Archive for the ‘Business Operations’ Category

New Reliable Delivery Blog

June 28, 2011

Thank you for reading the Reliable Delivery blog. Please join us at our new blog home http://blog.reliabledelivery.com/

Cheer during the Christmas season

December 29, 2009

By Nick Reed

During this time of season, it is important to know what matters most. Christmas has always been a season of giving, sharing and showing love. With today’s economy, that joy has been diminished because of the uncertainty of rising unemployment and insecurity about what tomorrow may bring. Even with job security, there is a need to scale back and save more just in case the unexpected happens.

But there may be surprising benefits to even this economy; namely, recognizing and appreciating the gifts that we already have in our lives — our families, our friends, and the love and warmth that being with them provides all year long.

They say, true happiness comes from within. If that’s true, what’s within should be shown on the outside. That is one of the main ways to show cheer during this season. Happiness should be something that you wake up with every morning.  Just the fact that you were able to wake up should put some type of joy on your face. A driver with our company once said, “Another day, another way”. With that type of mentality, you see things from a different perspective. If we are always seeking another way, then our days are filled with the happiness of good things to come no matter how our day is going.

I can say from personal experience that being positive just rubs off on those around you, especially in the high-stress environment of a call center. My first responsibility is to our customers and their business. If my attitude stinks then that carries on in the responses I receive. 

Oftentimes, I can make the job easier just by my response to a situation. That can change the whole atmosphere for everyone. The word cheer as defined by Webster’s dictionary means “a source of joy or happiness; a comfort” 

Can people look at you as a source of comfort? This year, move out of your comfort zone and put the correct face to the season.  Let’s not be engulfed in ourselves but show them the real meaning behind the season.  No matter what happens or what may come, let’s enjoy this season that only comes around once a year. Let’s be the joy and happiness and the comfort that we desperately need during this time and show the real meaning behind Christmas. It’s not about what you receive, but what you give. Let’s give a spot of cheer this year and watch it come back to you!

You get what you pay for

December 21, 2009

Recently, I went car shopping. For anyone, that can be a tough process. But I did my homework and came up with a number in mind for a car to get me from point “A” to point “B,” and there was little (I thought) that could persuade me to crack that price ceiling.

Why did I need fancy headlights or electric seats or any of that stuff? I only cared about two things: Cruise Control and ABS. Anything else was just fluff and I didn’t need it.

After shopping around a bit I FINALLY found the car I wanted. The only problem was that it was going to be $50.00 more than I wanted to spend. After looking over the car I noticed that I had a lot of additional options that I hadn’t initially considered. All of them gave value to the car (a Pontiac G6) and I didn’t want to let any of them go. In the end, I decided that quality and value were more important than a rock bottom price.  I ended up spending almost $100.00 more per month on the car than I had originally planned, but walked away feeling that I had gotten a great overall deal. The truth of the matter is I just felt like it was all really worth it The price was fair and having all these bells and whistles, not to mention great coverage on my car if something goes wrong, gave me peace of mind. Sure I paid a little more, but it’s worth it.

It’s a lengthy analogy, but it’s one our customers often learn after doing business with us.

You’ll never hear anyone say, “Reliable Delivery is the cheapest delivery service in Detroit”. Our sales teams aren’t trained to ask, “How low can I make this price go to get your business?” We believe that what we offer has value. We also believe in giving our customers the best and that includes options that cater to each of our client’s wants and needs. From state of the art technology, to driver training, to our employee’s education while with us, we know it all holds value. And if there’s one thing I know with buying this car it’s that you get what you pay for.

One example: A hospital in Ohio recently switched over to our Ohio delivery company over one of our competitors. What really sold them on the switch was our online order entry. They thought it was amazing that they never had to pick up a phone. They could just log on, put in their orders, pull up order history, even do all their internal accounting with us all at the touch of a button. They loved it and instantly knew our service held its value well.

How do you offer value to your customers? Leave a comment below, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.com or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver.

Evolving Our Business in a Changing Industry

December 10, 2009
By Scott and Aaron

As the delivery / logistics industry evolves, so does Reliable Delivery.  We are constantly looking ahead, researching, and planning to take the next step that will continue to make our company competitive.  When faced with adversity – we react.  But more importantly, when opportunity knocks, we open the door.  Recently, a door has opened to the world of Third Party Logistics (3PL) Warehousing.

