On my way to the airport this morning, I drove by two of our plants. My wife, Jenny, was with me.
It was before 6 a.m. and she made a simple comment: “People get started in your plants early. What is going on?”
I started listing things.
We have truck drivers picking up loads of our product. They start early because our customers need the product delivered because it’s best for their schedule.
We have people unlocking the gates and getting ready to work with suppliers who bring us our raw material. Many of them like to make an early delivery so they can get on their way and make several other shipments. Accommodating them enhances our status as a valued customer. We like being easy to do business with.
Maintenance personnel and mechanics are arriving early. They are making sure the rolling stock rolls and the sawing equipment saws and the nailing equipment nails and the treating cylinder treats. A great start each day enhances “lean” efforts. Nothing kills momentum like a malfunctioning machine.
Forklift drivers and lead men arrive early. They assure schedules are firm, materials are staged, set ups are complete. When the horn sounds to start the day, we need to be ready to perform. They make sure we are.
We have sales folks hitting the road early: looking for new accounts or solving issues with existing ones. They get started early so they can get a full schedule done and get back home.
Our administrative team is on hand. There are bills to be paid, collections to be made, inventories to be reconciled, payrolls to be made, orders to process.
Teammates without specific assignments for early work arrive early anyway. They look forward to seeing their teammates. The five or ten minutes before the exertion begins are filled with fellowship: discussions about games played, shows watched, weekend plans, problems encountered all take place.
As I was running through the list in my head, I reflected on how lucky I am to be on your team.
In all kinds of weather, with all kinds of pressure, with all kinds of skill, with tremendous commitment and energy, we have close to 1,400 employees who show up on time and make all of this happen.
I realize I take it for granted most days. We get it done because it’s what we do.
Today, though, I’m not. I am grateful. I appreciate your dedication. I am in awe of your accountability. I offer my thanks for starting early, staying late and doing what it takes. You’re awesome.