Hurricane Season is once again upon us. While some will mark this time as uneventful, many of us will be gearing up for the worst. Regardless of whether you are laughing in the face of danger or going into full on panic mode right now, there are a few basic things that you need to know. Read more
Have you already started pulling your hair out over holiday shopping AND shipping? We can totally commiserate with you here at ReStockIt. Not only do we have to make sure our customers get their orders in time, but we all have to make sure our families get their packages too! Here are some helpful tips to get you and your business on the right track for holiday shipping!
- Let your delivery driver know your game plan: No matter which carrier you use, let them know if your hours are changing or how much volume you expect to ship out. A forewarned driver is a prepared driver.
- Make sure packages are ready at pick-up time: Drivers want to go home too, so if you’re ill-prepared for them, you’ll put a kink in their day. It’s the holidays! There should be no kinks!
- Package protection: UPS, FedEx, USPS…they are all kicked in high gear during this time of year. They are pushing packages through sorting facilities and hubs like they are going out of style-so if one of your packages gets dropped…then kicked…then finally picked up, you have peace of mind knowing you packed it like it was Fort Knox in a box.
- Organization and you: Let’s face it. You probably use multiple carriers. Eh, it happens. Make sure you have your packages organized by carrier, placed where they need to be, and are ready to go.
- Don’t Stress! This is a no-brainer. Holidays are busy times, and we all tend to start pulling our hair out by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, but if you plan now, you can avoid the stress of making sure your customer, and you, are stress-free for the holidays.
For your sanity, we have included some links for shipping calendars from the Big Three Carriers.
FedEx recently conducted a study where they began putting sanitizer stations in their office as a test to see if less employees came down sick. The results were an absenteeism decrease. The study concluded that Purell hand sanitizer decreased the spread of germs in the office as well as reduced the amount of sick days employees took by approximately 20%!
Recent studies have shown that lost productivity due to illness costs US employers more than $260 billion annually. That 20% reduction in sick days could mean a savings of $52 billion every year if offices all used Purell!
Of course the benefits of clean hands and fewer germs extend far beyond the office.
You could say that Purell and I have quite a history. When I first started working if I wasn’t just on the verge of a full-blown cold, I was recovering from one. It was an endless and vicious cycle, and one that my boss and co-workers weren’t too pleased about.
That’s when hand sanitizer came into the picture. When my boss insisted that I begin using Purell Hand Sanitizer you could say it was love at first sight for my weak immune system. What a brilliant invention: the closest thing to washing my hands…in a tiny portable bottle.
And if you think you’re doing a decent job of keeping you and your workspace clean, think again.
FACT: Your phone is dirtier than your toilet!
Common surfaces that we come into contact with each and every day at the office are actually considered to have more germs than toilet bowls!! (Need to clean those toilets? Try these).
I can’t afford time away from work and you probably can’t either. Have no fear though; Purell is proven to kill 99.9% of the germs that it comes into contact with which cause sickness and infections. Use Purell and live a happier, germ fee life!
Today is Global Handwashing Day, and people everywhere are washing their hands more than usual. I’m an inveterate hand-washer, but with all this extra washing today, my hands are taking a beating. If yours are anything like mine, they get dry, cracked, and red looking, and no amount of lotion seems to work for them.
That’s why I like Softsoap. First off, it’s made by Colgate-Palmolive, the minds behind…Palmolive! I remember my mother using Palmolive when I was a kid, because it really did help her hands while washing dishes (this was before dishwashers were prevalent in houses) and they didn’t dry out like they would using other liquid dish washing soap.
I keep Softsoap in my kitchen, in my bathroom, and at the sink in the laundry room, and each one is a different scent. I alternate between the foam and liquid, depending on my mood, and I try to keep a manlier scent in my bathroom for the hubby, since he says he doesn’t like his hands to smell like lavender. I can’t think why not…
They also have different formulas that you can choose from, whether you want anti-bacterial, Kitchen Fresh, or their Pampered Hands line. Plus, the bottles are really attractive and you wouldn’t be ashamed to have them sitting on your counter! Plus, you should start stocking up for the holidays, because there will be even more hand washing then!
Daily Adrenaline Meeting
by Verne Harnish “Growth Guy”
It used to take days for issues to work their way to the top to get authority reallocate resources,” says Tony Petrucciani, CEO of computer services firm Single Source Systems. “Now it’s like FedEx. It’s there by 10:30.
There is one indispensable routine; one absolute essential habit more important than any other I can teach an executive team; one discipline that is non-negotiable – and that is an effective daily meeting rhythm.
Before dismissing the idea (I’ve heard every excuse over the years), consider that from the top teams at Goldman Sachs to the assembly floors of Dell Computer to the Oval Office of the White House, an effective daily meeting rhythm is at the heart of their best management practices. And I’ve not encountered a single start-up to mid-size firm that didn’t benefit greatly from initiating a short daily huddle organized around a specific agenda which I’ll detail below.
“I lead a daily ‘Adrenaline’ meeting,” explains Tony Petrucciani, CEO of Single Source Systems, Inc., a computer services firm based in Indianapolis. Petrucciani gathers his management team (five including himself ) and meets each day at 10:07 am to discuss roadblocks. Their goal is to be out in 15 minutes. The name came from the substance which makes the heart beat faster. “In our case, we wanted the business to pulse faster,” adds Petrucciani.
“Our key customers really like that we do these meetings and it has become a sales tool, differentiating us from the speed that our competition pulses,”explains Pettruciani ” It used to take days for issues to work their way ‘to the top’ to get authority to allocate re-sources – it’s now like Fedex – it’s there by 10:30.” It wasn’t always like that at Single Source. The meetings were launched when they faced a large project in overrun status and their customer was getting angry. “We implemented a specifi c Project Adrenaline daily meeting. Within a week, we were making much better progress, and had gained back credibility from the customer we told them about adrenaline. This kept a “six-figure” project from imploding,” describes Petrucciani.
