Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

How to Retain the Warehouse Talent That You Have

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Nov 21, 2019 4:00:00 AM

Across all supply chain industries there is a labor shortage underway, and warehouse and distributions centers are no exception. While finding new, well-trained staff to keep up with escalating demands can seem impossible, retaining your current staff isn’t. You just need to understand what motivates them to stay. team-1028829_640

Here's two easy ways to boost employee retention:

1. Praise and recognition.

It sounds too simple, but really, most people thrive on praise. Being recognized for excellence does more than just improve employee morale. It makes employees feel they are valued and that what they contribute matters to management. They suddenly have a vested interest in results. Showing your appreciation creates an environment of respect and gives employees a sense of ownership and belonging within their company. 

When employees feel they matter, that they are appreciated and respected, the result will be more productive and motivated workers who are more likely to remain longer with the company and increased retention of top performers.   

2. Make them a part of a team – not just another employee

It doesn’t require a lot of time to make an employee feel valued and a part of an important group effort. For example, you can easily track an operator’s performance and productivity and communicate this kind of support if you have telematic information at your fingertips.

Here are few other ways to build a team mindset in your warehouse

  • Consider each employee's ideas as valuable. Nobody knows the challenges and issues slowing down productivity better than those who are on the floor doing the work every day. Ask for opinions and suggestions.
  • Set clear team goals and communicate why they matter. If workers know why something needs to change or improve, they develop a vested interest to the results.
  • Provide team and individual recognition for a job well done. Recognition doesn’t have to be large – the point is to receive praise and to feel that someone noticed their efforts.
  • Recognize safety and maintenance improvements. Safety is just as important as productivity. Telematic “operator report cards” provide a complete view of an operator's compliance with safety standards, checklist completion and overall performance on the warehouse floor.
  • Share team results based on goals. Telematic platforms provide monitoring that easily tracks labor and any benchmark results. For example, vehicle and warehouse activity are linked through TotalTrax SX/VX software to deliver a direct correlation between job performance and productivity.

One of the greatest challenges managers encounter today continues to be how to attract, develop, and retain top-performing forklift operators and warehousing talent. Retention is crucial and creating an employee recognition program can be key to motivating workers to perform better, but it also is instrumental in retaining high-quality staff. Your telematic software should make monitoring and recognizing your staff simple to do.

 

Topics: labor management, employee recognition, reward programs, team incentives, operator report card, telematic data, forklift operators

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Simple Steps That Will Boost Your Team & Warehouse Productivity

Posted by Brian Quigley, Director of Client Services on May 30, 2019 6:18:03 AM

You may be leading a warehouse team, but are they following your lead? Achieving productivity goals is not a one-man job. It usually requires a solid group effort and a creative, organized approach to team management. team-1028829_640

First, it’s important for managers to recognize that not everyone has the same level of dedication and commitment to achieving KPI goals. Achieving goals may excite you, but some members of your team may not understand the value.

Unfortunately, it only takes a few individuals doing the bare minimum to affect the entire operation. But there are a few simple steps to take that will boost your team’s effort, and that means vastly improving productivity.

Step 1: Everyone needs to know what needs to change and why.

Give meaning to the team’s goals. Most employees feel a greater connection to the outcome of their work if they fully understand why the goal is important and valuable.

Share goal objectives and explain how their hard work will make it possible. Results can be easier to achieve when everyone understands the challenges, the importance of the goals, and how they each can play a role in the achievement process.

Step 2: Everyone should understand how their performance directly impacts results.

Take time to explain what tasks they individually need to improve on and why. Use customizable telematic reports to show where change is needed and why. Armed with concrete facts about shortcomings, everyone can contribute personal insight, experience, and knowledge to help craft a course of action. 

Step 3: Create a weekly strategy and game plan for your team.

Tackle tasks one week at a time. Some workers find it easier to focus on the task at hand rather than have the entire game plan stretched out before them.

