Post Cyber Monday Things To Remember

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December is the Fulfillment Center’s Super Bowl.

All the equipment is in place, you’ve been bringing in seasonal employees for the past couple of weeks (or you’re bringing everyone in now.. good luck ;) ) and it seems everything is going according to plan. Well almost…

Here are five things that are easily forgotten but will pay huge dividends as December comes to an end:

 

1. ) It’s the orders stupid – Many politicians use the same line with the “economy” but it seems fitting to use here. You’ve spent the entire year stressing the importance of efficiencies and eliminating waste. That’s why It’s important to remind your leadership team that for now, your success will be determined by one thing, ensuring that all orders ship in a timely manner and all order cut-off’s are met.

Not one order left behind!! You always want to be efficient, but if  you’re falling behind on orders, it’s ok to take a less efficient approach to a problem, if it ensures all orders will meet customer promise.

You may use additional labor around conveyor, sorters and any area that might be prone for jams. You can never have too many eyes on your material handling system during this time of year.

With the increased volume, a conveyor that’s down for thirty minutes might be the disaster that will take an entire week to work out of. Having an associate manned with a radio to monitor these areas is just the insurance your operation needs.

 

2.) Have Fun – Over the next four weeks, your associates and managers will be working extended shifts and additional days. After the initial excitement of cyber monday, things quickly become stressful for everyone. That’s why it’s extremely important to plan something to lighten the mood for your employees. For example….

  • Have live entertainment during breaks/lunches
  • Play Christmas movies during breaks/lunches
  • Have a themed dress day (ugly sweater, santa hats)
  • Raffle off prizes each week for perfect attendance
  • Have a local vendor provide a back massage to associates during their lunch/break time

Prizes and incentives are great, but try to focus on anytime associates have to be away from their packing stations (breaks, lunches, before/after work). Making this time the best it can be will make that next overtime shift a little easier.

3.) It’s a marathon not a sprint – Twelve years ago I was working as a front line manger preparing for peak season. I had been working overtime and then putting in additional hours on my own just to make sure I hadn’t overlooked anything. I wanted everything to be perfect!

One week after Cyber Monday, I came down with something that was a mix between laryngitis and influenza. It was the worst time to be sick. I continued to go to work for three days when my manger finally forced me to go home.

I remember it to this day… Mr. Swartz said, “Anthony, it’s a marathon, not a sprint”. At that moment, I realized that there was still three weeks left and I should focus on recovering vs. trying to make it through the two days remaining in the current week.

When I returned, Mike sat me down and asked what I had been doing leading up to my illness.

It became very obvious that I was not taking care of myself. I somehow forgot the  importance of eating and sleeping (yes, I was much younger). I figured it was peak season and I wanted to be a hero. Well, I’m no hero, and sleeping is now my favorite hobby.

Please remind your leadership team and associates that this time of year is about being with their families. Remind them to eat right, get to bed early, and schedule shopping when it doesn’t interfere with taking care of themselves.

And being the hero means that you’re still around at the end of the movie.

 

4.) Communicate – Employees hear all the hype about peak season, and are often kept in the dark when it finally arrives. During this four-five week span, it often becomes difficult to find ways to communicate the progress of the company and operation. Find ways that visually show your progress. Make sure it’s updated daily and can be updated by someone other than yourself.

Example: A simple thermometer that’s filled in as you progress to your total units shipped or maybe that mountain climber dude from the Price is Right.

 

5.) Say Thank You – Your associates will be working overtime almost daily. Not to mention the countless number of activities they will potentially miss out on (kids ball games, christmas play at church, school programs, family dinners, etc..). Those are things that extra money on a pay check will never be able to make up.

That’s why saying “thank you” is something you cannot  afford NOT to do. Now more than ever, your employees need to know they’re appreciated.

Have your leadership team stand at the exits/entrances between shift changes to shake hands and say “thank you”. You can also say “thanks for being here” to those who are walking in.

It’s a simple gesture that will go a long way.

 

What creative things is your operation doing this holiday season?

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