Since then, his team has implemented other types of daily Adrenaline meetings (Channel Adrenaline, Sales Adrenaline) that pulse just before his management meeting. If a major issue comes up in those earlier meetings, they pulse thru to the Management Adrenaline meeting, keeping the company operating at an effective pace.
With the daily huddle, we’re much better equipped to keep our daily tasks aligned with our plan says Chuck Hall, founder and CEO of Charles Hall Construction.
“The daily huddles are particularly key when you’re the busiest and spread the thinnest,” notes Chuck Hall, founder and CEO of Charles Hall Construction in Clarendon Hills, IL. With a focus on clients with multiple projects across multiple regions, Hall has teams working all over the country. And with the economy picking up, he’s facing an onslaught of business. “We have approximately $24 million in contracts signed or under negotiations for work this year waiting to start,” explains Hall. “With the daily, we’re much better equipped at keeping our daily tasks aligned with our plan. And it has helped us keep morale high during the difficult slow months, and step by step prepare us for the tidal wave of work that will hit us in June/July of 2004,” says Hall.
The immediate pushback I get when recommending a daily huddle is “We’re too busy!” Executives can’t imagine finding the time to get everybody in the same place or on a conference call every day for one minute, let alone five or 15. And if the company is quite small and travel isn’t that big an issue, they’ll tell me, “We don’t need a meeting when we’re seeing each other all day long.”
Yet, routine actually sets you free. Teams that huddle daily find they interrupt each other considerably less the rest of the day. There’s a fixed time when everyone knows they’ll have everyone else’s attention. Meeting daily also clears up issues that otherwise linger to clog up the weekly meeting. This frees up time to focus on more strategic issues during the weekly gathering (focus of a future column).
I recommend that companies set the time at an odd time, like Petrucciani’s 10:07am. People do a better job of being on time when the time’s not on the half- or quarter-hour. Worried that you’ll forget the meeting while traveling? For a nominal monthly fee use http://www.iping.com, a reminder service which pages or phones you just prior to the daily meeting. And http://www.freeconference.com offers a free conference bridge you can use to host a daily conference call.
Make attendance mandatory and on time, with no excuses. I’ve been in intense meetings with clients. I’ve been in the midst of seeking funds from venture capitalists. It doesn’t matter; I tell them I need to take a break for my daily meeting. And it only gains one respect – a disciplined firm exudes success.
“I tell them I need to take a break for my daily meeting. And it only gains one respect – a disciplined firm exudes success.
Overall, start and end on time and don’t problem solve. This meeting is simply for problem identification. If the meeting is “face to face”, stand up to avoid going too long. And back the meeting up against other regular meetings or appointments to force an ending. If it starts to go longer than 15 minutes, people will drop the habit.
The Agenda: It should be the same structure every day, and it’s an agenda just three items long: what’s up, daily measures, and where are you stuck? In the first few minutes, each attendee shares “what’s up” the next 24 hours. This lets people immediately sense conflicts, crossed agendas, and missed opportunities. The key is to highlight specifics without simply reading one’s ‘to do’ list.
Next, review whatever daily measurements your company uses to track its progress, highlighting any unusual trends.
And the only people who don’t get stuck are those who aren’t doing anything.
The third and most important agenda item is where people are stuck. You’re looking for bottlenecks. There’s something powerful in simply verbalizing, for the whole group to hear, your fear, your struggle, your concern. It’s the first step to solving the problem, because “until the mouth runs, the brain won’t engage.” And the only people who don’t get stuck are those who aren’t doing anything. So, scrutinize the person that reports “everything is fine!” or “no stucks today.”
Important as it is, the bottleneck conversation shouldn’t be allowed to drift on into problem-solving. It’s okay if somebody wants to reply to a bottleneck by saying “Call so-and-so,” but if two people start engaging over an issue, politely suggest they “take it off line.” Remember: The daily meeting needs to be kept short.
While reading Titan, in preparation for writing the chapter on meetings in my book, I was struck by the fact that John D. Rockefeller had lunch with his top team every day, starting with his co-founders in the early days and ending with Standard Oil’s nine directors at headquarters in New York. Rockefeller insisted that this routine was crucial in the success and global reach of his company – and it will for your firm as well.
When it comes to preparing my house for the influx of relatives and friends that are coming over to feast for the holidays, I am totally meticulous in my cleaning ritual. I clean things that during the rest of the year might not get the attention it deserves, like the top of cabinets and the cabinets under the sink.
It’s not that I think people will stand on a step stool to check how my dust bunnies are faring on top of the cabinets, and I don’t envision the kitchen sink cabinet being opened up long enough for anyone to notice the ring of dish-washing liquid that *may* be there from when the bottle tipped over, but you just never know.
I use a lot of Kimberly-Clark wipes during this time. LOTS. I would probably be shot by an activist group that monitors such things as amount of disposable paper-towel type things, but in my defense, it’s only twice a year that I do this. And I support all efforts to sustain the environment, just sayin’. But I love me some WypAll’s.
I also used Kimwipes on all my electronics and even everyone’s eyeglasses and sunglasses. They are especially made for delicate jobs like that, and I don’t want anything messing up my TV and computer screens! They are also great for smartphones and tablets. In my kitchen, I use the X80 foodservice towels. Nothing really beats the absorbency when it comes to drying dishes and utensils and getting them seriously dry. Good luck with your own holiday cleaning!