With Commitment #7, we begin to dig deeper…
We will teach you the safe way, provide you safe equipment, fix it when it breaks. Do it right and safe.
Watch out for others, guide and teach “rookies,” hold others accountable for safe practices.
Be there, start timely.
Learn the right techniques and work at a consistent pace.
Build endurance and push for faster production.
Teammates support, cooperate, encourage and motivate each others. Be a good team member.
Know your customer and exceed their expectations.
Everybody has a customer. If you are not serving the company’s customer directly, you are serving someone who is.In my mind, our ability to define, refine and execute this commitment separates us from everybody else.
I am reminded of a story:
There was once a man passing by a construction site. He stopped and asked one of the tradesmen what he was doing. The worker replied gruffly, “I’m laying bricks, can’t you see that?” The man watched a while longer and then asked another worker what he was doing. “I’m just earning a living,” he replied. A third time the man asked a worker and the response was much different: “I’m building a cathedral.”
I think there is a distinction which we should pay attention to. The bricklayer has a pretty narrow view. Show him what to do and he does it. Repetitive. Boring. Dispassionate.
“Earning a living” says a bit more. Maybe there is a family to feed, some bills to pay. The job is what is necessary to get by.
The cathedral builder sees the big picture. He will be laying bricks with a purpose. He aims to please. He is focused on meeting the needs of the customer.
As we start to execute the fundamentals of our job well, it is important to dig deeper and keep learning. To a person new to our lumber business, a log is a log and a board is a board. But, it doesn’t take too long to be around before you should start noticing the different grades, species, sizes, thicknesses.
To a person new to our pallet business, a pallet is a pallet. But, it shouldn’t be too long before they start to recognize the sizes and shapes, the strength characteristics, the uses.
So, first, we must make sure that everyone knows who their customer is.
Second, we must be able to define why what we do is important to the cause.
Finally, what more is there to know about the products you are making or service you are providing for your customer?
Bruce Bornstein, one of our partners in Maine, is always quick to tell me, “We don’t make pallets, we make engineered shipping platforms.” That’s our version of a cathedral.
Learn to understand your tools and machines. Maintain them. Report little things before they become big.
To run lean, we must have good housekeeping. Keep your area clean.
If you are not moving toward excellence, you are drifting toward mediocrity.