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25. Be Relentless About Continuous Improvement. | Taylor’s Message

Taylor’s Message

When I think of continuous improvement, I think of the improvements recently completed at the CDC. We are constantly trying to achieve a level service that is beneficial to everybody who relies on the CDC functioning at its best.

One example of this fundamental in action is the new dock layout for our shipping/staging lanes. When the loading team was having issues loading trucks with speed and accuracy, everyone came together and developed a new approach for our dock layout. The dock now has numbered grids with bar codes within each lane to help our associates locate and verify the right product. This helps us load orders onto our trucks more accurately and efficiently.

While the lanes helped with accuracy, what truly has helped us with our goals of continuous improvement is the open line of communication that now exists between teams at the CDC. The associates picking and staging orders and associates that load product from the dock into the trucks give the other constructive feedback so they can improve their efficiency and accuracy.

The CDC team is being Relentless About Continuous Improvement!

Taylor

Taylor Gascon

Warehouse/Famous Distribution Sebring

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25. Be Relentless About Continuous Improvement | Rick’s Message

Rick’s Message:

Continuous Improvement is extremely important to the success of Famous, so much so that it is also one of our Core Values. This commitment to continuous improvement has been vital to Famous’ past success and will be even more vital in today’s rapidly changing environment.

It is the responsibility of every associate at Famous, regardless of department or position, to always look for a better, more efficient way of doing things. Even when things are running smoothly and you are content with your processes, challenging yourself to ‘improve’ the process will benefit you and everyone in the company. When we challenge ourselves and strive to become better, it is contagious; everything around us becomes better too.

Not challenging ourselves and continually looking for opportunities for improvement is not an option in today’s world. Embracing Change is another one of our fundamentals that comes to mind as a necessary part of living this fundamental. If we are not moving forward, we’ll be left behind. I’m sure everyone can think of at least a dozen companies that were around for many years that are no longer in existence because they did not practice continuous improvement. They were reliant that their processes and successes of the past would carry them into the future; utilizing the logic of “we’ve always done it this way”.

One associate that comes to mind when I think of this fundamental is Del Landin. Anyone that has worked with him knows he is passionate about process improvement. Having worked with Del on several projects, I know he continually challenges all members of the team to provide input into improving their processes, and contribute to continual improvement.

“Success is a process that continues, not a status that you reach. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.” – Denis Waitley

Rick
Rick Dunn
Transportation Manager

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25. Be Relentless About Continuous Improvement. | Nick’s message

Nick’s message:

Be Relentless About Continuous Improvement

I learned the importance of continuous improvement early in my career.  The first company that I joined after college was a division of a multi-billion dollar company with decades of success.  After a few years, I noticed that the company seemed to be satisfied with its position in the market with little focus on making things better.  A few years later, the division was sold to a large competitor and the plant that once employed 1500+ people was closed within 18 months of the sale.

About one year ago, I was interested in finding new employment and I wanted to make sure that I found a company that had a successful past, but also a company that was passionate about continuous improvement to secure a bright future.  I was very fortunate to connect with Famous.  During the interviewing process, Marc Blaushild invited me to attend a leadership meeting as a guest.  During this meeting and subsequent interviews, I learned about many improvement activities underway at Famous, such as private label products, multi-family projects, digital strategy, inventory management, and many more.  The enthusiasm for these initiatives was very impressive and helped me realize that Famous is a company that is truly relentless about continuous improvement.

After joining Famous, I have observed many examples of this fundamental in action.  The recent activity to identify and develop specific actions for inventory that has not sold in 2 years and the great response and support that has been provided to help with the clean-up of the CDC (Central Distribution Center) operations are two good examples.  In both cases, the associates involved have demonstrated a strong focus on taking action to improve the situation.  Also, our focus on the 40 Fundamentals is another great example of continuous improvement.  Each week we are reminded of the areas that can be improved to enhance our effectiveness when interacting with customers, suppliers, and each other and to achieve better results for our customers and Famous.

The end of the year is a great time for reflection and for establishing goals for improvement for the coming year.  The article below is a good summary of the benefit of continuous improvement for our personal life and as Famous associates (JamesClear.com).

Happy New Year and best wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2018.

Continuous Improvement:
How It Works and How to Master It

What is Continuous Improvement?

Let’s define continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is a dedication to making small changes and improvements every day, with the expectation that those small improvements will add up to something significant.

The typical approach to self-improvement is to set a large goal, then try to take big leaps in order to accomplish the goal in as little time as possible. While this may sound good in theory, it often ends in burnout, frustration, and failure. Instead, we should focus on continuous improvement by slowly and slightly adjusting our normal everyday habits and behaviors.

It is so easy to dismiss the value of making slightly better decisions on a daily basis. There is one thing about it though: it works.

How Does Continuous Improvement Work?

So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, traveling the world or any other goal, we often put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.

Meanwhile, improving by just 1 percent isn’t notable (and sometimes it isn’t even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.

In the beginning, there is basically no difference between making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. (In other words, it won’t impact you very much today.) But as time goes on, these small improvements or declines compound and you suddenly find a very big gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t.

Here’s the punchline:

If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.

This is why small choices don’t make much of a difference at the time, but add up over the long-term.

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25. Be Relentless About Continuous Improvement. | Jim’s message

Jim’s message:

What is continuous improvement? The term itself is fairly self-explanatory. It almost seems too simple, but it’s about improving our business, processes and ways of working. How we go about studying, planning, implementing and evolving that improvement is where it gets more complicated. Even though implementation can be challenging, we need to continuously practice a philosophy of relentless, constant, logical, and sustainable improvements throughout Famous.

