, high-performance Bluetooth®-wearable scanning solution worn on one hand and designed to help businesses streamline high-volume workflows such as picking, sorting, putaway, and packing for increased speed and efficiency with every transaction.

The new device will be available in two configurations:

Glove (pictured above on the right) and Two-finger strap style (pictured above on the left).

The scanner has been tested and verified to work with all Vocollect Talkman devices.

Interested in learning more? Reach out today to sales@mountainleverage.com.

The new 8680i Scan Glove is now available!
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DNA of Success – Independence

The DNA of Success is a list of employee-specific attributes that are at the core of running a successful distribution business.

Across the long term horizon, employers have seen a continuous shift in the applicant pool for every position in a distribution operation. Compare the industrial revolution through the Second World War and then jump to today… the processes are similar but the jobs are very different. Across your career, you will see tremendous shifts in behavior and technology offerings intended to make the people and the processes more efficient. The one constant however is the DNA of Success.

Today’s DNA of Success attribute: Independence

As a leader, you have likely seen examples of many behavioral patterns. Finding associates with the proper mix of social skills to work in a team environment, but strong enough to know when to do the right thing, even if the team member is in the minority, is tricky. Often this person’s independence will evolve over time. Once trained and “up to speed”, most managers enjoy having associates who can make routine decisions and only ask for clarification in the most unique circumstances. This reduces supervisory overhead and often results in greater productivity metrics. At times, independent associates tend to be more energetic and you should expect anyone with this attribute to meet or exceed your standards regularly.

Humans have been seeking independence in all areas of their lives for centuries. When was the last time you thought about how to make your employees more independent? With decades of warehouse, manufacturing, and logistics experience, we understand the challenges you face when building a team or an organization.

DNA of Success – Independence
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DNA of Success – Safety

The DNA of Success is a list of employee-specific attributes that are at the core of running a successful distribution business.

Across the long term horizon, employers have seen a continuous shift in the applicant pool for every position in a distribution operation. Compare the industrial revolution through the Second World War and then jump to today… the processes are similar but the jobs are very different. Across your career, you will see tremendous shifts in behavior and technology offerings intended to make the people and the processes more efficient. The one constant however is the DNA of Success.

Today’s DNA of Success attribute: Safety

One look at the word “safety” and visions of OSHA may come to mind. And while most organizations attempt to respect OSHA rules and standards, safety has another definition within the DNA of Success playbook.

As you review new candidates or think about current team members, you are likely to see those who have limited or weak motivating drives around safety and others who are outwardly emphatic about safety.

Associates who are weak or have limited respect for safety tend to be willing to take more risks. Often times these behaviors are reflected in their work. And sometimes, they are also apparent in their behaviors outside of the DC. Typically, individuals with weak safety drives are spontaneous and may be the first to challenge the status quo in your operation. While these challenges can be beneficial, they can also be dangerous.

On the other end of the spectrum, team members who are security-oriented will often rank higher compared to others relative to safety. These same associates tend to be more risk-averse and are less likely to do something because it’s faster or because others do it during their shift in your building.

When implementing new systems or processes, having team members who are willing to challenge the status quo in search of better outcomes can be wonderfully beneficial. However, when looking at the day to day operations in most modern DCs, someone with a healthy respect for safety and possessing overall cautious perspectives is probably a more healthy characteristic.

DNA of Success – Safety
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Old Batteries Could Be Corroding Your Productivity

VoiceConsole has information on battery health and can tell you when batteries may need to be replaced.

  1. In VoiceConsole, click the VoiceConsole tab.
  2. Click the ‘Device Management’ tab.
  3. Click ‘Accessories’ on the left.

In the View Accessories screen, you can see important information about your accessories, such as batteries and headsets.

For batteries, you can see their age and health information. Batteries that show as ‘Replace Now’ may not hold a full charge or last a full shift.

Need new batteries? Reach out to orders@mountainleverage.com today to re-charge your productivity.

Old Batteries Could Be Corroding Your Productivity
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What You Should Know About Talent Management in Your DC

A recent McKinsey Global Survey, focused on talent management, indicates businesses with effective talent management programs have a better chance than other companies of outperforming competitors and securing new talent.

We’ve seen volumes of articles and posts on “best practices” for hiring. However, in conversations over the past 5 quarters in the distribution space, we’ve seen three primary trends.

  1. Go Slow to Go Fast: Organizations that onboard in environments with voice-enabled workflows, especially within our client base, report historically strong results when supervisors do the initial training and then pair the new hires with an experienced user. The transition time is often measured in hours rather than days. New hires regularly achieve “training standards” within the first week and the retention rates are better than historical averages.
  2. Millennials and Gen Z Facts: An overwhelming percentage of the workforce for DC-centric positions today are Millennials and Generation Z members. This group was raised with technology. They text rather than call. Anything that seems “old-fashioned” is automatically boring. Voice-enabled workflows look like the Alexa or Google Home device they use (or want to use) today. It’s intuitive and it fits their lifestyle – perfectly. A LinkedIn Study completed in the second half of 2018 said 93% of new employees will stay in a job longer when they feel you (the employer) have invested in their careers.
  3. Know your Audience: Digital tools for work play a significant role with prospective employees. With nearly 200 million voice-activated home devices in circulation and nearly 100% smartphone ownership, today’s candidates gravitate to jobs where technology alignment is positive. This workforce doesn’t want to use “old” methods.

Nine out of ten sites we’ve visited this year wrestle with finding people to work in distribution centers and stay long enough to get a positive ROI on the internal training. Understanding the psychology of your applicants and the way technology has molded their perspectives has suddenly become more important than ever.

What You Should Know About Talent Management in Your DC
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What We’re Seeing Now – Unemployment

The Wall Street Journal recently reported 5,400 jobs added last month for warehouse and storage companies. This data matches what we’re seeing in the distribution companies we work with across the U.S. The substantial growth in e-commerce is pushing companies to open more fulfillment centers to meet consumers’ increasing expectations for speedy delivery.

It’s becoming even more important for companies to find ways to improve employee retention, speed up training, and increase productivity in the warehouse and distribution industry. Brian Devine, senior vice president of logistics-staffing firm ProLogistix, said he is seeing “huge growth” for logistics and e-commerce workers. “There are not enough workers in those markets,” Mr. Devine said. “The unemployment rate is so low that it’s difficult for us to fill those positions.” Retaining talent is critical to keep costs down. Use of technology, such as voice, is one way to increase employee retention.

MarketWatch reported unemployment rates slipped to 3.6%, a 49-year low, across the U.S. As we’re seeing in the sites we’re visiting, the need to get new hires up to speed quickly is a driving force behind the adoption of new technologies. Also, the increased productivity realized with workflow optimization and technology investments is helping combat the continued increase in labor costs. Brian Devine went on to share that the average wage for ProLogistix workers jumped 6.8% in April from the same month a year ago.

Identifying ways to improve retention, speed up training, and increase productivity is on the minds of the leaders we’re meeting with across all industries. Our workflow expertise and technology offerings are helping in hundreds of DCs around the country.

What We’re Seeing Now – Unemployment
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