Focus on steps everyone can take each week to improve, and, suddenly, that hard-to-reach goal is not as daunting. Weekly goals will seem more obtainable, and recognition for improvement each week can boost morale and build momentum toward the final objective.

Also, track individual driver performance and productivity with operator report cards, and provide balanced weekly feedback that includes both praise and areas in need of improvement.

Employees should ideally take ownership of KPI goals and be willing to make necessary changes that cultivate improvement. But, a true leader should also find ways to cultivate a team mindset and get everyone working together to achieve those goals.

Knowing how to truly lead a team, even when short on time and patience, is critical to achieving improvement goals. Telematics software facilitates KPI transparency, identifying what is going well — and what is not — helping you to create weekly action plans that can quickly boost your team’s productivity.

Topics: labor management, benchmarking, driver behavior and productivity, operator training, forklift drivers, proactive warehouse management, teamwork, employee recognition, operator behavior, reward programs, forklift operators

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The Value of Conducting Forklift Operator Performance Reviews

Posted by Thelma Marshall on May 7, 2019 4:00:00 AM

If done correctly, annual forklift operator performance reviews can help your business achieve KPI benchmarks and goals. arrows-1262403_640

Performance reviews are especially important in the warehousing industry where employee behavior and performance impact a myriad of safety and business initiatives. The fact is, your warehouse is only as safe and efficient as the employees that keep product moving out the door.

But there is a correct way to conduct operator performance reviews to better provide what motivates employees and facilitates improvement.

Reviews that work

Want reviews that deliver on improved performance? Conduct them annually and be prepared with facts, not just observations.

Here’s why:

  • The purpose of performance reviews is to hold the employees accountable for any areas where performance is less than stellar, as well as offer praise for areas that meet or exceed expectations.
  • Accountability, delivered in a respectful, fact-based conversation, breeds change and greater commitment to improvement.
  • An employee that knows performance is monitored for accountability typically demonstrates better performance.
  • Long-term results from performance reviews are better than quick day-to-day direction, corrections, or praise.
  • Employees should have a voice. Evaluations allow employees to express concerns, issues or challenges, facilitating quality dialogue and mutually agreed upon solutions.

The ideal performance review is fair & unbiased

Individual shortcomings add up, so finding ways to improve employee performance protects the investment made in your workforce. But criticism is not always well received. So, when evaluating each employee’s job performance, be credible and present documented proof regarding any areas of weakness or poor job performance.

Use insight and present facts. You can easily track an operator’s performance and productivity with telematic job tracking and operator monitoring. When you cite facts from their Operator Report Card, it supports your credibility and that the evaluation is not based on any biased perspective.

Also, remember to balance a critique with praise. Use your monitoring software to identify both positive and negative issues. For example:

  1. Optical location provides instant information on forklift speed, location, and operator.

It allows speed limits to be set and monitored for each forklift, so managers can see driver behavior in real time. 

  1. Operator report cards identify safety compliance, skill, and job performance.

This tool allows a manager to see if work was completed with safety in mind and if there were no infractions over a specific period of time. 

  1. Vehicle & warehouse activity provides a correlation between job performance & productivity.

For example, some software measures forklift travel times, speed, load on/off times, idle times, and job tracking.  This identifies the level of individual operator productivity.

Without operator performance evaluations, employees may be uncertain who is gauging their performance and if improvement is needed. Forklift drivers account for 70 to 80 percent of the hourly cost of operating your fleet, so targeting improvements through the review process and goal setting can help your enterprise achieve benchmarks and improve productivity.  