We should start by moving out of our comfort zones. There’s a reason humans often resist change: There’s a comfort in what we know. While the call of the unknown is appealing to some, it is a natural and reassuring thing to resist putting ourselves in new situations. In the business world, this is no longer possible. In times gone by, it was often possible for companies to “rest on their laurels” and maintain the status quo with their products and services because customers trusted their people, brands and products and knew what they were getting. There are several reasons why this doesn’t work well anymore:

  • There’s More Competition Than Ever: Competition is a good thing. It gives us a basis for comparison amongst our peers and pushes us to do better. But it also means we aren’t the only ones offering a certain product, service, or feature. When there’s limited competition, you can more easily defend your corner of the market, but in today’s competitive climate, we don’t get a moment to rest.
  • Information is Everywhere: Customers are connected 24/7 these days. They have access to information at their fingertips. Whereas previously a product, service or marketing plan was designed for longevity, nowadays we need to be ready to quickly react to shifts and trends in the market. It’s important to use the speed of information flow to our advantage.
  • Dynamics are Changing: The old walls around products and services have been torn down, and intelligent, flexible companies are reaping the rewards. A couple examples, mobile apps are turning the taxi industry upside down. Online banks are offering an alternative to brick-and-mortar banks. Companies like Amazon are changing the way we buy everyday products. That doesn’t mean “traditional” businesses are finished — it just means we need to continuously evolve and improve.

“We’ve always done it that way” won’t work anymore. But that doesn’t have to be seen as a bad thing. On the contrary, realizing and accepting that there is a new and better way of doing business is exciting and can create many great opportunities for you and for Famous. Start reminding yourself today to think “continuous improvement”, until it’s a habit!!

“Progress is better than Perfection” ~ Simon Sinek

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25. Be Relentless About Continuous Improvement. | Marc’s Message

Marc’s message:

This week’s fundamental, “Be Relentless About Continuous Improvement”, is a fitting one as it relates so well to last week’s “Embrace Change”.  In fact, there are several words that are important to highlight.

The first is the word “relentless”.  To me, this term signifies being aggressive, passionate, and proactive with your individual desire to improve and our collective commitment to work as a cohesive team in order to take Famous to a higher level.

The second word is about being “better”.  In sports, champions all have an incredible focus on getting better every day.  They treat practices like games.  They don’t just go through the motions.  They give 100% effort on a consistent basis.  They learn from their mistakes, and they are open to listening to coaches or others to better hone their skills.

The third word, “faster” in this fundamental not only catches my attention, but it is a reflection of people’s wants and needs in society.  Simply, the world has changed, and it will never stop.  People want speed, and they are willing to pay for it.  Think about going from rotary phones to touch tone to mobile phones or standard ovens to microwaves, or from full service at the pump to paying inside and now self-service at the pump, or instead of going to a theater, now sitting comfortably in your home or with your mobile device downloading movies, or going from snail mail to email or texting.

The focal point with this improvement is speed.  And since people’s personal and professional lives are so intensely integrated, we must make speed (along with accuracy) a key element in how we approach our work.  We need a hop in our step.  We need to out hustle the competition.  Unfortunately, there are not enough hours in the day to slow down, and we don’t have the luxury of being idle.  We need to keep moving and look at the pace as fun.  When all of us are consistently focusing on speed and accuracy, we are firing on all cylinders.  Think of the beauty of a basketball team passing the ball crisply, with pinpoint accuracy, and with ball and player movement.  This creates the best opportunities for good shots that win games and eventually championships.

Speaking of basketball and a relentless focus in the spirit of continuous improvement, one of my favorite stories is about Michael Jordan.  I’m sure you are all aware of his greatness and his six championships in the NBA.  However, back in college at North Carolina as a freshman, his coach was the famous Dean Smith.  As the story goes, Coach Smith would often divide the team up and play five on five at the end of practice.  They would play with the winning team being the first to score 11 baskets.   There were times when Michael Jordan’s team would be up 10 to 0. Coach Smith (to MJ’s dismay) would stop the practice game and take Jordan and put him on the other team that was down 0 to 10.  You could imagine what happened next.  Often Michael Jordan’s new team would come back and win 11 to 10.  His will to win was and still is legendary.  He took his practices seriously and he helped his teammates (although he was very young at the time) become stronger, fiercer competitors that could not and would not accept losing.  It wasn’t just talent that got him and his teams to the highest levels of competition.  It was his relentless pursuit of becoming better every day.  We can all learn a lot from his example, as this sports analogy is transferrable to any business as well.

Some amazing associates who come to mind that are absolutely relentless about continuous improvement, and always try to get better, and care about speed, as well as accuracy are Christine Longville, Dave King, Andrew Grover, Ken McGregor, Steve Winovich, Joe Bolinger, Lisa Terman, Joe Puchajda, Jamie Billy, Emily Bowers, Scott Sengewalt, Brad Peters, Grant Wiggins, Randy Mason, Brian Morse, Bob Renicker, and Ed Yakubik.  I’m very proud of the pace and example these individuals set for both our internal and external customers.  In addition, our entire Toledo branch is a high energy team that hustles, gets the job done quickly, and is focused on getting it right.

The best companies don’t just talk about getting better.  They do it.  It’s in their DNA.  That’s just how their people are hardwired.  I am appreciative of the fact that this is the essence of Famous, and I’m extremely confident we will continue to be relentless in the pursuit of our fifth core value, continuous improvement.  Thanks again for all that you do.

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