Surviving the Summer Season…

by Frank Peditto 14. September 2010 13:28
In the relocation industry, especially within the transportation sub-segment, the summer months are always the busiest. Typically we see a healthy spike in activity in June, July and August, which allows us to prepare in advance for the seasonal increase. This year, due to the sluggish economy, we weren’t sure what to really expect. We prepared with additional staffing and, much to our surprise and delight, the season was a near record one for our company, with more than 40 percent of our annual volume occurring during the past three months.

As a business owner, the spike in volume is obviously great for the ‘bottom line’, but with it comes challenges in staffing and coverage to ensure that our service levels are not compromised and our internal culture is not disrupted. After all, it is summer and we all have team members who are interested in taking vacations and certainly entitled to do so.

So how, as a small business, do you balance the business activity with service quality and the happiness of your team members? We start with the premise that the customer comes first, and our entire team is committed to that philosophy and our overarching dedication to providing superior service.

With that said, we also employ a ‘all hands on deck’ philosophy where every member of the team understands that we may have to alter our tasks and our standard workflow in order to support other team members and our overall business. And that includes the president and senior team leaders as well. This summer it’s been a bit like the CBS show, Undercover Boss, and as president, I ended up with a lot of filing, copying and paper clipping. For nearly half of the summer, my traditional role was moved to more of an office administrator, providing any type of support possible for the team. Interestingly enough, this turned out to be one of the most beneficial activities I have had in my career. By working with each team member and assisting them with the manual tasks they have to do every day for each file, I got to experience our operational processes first hand, and it was an eye-opener. I learned quickly that there are many processes on a day-to-day basis that could be improved or made more efficient. In just two months we, as a team, identified over 20 processes that we are currently re-engineering.

While its genesis was out of necessity, our ‘all hands on deck’ summer turned out to be a most beneficial experience for our organization. Our team is closer than ever. We met all of our clients needs for this summer and we now are a more efficient and effective team. Regardless of your company’s size or your leadership role within your organization, it’s critical to remain engaged in the details of what your company does and how you do it. Take a look at your business from the inside out, it’s the best way to see what’s really going on and identify areas where you can improve efficiency and effectiveness.

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About the author

As the President of ReloTrans, Frank Peditto is responsible for the vision and growth strategy of the company as well as overall leadership. A veteran of the transportation and logistics fields, Frank possesses more than eighteen years of leadership and thirty years of customer service experience.