Author Archive

MOTIVATING EMPLOYEES DURING HOLIDAYS A YEAR-ROUND COMMITMENT

November 30, 2009

While most people are sitting down to a Thanksgiving dinner this week, our couriers, dispatchers and managers will still be hard at work. As a Michigan delivery company, we rarely stop working when others do; that includes the holidays.

Our customers include hospitals and other health care providers that rely on us to be available every day of the year, around the clock. We are proud to answer that call and even sometimes, help save a life.

But making sure that everyone on our team is ready and willing to keep our customer’s operations running smoothly – even during the holidays – is a year-round practice. We’ve focused on three practices year-round to keep everyone focused, motivated, and we think, happier even when they can’t quite be home for the holidays.

  • Communicate clearly why their presence is important: The gratifying part of our team’s work is that what we do has a clear and immediate impact on our customers businesses, and sometimes on other people’s lives. In one day, for example, we delivered three donor kidneys to patients who desperately needed them.
    Letting our team know that other people are counting on them and reminding them of their importance around critical times like Thanksgiving or New Year’s, allows them to feel that they are part of a mission; and a critical one at that. We think that understanding this is part of the reason why our team is so willing to go the extra mile to get a job done.
  • Share the work load: We’re a family owned company. But you can be sure that when we ask our team to work over the holidays, we’re right beside them with our sleeves rolled up.
    Letting our team know that we’ve got skin in the game, and that we won’t ask them to take on any task that we wouldn’t readily do ourselves, is critical towards making our team cohesive. We are committed to walking the talk, dispensing with empty sloganeering. And, we think, the cohesiveness and commitment demonstrated by our team is an important result of that.
  • Be sensitive to others needs: We understand that family needs can be pressing year round, but are usually more so during the holidays. For example, our drivers and dispatchers whose families are grown volunteer to work on holidays so that those with small children can spend the day at home.

How do you keep your team motivated during the holidays? Please leave a comment below, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.com or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver.

From the entire team at our Michigan Delivery and Toledo Delivery locations, we wish you a Happy and Blessed Holiday Season!

Working at a family owned business

November 12, 2009

Reliable Delivery team

One of the best jobs I ever had was working at Summerfield’s Greenhouse when I was in high school.  Mr. Summerfield was tall and weathered with a gruff exterior that belied a very kind, soft heart.  

He lived with his daughter and son-in-law in a big, red brick house next to the three glass buildings that made up Summerfield’s.   Mr. Summerfield was definitely the man in charge, giving us our assignments for the day, checking our work, and watching over the young plants, making sure they had just the right amount of water and fertilizer. 

Margie was the mother hen, fussing over her dad, teaching us inexperienced employees how to plant seeds and cuttings.  Steve had an outside job, but during the season, he worked right alongside the rest of us, watering plants that were sitting out in the hot sun, loading flats of flowers into cars for our customers.  Besides being my first “real” job, this was my first experience working at a family owned business. 

And now, all these years later, I find myself working for a family owned business once again … and loving it.

At Reliable Delivery, there is a strong commitment to excellence that is modeled by the owner and has become part of the DNA of the entire team.  We pay a lot of attention to details, from having software that clocks every pickup and delivery to making sure our drivers are professionally uniformed.  Here, everyone “walks the talk”. 

Once, I had one of our newer couriers ask me why the janitor was giving him a directive.  I looked in the warehouse to see who he was referring to and saw our CEO sweeping the floor at our Detroit delivery company.  I laughed when I told him it was because that janitor signed his paychecks.  That sent a powerful message to the courier and to me.  There is something about the boss getting down in the trenches and working alongside you that not only teaches excellence, but also fosters loyalty and respect.   

There is a sense of pride that we share at Reliable Delivery.  Being an employee also makes me a stakeholder.  In our mission statement we talk about integrity and honesty.  How this business runs is a reflection of my boss and his family.  Those values held by the family govern how we deliver packages and freight, and how we respond to our customers.  If we make a mistake, we own it and work hard to resolve it.  In today’s cynical world, it means a lot to work for a company that stands behind its word. 

circlemodel2

*Permission for the use of this image given by Blender Consulting

Security is another benefit of working for a family owned business.  I know that these people are in it for the long haul, and so do our customers, something significant in today’s economy.  Page 6 of the American Family Business Survey 2007 cites optimism, and statistics in business growth and sales revenue that “confirm that family businesses [overall] are better able to weather economic hardship and stabilize the economy than their non-family counterparts.”

One of the things that I learned working at Summerfield’s 30 years ago is that a good benchmark of how a family business will treat its customers and employees is how they treat each other.  Reliable Delivery feels like family to me and I am proud of the work we do. 

What do you think? Please leave a comment below, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.com or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver.

Health Care Reform – Michigan’s Response

October 22, 2009

By Kathy and Kendra

“These are the good old days!” was the tongue-in-cheek reaction of Connie Curran, an RN and president of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Curran Associates to proposed health care reform legislation and the potential effects on hospitals throughout the nation.  Ms. Curran was one of several speakers at the Michigan Health and Hospital Association’s Governance Leadership Forum held a week ago.

