I start my day with a coffee and a review of my Japanese studies before I leave for work. As I will be going to Japan on secondment for a year, it’s important that I keep up my language skills. I make sure to leave my house before 7.00 am so I can arrive early to read my emails and review yesterday’s figures.
A few weeks ago I created a PM shift report to be filled out by the afternoon manager to help create visibility and facilitate communication between the AM and the PM. I arrive at work early to review this report from the night before so I am aware of our performance and identify any tasks that may have been handed over or issues that the distribution centre is facing. I will also take note of the level of detail being included so I can edit the report structure and make it more useful for the team. Since rolling this report out, I have received some really positive feedback from both the managers and the workers on the floor.
Every day we have a morning meeting with all the team leaders and managers to review our results from the previous day and plan for the day ahead. As every department flows into the other, it’s essential that everyone communicates and understands the operations of the entire site and how the results of one will affect another.
After the morning meeting, I will check up on compliance in the employee management system. This is a clock-in, clock-out system to help us keep timesheets of the 200 or more employees who come in on any given day. This is a program that my graduate partner and I have been working on setting up and we’re now at the stage of training our management and administrative staff on how to use it. The main driver isn’t so much about employee attendance, but how the management team are using it.
We have recently been put on an assignment to learn in depth how we cycle count more than 35,000 locations in the warehouse, and to identify any areas where we could cut waste and create efficiencies. As we are at the beginning of this project, I am spending time with the team leader to learn about the area, as well as picking up a scanner and having a go at it myself. Since the team leader I’m shadowing is leaving early today, I have been given handover responsibilities to the PM shift at 2.00 pm!
To beat the lunchtime rush, we leave early to go to one of our many local eateries. I often join a couple of the managers and other office staff, which provides me with an opportunity to ask questions about the many areas of the business and gain a greater understanding of the warehouse at large.
As a part of my project in the Inventory department, I meet with the customer and senior management to discuss my progress and to review what I have documented so far. It’s a great opportunity for me to gain experience in presenting reports in a professional environment. We also discuss deadlines for when to have the project finished by and what is to be included.
The volumes in the Distribution Centre vary every day and so it is important to plan labour on a day-to-day basis. I attend a labour planning meeting where we commit to achieving specific pick targets for tomorrow and plan our labour accordingly
As I have been given the responsibility of the handover in Inventory, I meet the 2.00 pm starters to organise where they will be working and communicate the targets for them to achieve today. Once I get them organised, I quickly rush over to the 2.07 pm meeting.
Much like with the morning meeting, the 2.07 pm meeting gives us a visual of what’s happening in the warehouse. It’s also an opportunity for the morning team leaders to provide a handover to the PM shift manager. I will often run this meeting, making sure that all the team leaders contribute and have an opportunity to express any concerns they may have.
We have a couple of continuous improvement (CI) projects on the run at the moment, including an assessment of our returns process. I meet with the team leaders, and our CI manager to discuss our progress and to set out our plan for the next week.
I have a lot of contact with my site’s operations manager, so it’s not uncommon for him to take me aside and take me through different aspects of the business. Today, he invites me to walk the floor with him as he discusses the process for managing slow moving inventory, and his plan on how to get it out the door.
To end the day, I saddle up and ride my motorbike home!