Recently, two members of Reliable Delivery’s Leadership team had the opportunity to attend the 2009 IWLA Essentials course in Dallas, Texas.   The IWLA (International Warehouse and Logistics Association) is a trade association of warehouse logistics providers that helps members run high-quality, profitable businesses.  The course covered topics such as marketing and sales, warehouse law, information technology, layout, insurance, safety, cost/rate development, real estate, and current and future directions of the industry.  The course, while technically designed for larger 3PL members, provided us with the ability and knowledge to expand our business in this direction.

Knowledge and ability are useful tools.  But the contacts we met and the hundreds of years of experience they possess in the industry have proven to be the most useful tools taken from the Conference.  Many who attended have been multiple times.  The first time they attended, their situations were similar to ours.  They come back to refresh their knowledge base but also, and some say more importantly, to network with others.

After four days of courses, and several hours of networking, we formed friendships with our classmates.  It is comforting to know that when we have a question about a specific aspect of our expanding 3PL business, that help and advice is just a phone call away.  Hopefully, these friendships will become business partnerships as well.  And eventually, when we attend another conference, we’ll be the contact, the friend, the business partner that another expanding logistics company is looking for.

Using technology to save time

December 3, 2009

Everyone says that time is the new money. Sure, you can’t make more of it, but shave seconds or minutes from your operation, and you’re likely to boost productivity. That can result in making more real dollars.

We are all given 24 hours in a day. Nobody wants to waste a second on a mundane task. Technology has offered us some great and convenient options. I can no longer imagine a world where I would have to wait in line at the bank just to withdraw some money. Nor can I imagine a world without everyday conveniences such as email, video conferencing, or even those license plate tab renewal machines at the Secretary of State (I’m serious about this one; my five minutes with this machines was the only good experience I’ve had there. And that’s saying something).   

Our customers probably can’t recall a time when they’ve not had the convenience of streamlined online order entry and tracking. And we’ve invested heavily in technology to make sure that they don’t have to. As a Michigan delivery company, we’re expected to get important deliveries where they need to go precisely when they need to get there. But Reliable Delivery specializes in saving our customers time and money by ensuring that it is easy to do business with us.

Being able to place an order online is good but we also offer our customers the ability to save frequent addresses or frequent orders. This enables an order to be placed with a few simple keystrokes or clicks of the mouse and can be a real time saver. Order tracking is also available. Everyone can follow the status of their order from creation to delivery or we can send an email with the order updates. We also offer reporting, online invoicing, and more all with customer convenience in mind.

Our customers seem to appreciate it:

Stephanie Eckley, laboratory manager at Saint Mary’s Health Care, says “In the past, we didn’t have a convenient, reliable way to track the pick-up or delivery of our samples or specimens. The Web order system they offer has made a great difference in our day-to-day operations. It greatly improved the overall transmission of our information.”

If needed, we can become the logistics center for nearly any customer, leveraging our technology and know-how to boost efficiency and reduce waste.

Before too long, we’re certain that technology will evolve. And you can bet that we’ll be tracking it, and investing in those new technologies that will help our customers have a better experience and save time. And after all, time is money.

How do you use technology to save time? Please leave a comment below, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.com or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver.

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!

Finding Time Like a Modern Day Mob Boss

November 24, 2009

In business, making the right decision is only valuable if it’s timely and implemented well. But how do you make a right decision quickly? It’s hard enough to make the right decision, let alone having to make that decision quickly.

The answer? Think like a mob boss, or at least, take a few lessons from one from TV. Anthony Schneider wrote a book based on America’s favorite fictitious gangster Tony Soprano of HBO’s “The Sopranos”. Called “Tony Soprano on Management,” the book talk about making good decisions quickly.

“Time is the new money,” Schneider says. We want more of it, try to spend it wisely, and work to save it.” 

Take a minute and draw up a vision in your mind of the many things you would like to accomplish in your life. I’ll bet you came up with a long list, and thinking about accomplishing it all can be daunting. That is why any leader will tell you managing time is too important to disregard, for mafia bosses and CEOs alike.

Tony has a wife, kids, mistresses, capos bickering with one another, major new business opportunities, black bears invading his yard, the FBI watching his every move, rival families rising up against him, surreptitious counseling sessions … and the list goes on. Few of us would ever live Tony Soprano’s life (or would want to), but we could take some pointers from him: he manages his time well.

