Today’s blog post comes from Blinds.com team member Freddy Rios. Freddy works in our Samples Department, without which Blinds.com could not run smoothly. Freddy looks back on how smart thinking led to a small but incredibly valuable change in his department. This is an account of how Freddy’s change helped everyone in the department’s efficiency.
I don’t consider myself to be an efficiency expert, but what I do know is that I am always trying to find a faster, simpler way to do things. Most would probably say that I am just plain lazy and they’re probably right. That aside, many companies strive to find a more efficient, cheaper way to put out their products, and at Blinds.com, I’m trying to help make that happen.
When I first started at Blinds.com last July, I was temping in the Samples Department for an employee who was going to be out for a month. Our Samples Department sends swatches of products to customers who want to see what the products look like in their homes before they buy. We offer each customer up to 10 samples for free. I was quickly thrown into pulling orders… 1500+orders my first day. I felt a little overwhelmed but dug my heels in and went for it. The first week was hell. My back and feet hurt. I didn’t care if I never saw another sample order again.
I quickly came to the conclusion that there had to be a better way to do this. I decided to break down the process of pulling orders and shipping them. Initially, I was given a stack of orders, told to go to the locations of each sample, pull them one by one, place a coupon inside, and seal it. That’s a lot of walking around. I realized that a lot of the orders were identical, due to the fact that we offer ready-made sample packs of our most popular colors, which customers can order in one clickI started sorting through the orders and pulling all the sample pack orders out and grouping them. By doing this, I also realized that some of the orders started with the same tower location. I began to group those orders together as well. After a couple of weeks, my rate per hour increased dramatically. This past year at the Operations Awards Dinner, I was awarded a certificate for being the fastest puller.
My recommendation is to always try to do your job better. Like my favorite quote from Aristotle says, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”