How to prepare for a busy peak season
Thanksgiving is less than 90 days away. And as you probably know, the holiday season can easily make or break your facility’s distribution and operating goals. It’s high season for much of our country’s supply chain, and given the challenges of the past two years, we can expect a particularly difficult time ahead.
How are you preparing your hard-working (and sometimes overworked) installation teams for this difficult season ahead? What are you doing to ensure your managers and team members are mentally, emotionally, and physically equipped for maximum effectiveness?
1. Reassess your time tracking process
Do you have a streamlined process for tracking hours worked by all team members? Do you have instant access to this tool? If you don’t have a quick and efficient way to check your team’s time, you can’t guarantee the efficient use of your resources. You also won’t be able to detect potential issues of overwork and exhaustion. When your employees are tired and overworked, they’re not only more likely to make mistakes that can lead to operational issues or security incidents, but they’re also more likely to burn out on the job and leave.
2. Encourage peer meetings
I direct the operations of a company that specializes in improving the safety and availability of some of the largest industrial facilities in the country. One of the ways we reach, engage, educate and retain our facilities teams, particularly as we approach peak periods, is to encourage, facilitate and support peer-to-peer caucuses on key topics. For example, we encourage our team members to conduct their own information sessions on topics such as staying hydrated in the summer heat or performing basic first aid properly. Each team member is an expert at something and has something valuable to share. This peer-to-peer engagement can help you achieve a multitude of team goals simultaneously.
3. Put yourself in the shoes of the average employee
Few leaders take the time to really put themselves in the shoes of the average member of their team. Among your frontline staff — the people who do some of the most physically demanding and stressful work to keep your business running — your turnover is likely higher than anywhere else. Have you ever tried to follow one of them, interview them or live their daily experience? This exercise could be an eye-opening way to identify pitfalls and problems ahead of a season where maximum productivity really matters.
4. Mandate breaks and lunches
We recently launched a summer incentive program to encourage our facility teams to take their allotted breaks and lunches. This involved providing a financial incentive of $25 per day ($250 per pay) for each technician who logged 90 hours during a pay period. This allowance – specifically promoted as cash for lunches, snacks, and hydrating beverages – has gone a long way toward motivating our team members to take appropriate breaks.
5. Establish a special recognition program
In anticipation of an extremely busy season and in recognition of all the dedication your team has already shown, I recommend establishing a special recognition program for your team members, specifically intended to run for the duration of your Prime time. This may mean recognizing an entire facility team based on the number of vehicle incident-free days, or it may mean calling a specific team member every week or even every day of the season.
With these tips in place, your warehouse workers will be set to succeed (and stay) this holiday season. During peak times, it’s critical that you take steps ahead of time to ensure your team is prepared, efficient, and well-recognized for their efforts.
Alyssa Toney is Senior Director, National Operations and Customer Service at Miner, the special docks and doors division of the OnPoint group.