Monday, December 13, 2010

Taking Charge and Taking Stock

I just received two beautiful books for my library and reading pleasure. One is a book I longed to own, and the other is the latest release from the publisher and its author. Studying the contents of the cardboard package and its accompanying customs declaration dispatch note, I am reminded of the relevance of mail and overnight delivery.

Logistics management is a science born of warehousing and distribution, supply chain management, purchasing and shipping. Each of these processes is a specialty area that demands working knowledge and tacit experience.

One of the mottos of logistics is ‘First in, first out’. Interestingly, it sounds like the transition area of triathlons. Zero inventory is an ideal situation to be in, and in practice, transition area after T1 almost achieves that. After the swim, most participants will do a quick-change of attire before mounting their bicycles. Barring any penalties and disqualification, T1 should be emptied of bikes before the first wave of fast riders return.

The stock take is a time when the inventory of merchandise in the warehouse is counted up. The final tally reflects the inventory situation, and shortfalls (missing items mostly) are to be accounted for after this physical measure. A certain percentage is allocated for losses and missing or misappropriated or misplaced items.

At the workplace, we need to make constant checks. We need to account for our team’s whereabouts as well as their performance. We need to take stock of each person’s results and have our conversations with them. Revisions are required when staff do not measure up to expectations. We must remind ourselves as leaders to make adjustments to our expectations and perceived limits. How do you evaluate your team’s performance? How often do you apply ‘first in, first out’? Do you review your team performance regularly? Are your people promoted, and who are those consistently left behind?

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