Michigan faces some unique challenges with the expected passing of federal Health Care Reform legislation.   Michigan is an aging state.  The MHA statistics show we are aging more rapidly than the rest of the nation, at the same time we have younger constituents moving out of the state for employment opportunities. Hospitals have also faced a drop in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursable rates.  Although health care is touted as the last economic engine in Michigan, hospitals alone have laid off more than 3,500 employees and will most likely face more layoffs when the legislation passes.  Keep in mind that the majority of hospital employees are female.   We were astounded to learn that the growth rate for uncompensated care is higher among the insured than the uninsured.  

There were a couple areas of expected reform that were echoed by all the MHA speakers.  First, health care organizations will be required to have more and better integration with other patient care delivery systems.  This should allow for increased communication, primarily through technological measures, that would allow for the patient’s medical history and information to follow them as they move between health care providers. 

Second, there is an expectation for improved care at lower costs.  This will require health care organizations to seek out partnerships with businesses that can contribute service equal to or greater than the organization’s ability to do so, at a much lower cost.  This made me think about a conversation I had with the Transportation Manager of a major hospital in the Metro Detroit area.  I was training her on our online order entry and tracking systems.   While I was covering the different service levels and vehicles we had available, the manager was surprised to learn that we had large trucks.  She relayed an incident when they had an unexpected high number of infants born one night.  They did not have enough warming bassinets on hand and had to scurry to borrow them from 3 or 4 neighboring hospitals.  Had she known, she could have called us and we would have had the resources to dispatch several vehicles at the same time to pick up and deliver the warming bassinets back to the hospital.  As we talked, we also discovered that this could have saved her not only time and a few headaches, but money as well.  She had to keep several employees on overtime and had only one vehicle available.  With our medical couriers, she would have only paid for the point-to-point deliveries and could have had all her bassinets on site within an hour or two.

One of the reasons we belong to the MHA is that as Michigan medical couriers, we want to stay on top of the specific industry difficulties and concerns that face our customers.   We were encouraged at the steps the MHA and its membership are taking to be frugal with resources, drive out waste while improving care, explore partnerships and find innovative ways to “thrive, not just survive” during these unstable times.

Read more about Reliable Delivery’s effective and value-adding partnership with Saint Mary’s Health Care here

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.com or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver.

This Ain’t Pizza Delivery!

October 8, 2009

training manual

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from a participant in one of our Michigan delivery training classes.   This particular gentleman was looking for something to supplement his income when he hired on with us, but decided the timing wasn’t right to take on a second job.  But something he wrote in a letter after only two days of class made me proud of what we’ve created here, at Reliable:

“From what I learned and observed during my brief period with you is that you have an excellent company oriented towards high quality customer satisfaction,” he wrote.  “Your operation and personnel should be commended for the company culture it strives for.” 

I think any company that is trying to achieve excellence while adapting to an ever-changing business environment must continually evolve.  And so must its workforce.  The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) reported “In an information-based business economy….the race belongs to companies that build and harness their intellectual capital.”  (Laurie J. Bassi and Mark E. Van Buren, “1998 ASTD State of the Industry Report,” T&D Journal, January 1998)

At Reliable Delivery, we think the key to cultivating a flexible, first-rate workforce is through training and ongoing learning and education.  New hires participate in a comprehensive orientation program that consists of classroom and road training.  We want them to get a feel for what real life as a Professional Courier looks like. 

Often, when we bring on a new customer, we will research everything we can about their business and their industry, in an effort to provide the most proactive and accurate delivery services.   Oftentimes, we can discover new ways to increase the efficiency and speed of their deliveries, and even save dollars in the process.

We have even developed customer specific manuals and teaching materials that are distributed and studied company-wide.  And, there is not one manager in our organization that is not continually reading a book or taking a class to enhance their skills and abilities. 

One of the things I jokingly tell our trainees is “You are a Professional Courier.  You ain’t a pizza delivery guy.”  Nothing against the hard working folks out there making a living delivering pizza.   At Reliable Delivery however, there is a whole skill set and knowledge base that is required to partner with our customers.  I am proud that after two days of class, he was able to see that.

OCTOBER IS NATIONAL BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

October 1, 2009

“Please have a seat.  The doctor will be in to discuss your test results shortly.”  Almost all of us have someone we care about who has faced those fearful moments before receiving a good, or sometimes, a bad report.  This was my year to have a loved one face the bad news.

She is one of the more than 200,000 women in America that are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.  Over 40,000 will lose their fight.  Happily, with improved treatment and early diagnosis, those numbers are decreasing. 

calendarReliable Delivery is proud to be part of the fight against Breast Cancer.  Every October, our medical couriers hand out annual planners filled with wellness tips designed to educate and encourage women to make lifestyle changes or remind them to schedule recommended health screenings.  For example, women in their 20’s and 30’s should be screened for Breast Cancer every three years, and annually after age 40.  Those who are at risk or have a family history of Breast Cancer should be screened more often.

I mentioned that I have a loved one fighting Breast Cancer.  I know how critical accurate lab results are for my family member.   As Michigan Couriers, it is our mission to transport every specimen and every medical delivery as if someone’s life depended on it.  And many times, it does.

Please encourage the women in your life to take charge of their own health and remind everyone to support the fight for a cure!  If you have been involved in any activities to support the cure for Breast Cancer, we would love to hear about it.