Tony’s ability to make quick decisions boils down to easy, manageable actions:

  1. He is a keen observer of people. He takes the time to listen and learn behavior. He knows how someone will react before he even asks the question. Take the time to think out reactions, it will save you the time of cleaning up a failed decision that yielded an unexpected response.
  2. He prioritizes, making lists and moving time from less important tasks to more important tasks. If there is a meeting he doesn’t need to attend, he skips it to do things that can’t wait. Don’t waste your time where you aren’t needed. Focus on urgency.
  3. Tony acts fast. When it comes to decision making Tony knows that “saving time on one thing allows leaders to use that time elsewhere – and benefits accrue.” Tony doesn’t drag his feet. When he does he knows it could cost him money, or worse his people’s lives. He carries out hard decisions quickly.
  4. He expects others to be fast too. When someone takes too long completing an assignment or arrives late to a meeting, Tony gets annoyed. Business must run on time and be “fast and steady”. Make sure those in business with you know that time is important and delegate your tasks to those who know it.
  5. When Tony’s working, he’s working.  When he is driving with Furio or his capos he is discussing business. He is always “checking up” on his business even in short conversations with his people. Everything Tony does during his work day is thought out and always has a goal that is focused on improving his business.

At Reliable Delivery, time is the key aspect of the Toledo delivery service we provide to our customers. They expect us to be “On Time…Every Time”. Why? Because that is our promise. Day in and day out we have to make tough decisions in literally seconds. Our Capture Operators (CSR’s) are trained to take an order in under one minute. Our dispatchers have been taught how to assign a maximum amount of work in a minimum amount of time, often working with other dispatchers to decrease assignment time. We have given our customers time sensitive expectations, and the only way to live up to our guarantee is to continuously focus on properly managing our time.

What are your tricks for managing time? Leave a comment below, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.com or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver.

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. 

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*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.

Walking the Talk

November 5, 2009

My knees were shaking and my hands were sweating as I sat at a round table in front of several top executives talking about a long-term contract.  This was going to be a new line of work for us, and give us our big splash in the medical field.

I was happy all the way until I got to my car and called my boss who brought me back to reality.  It’s great that we sold a new piece of business, he said. But the real work is just starting.  

We work every day on being the best transportation company in Michigan, so we had to get everyone up to speed on this new project.  That involves more than briefing our drivers in a conference room.

To meet our service standards, every driver had to be Haz-mat trained, had to have a cooler and a spill kit in their car – oh, and by the way, we need to be able to have dry ice at a moment’s notice any place in the state. 

To pull this off correctly we needed to apply one simple principle to this project: Everything walks the talk. It’s a lesson we learned long ago from the book “Inside the Magic Kingdom,” something our entire leadership team studied together.

We apply this to everything we do at Reliable Delivery, from a new project to the first day we bring someone in to work with us.  Our training has to be top notch and we need a total team effort.  We have their paperwork in order, a training scheduled so they know exactly what to expect over the next week.   We teach our drivers from day one how important our uniforms are to our customers and how everyone needs to look sharp with their shirt tucked in, ID badge showing, black shoes and a belt must be worn.  We spot check our drivers so we make sure this is how they look every day. All of our drivers carry rain bags in case they are instructed to leave a package at the door or out where the weather could damage the product we deliver.  

Our trucks are washed once a week and inspected every day for damage. When you walk into our office you will find that the people working in the dispatch center also wear uniforms.  The dispatch center is clean with no papers lying around. Everything has a place to be stored. Every customer service representative has a flat panel monitor. National customers have visited our center and have commented to me that they have visited hundreds of courier services all over the county and have never seen an operation that looks as good as we do.  I just smile and thank them for the comment and think to myself everything walks the talk.     

How does your organization walk the talk? Please leave a comment below, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.com or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver.

Piece by Piece : Building a Powerful Team

November 3, 2009

RELIABLEPUZZLE2“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

“It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares about who gets the credit.”
— Robert Yates

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”
— Babe Ruth

So how do you build a great team?  How you answer this question can make or break your business.  The answer, however, is not universal.  Different strategies and management philosophies can be used to achieve this goal.

The leadership team at Reliable Delivery meets on a monthly basis specifically to make this happen.  During these meetings we brainstorm around business issues.  The team, as a whole, comes up with the best solutions.  The guiding principle to the meetings is simple: Everyone has a voice on the team and, together, we influence the direction of our delivery company and shape our culture.

When you empower each team member to make a difference, the results can amaze you.  Every team member has a specific talent.  Assigning tasks according to specific talents produces results.  By recognizing the abilities of each team member at Reliable Delivery, a sense of pride, and ownership of their work is developed.  And when you own something, you tend to take better care of it.  This is how our team is built.  Working together in this way, we’re able to more quickly produce results for our customers. 

Reliable Delivery is always making strides to improve our business while delivering exceptional customer service.  That is our culture and that is something that every team member strives to achieve.

 

How do you build great teams?  Please comment below, email us at blogeditor@reliabledelivery.com or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/reliabledeliver.