For any warehouse manager, beginning a new job means starting on the right foot. Once you have the job, you need to demonstrate you’re making progress. Management needs to be comfortable that inventory, spare parts management, and order fulfillment are in good hands. The first sixty days on the job are critical and allow you to make a great first impression. Below are seven actions you should take to help you make sure your first steps are the right steps.
1. Understand Your Department’s Goals and Objectives
You probably discussed your department’s goals during your interview process, but it’s a good idea to review them in detail with your manager. These include goals not only for the warehouse but also for the company as a whole. Understanding how your department fits in the bigger picture will help you navigate day-to-day.
2. Meet with Your Direct Reports
Hold an initial meeting soon after arriving. Your initial meetings with warehouse staff should be used to establish both how you intend to manage the department, how people will be measured, and firmly establish lines of communication.
3. Study and Understand Your Physical Facilities
Inventory, including raw material, finished goods, and MRO, constitute one of the most substantial investments for your company. Your warehouse should be designed to handle your inventory types and may use a variety of material handling equipment, including AS/RS systems, pallet racks, conveyor systems, and handling equipment. How the facility is configured, how the inventory is processed, and how these systems are maintained is important.
Survey your facilities for quality of ROI and note areas of either safety or improved efficiencies you may want to address in the future. Check inventory record accuracies and develop plans to improve if needed.
4. Get to Know your Products, Suppliers, Freight Handlers, and Customers
In all the following cases, get to know both the people and the processes involved as soon as possible.
- Depending on your specific situation, your warehouse may supply outside customers – businesses, companies, or individuals – or you may provide internal customers such as production departments, assembly lines or, even, other warehouses.
- Your external customers may be located anywhere in the world, but it’s a good idea to introduce yourself to your point of contact within your customer’s organization. For internal customers, the same approach applies except a face-to-face meeting is best. Maintenance inventory management is often one of the most significant areas of both efforts and opportunities. You’ll want to be sure your spare parts management processesare as efficient as possible.
- Current freight haulers should know what you and your company expect in terms of performance. Learn the key individuals in each organization. Your employer will likely have agreements in place when you arrive, but review and understand these and look for places to save money.
5. Understand the Legal Side of Warehousing
It is not necessary to become a legal expert on warehouse operations, but it is a good idea to know some of the basic legal rules that govern warehouse operations. For example, at what point does legal title pass from the supplier to your company, how is damaged good handled, and what is the warehouse’s responsibility for consignment inventory. Reviewing internal policies and procedures within the first sixty days shows a commitment to your new position.
6. Meet with Your Manager
Initiate a meeting with your manager early in your first sixty days. During the session, address the following:
- Gain any additional information you should know but didn’t learn during the interview process.
- Develop an understanding of how you will be measured, what metrics you will be measured against, and how reporting will occur. Establish method and frequency for communications.
- Review your department’s budget as well as any plans for major projects that might affect your areas.
- Discuss your plan for your first sixty days. Ensure your programs align with your manager’s expectations as well as the overall company goals. Later, refine your plan per this discussion.
- Discuss other topics depending on your situation.
7. Meet Company Support Personnel
During the first sixty days, develop an understanding of internal company support systems such as payroll, accounting, and HR. Introduce yourself to contact points for these departments. Building good internal company rapport is essential.
Chances are you will have had several years of prior warehouse experience. Nevertheless, every company operates slightly differently so you can be sure you’ll find new processes and policies. During the first sixty days is the time to familiarize yourself with your new employer, the procedures, and people.
The first sixty days in a new position is a time to make a good impression, learn as much as possible, and see that your team is motivated. Your employer is placing a great deal of confidence and trust in your abilities, so it’s important to show them they selected the right candidate.
Author: Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO at Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy to use mobile CMMS that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.