Topics: fleet monitoring, forklift drivers, one-screen access, safety improvements, goals, employee recognition, operator behavior, reward programs, team incentives, operator report card, forklift operators

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A Positive Warehouse Work Culture Can Boost Profits

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Nov 1, 2018 4:00:00 AM

How well warehouse employees perceive they are treated on the job can affect a company’s profits and growth potential. Your warehouse work culture is either positive, supporting your business objectives, or negative, adding one more obstacle in the path to profitability. team-3393213_640

Researchers at the University of Delaware compiled more than 70 studies and found three major components that affect business growth and worker retention: kindness, supervisor support, and favorable job conditions. When these elements are in place, most employees, including those working in a warehouse environment, experience "Perceived Organizational Support (POS)" for most employees, including those working in a warehouse environment.

When employees feel their contributions to their organization are valued, and their employer and supervisors care about their well-being, they feel a positive connection and responsibility to help the business reach its objectives. They become “team players.”

This positive POS is attributed to a sense of job satisfaction and commitment from workers, which results in higher employee retention and less absenteeism. This reduces costs associated with hiring and training new employees, the occurrence of shifts that are short staffed, and the amount of overtime paid to those covering a vacancy.

Can kindness and praise really boost productivity?

When your warehouse environment is friendly, and coworkers help each other out, the atmosphere is comfortable, and fear of confrontations or negative interactions is reduced. A study published in the Academy of Management Review  found that employees in this type of work culture provide better service without prompting and are readily willing to assist coworkers when help is needed. This results in an increase in productivity levels and achievement of goal and objectives.

Six steps to create a positive work culture in your facility:

  1. Engage your employees – Involve employees in determining that need to be improved. Listen to what they’re saying.
  2. Communicate - If challenges are not acknowledged, those experiencing them will develop resistance. The solution is open communication and letting employees know their challenges are recognized and understood by management.
  3. Delegate - Reach out and train team members who are natural leaders first. Once they are trained, they will be great role models and influencers for the rest of your employees. It has a ripple effect.
  4. Use data – Telematic data will demonstrate areas of your business in need of improvement and pinpoint successful results. For example, you can track an operator’s performance and productivity using your telematic reports and then recognize their strengths.
  5. Celebrate success – It’s important for employees to know they made a difference.
  6. Reward – Incentivize those who recommend improvements or report near misses.

Data from your telematics system is beneficial to your team for several reasons. It shows digestible facts about current conditions and exactly where the changes made by the team resulted in improvements. It can help build a motivated, positive work culture. The key is knowing your employees’ individual contributions and showing them that their work matters to you, their team, and the entire warehouse operation.

 

 

 

Topics: data-driven insights, best practices, warehouse management, teamwork, goals, employee recognition, operator behavior, reward programs, team incentives, forklift operators

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How to Improve Supply Chain Customer and Employee Satisfaction

Posted by Neil O'Connell, SVP Technology, Innovation, & Product Development on Sep 27, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Best in Class operations is a status achieved by meeting customer expectations for order processing while maintaining a healthy, safe work environment for employees. But obtaining that level of satisfaction can feel like trying to change a tire on a moving vehicle. It requires continuous monitoring and adjusting strategies to balance these two priorities.  success-2108032_640

Why is Best in Class important? 

Best in Class signifies that your enterprise is at the highest current performance level in your industry — trusted by both its customers and its employees. Essentially, people will seek to do business with you, and top warehouse talent will want to work for you. It is a benchmark that your competitors seek to meet or exceed.

But if your customers and employees were to rate their satisfaction, would your company make the grade?

  • About 80% of companies think they deliver great service, but only 8% of customers believe they have received great service.
  • Employees need to feel that their safety is a number one priority, and they want a vested interest in company-set goals and outcomes. They want their opinion to matter. If any of this is lacking, their level of satisfaction declines.

Create greater satisfaction

It pays to know where any deficits in consumer and employee satisfaction are, why they are occurring, and how to adjust to prevent them.

For customers: Look at productivity, damaged products, returns, and on-time deliveries.

  1. Tracking the movement of product through each step of the supply chain is especially important in e-commerce. A facility must balance speed and accuracy. Managers should be able to pinpoint the exact location of product and document all the steps of order fulfillment.
  2. Replacing hand scanning with auto scanning increases speed, accuracy, and productivity. Auto scanning can acquire a barcode and scan it instantly. As multiple trucks make thousands of scans over multiple shifts, benefits quickly accrue when seconds are shaved off each scan.
  3. Real-time monitoring tracks forklift movement, near-misses, and impacts. It can determine why damage to inventory occurred and how to prevent it.

For employees: Look at the workplace culture, and ways that safety is monitored, documented and enforced.

  1. Can workers trust the people they work with, have pride in the work they do, and enjoy working as a team?
  2. Consider each employee's ideas valuable. Ask for their opinions and suggestions and use them to improve warehouse operations.
  3. Identify potential hazards for workers in your facility. A safety checklist is a valuable tool that protects forklift operators, equipment, and foot traffic in the warehouse. Telematic vehicle lock-out is key to prevent operation of any forklift that poses a safety risk.

Telematic software identifies areas of operation that are off-target and how that impacts customer orders and your workforce. It is a valuable tool in achieving Best in Class status and balancing both customer and employee satisfaction.

Topics: warehouse operation, inventory tracking, distribution center, continuous improvement, teamwork, delegation of tasks, safety versus productivity, stress, reward programs, team incentives, forklift operators

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How to Build a Team Mindset in Your Warehouse

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Aug 30, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Teamwork isn’t as easy as it sounds. Managers can group warehouse staff and forklift operators into teams but putting coworkers together doesn't necessarily cultivate a team mindset. boat-606187_640

There are several things you can do to help build a motivated, connected team of coworkers. The key is knowing your employees’ individual contributions and showing them that their work matters to you, their team, and the entire warehouse operation.

Team building basics

It doesn’t require a lot of time to make an employee feel valued and a part of an important group effort. For example, you can easily track an operator’s performance and productivity and communicate this kind of support if you have telematic information at your fingertips.

Here are few other ways to build a team mindset in your warehouse

  1. Consider each employee's ideas valuable. Nobody knows the productivity challenges facing your company better than those who are on the floor doing the work every day. Ask for their opinions and suggestions and use them to improve warehouse operations.
  2. Set clear team goals and communicate why they matter. If workers know why something needs to change or improve they develop a vested interest in the results.
  3. Provide team and individual recognition for a job well done. Your employees want recognition that demonstrates that you see their hard work and value them. This promotes continued hard work, because they know it matters and will be recognized. And recognition doesn’t have to be large – what matters to most employees is knowing that someone noticed their efforts. (Like mentioning their name at the next meeting)
  4. Recognize safety and maintenance improvements. Safety is just as important as productivity. Telematic “operator report cards” provide a complete view of an operator's compliance with safety standards, checklist completion, and overall performance on the warehouse floor.
  5. Share team results based on goals. Telematic platforms provide monitoring that easily tracks labor and any benchmark results. For example, vehicle and warehouse activity are linked through TotalTrax SX/VX software to deliver a direct correlation between job performance and productivity.

Team rewards and recognition ideas

Not sure what you can offer your team other than a quick verbal recognition? Here are a few ideas.

  • Share their accomplishment. Put their name in the company-wide newsletter or post it on the bulletin board, along with a note about their exceptional efforts. Mention individual employees and their skills at a team meeting.
  • Small token rewards, like gift cards. Consider a gift card that covers their morning coffee for a week or one that pays for lunch at a local sandwich shop.
  • A little perk, like leaving work a bit early or an extended lunch break. This may cost more than a gift card, but it is a great incentive that employees will strive for.

Individual motivation increases when workers feel they have a vested interest in the outcome of team challenges. But facilitating a team mindset requires two-way communication, obtainable goals, and telematic monitoring to document individual and team achievements to be recognized.

 

Topics: benchmarking, smart systems, time management, proactive warehouse solutions, teamwork, value driven strategies, reward programs, team incentives, forklift operators

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