The 3 Best Practices to Run Effective Warehouse Meetings

warehouse-meetings-best-practice

This best practice is about running the warehouse meetings effectively. It’s basic and I learnt a great deal from consultants and doing consulting myself, the consultants gets billed at a high rate. For eg. I have been to sites where I got billed and the value we brought to the table as a team and it was always highly challenging. The complicated problems we solve for them and imagine one hour of my time is wasted for whatever reason. That’s a lot, we did not value for our customers for that one hour and that’s not a good place to be in. We don’t want to be like that, especially as a consultant they trusted their operations, their business, their systems with us, it’s an important thing to take care of especially the trust. So running meetings effectively is extremely important and making progress in the project, making sure the right stakeholders are informed, making sure every single team member is actively participating and providing their updates. 

If they are struck and if there is a red flag and cannot find a solution, they can immediately raise the flag and ask for help. It’s all on the project manager who owns the project and he also owns these meetings effectively. There has to be a clear agenda like the first item you are going to discuss, the second item you are going to discuss and the number of people that are going to participate at least in the face to face meetings that is what we would call. I had one of the large corporations that I worked for and there one person sent out a meeting invite to 10 people and like 50 people showed up. The room was not able to accommodate all the people that showed up and some people even came from Europe all the way to Houston, Texas. It’s all because everybody had to have a say in it and everybody have been impacted. For that reason all showed up and their budget with travel got approved and they showed up. It was amazing that how things could quickly get out of hand especially in larger corporations. It does not matter it is worth large or small, it is always important to run these meetings effectively because four people sit together and their not doing anything for one hour and talking something and nothing happens it all impacts the rates going on. It’s probably wasted and if you look at it that way, that will make a lot of sense. That is why it is good to have a clear agenda and it’s important to have a clear plan on what you are going to discuss about, maybe an item, a discussion point, here’s the decision we got to make either this or that or combination of these. These are something we have to resolve in the meetings quickly. 

  1. This is all on the project manager, so this is his job is to make sure the agenda is planned and everybody is aware of the points to discuss and all the inputs for the discussion that are needed is communicated to the participants and hopefully they read all that and they are well prepared before attending. That’s why in Amazon they have something called as quiet time, before the meeting or after the meeting starts everybody spend some time for around 10 to 15 mins just reviewing the background for the meeting and then only they start talking. Smart companies like Amazon manage and understand the importance of meetings and participants. They manage that rigorously.
  2. The second thing is there is an insolvable item in the meeting you guys run into and if you are not able to figure out, then there is no point in just going talking in circles. Instead you have to park it and somebody has to own. Put a name next to the action item and move on because is cannot be resolved in that room and in that meeting. There is someone else that need to be involved to get the answer for that. At the end of the day the project manager can summarize this in his minutes of the meeting with respect to the action plan.
  3. Doing a little bit of cat-herding sometimes is what happens when someone comes-in and they take over the meeting. They completely talk irrelevant stuff so remember so well this was my one of my very first design discussions where I was supposedly leading and the whole design discussion and I was standing there and I was white-boarding all the different processes and steps and things like that and one person took over this meeting. The meeting was leading to somewhere else and all came-up. This person was talking and talking due to which the meeting got hijacked and took sometime and finally we had to call timeout and took a break. We brought back everyone together after wasting at least 30mins in that process. We did not accomplish anything and with six, seven people so that’s like at least all of their time is wasted.

We did not do a good show of running that meeting so simple things like this can be avoided if planned meticulously. If you establish a discipline and establish a culture of running those effective meetings with a clear agenda before the meeting starts with the time that has to be blocked in everyone’s calendar with acceptance. If everyone is showing up we can get our objective accomplished in that meeting. We have to do that well so everyone is cognizant of everyone’s time the culture changes and if everyone is aware of the meeting and prepared they won’t waste anyone else’s time. That is important to do which saves the tone for the entire organization. 

warehouse-meetings-best-practice

I could write a book on how to conduct meetings but just I brought it up because in WMS there are a lot of design discussions that happen, lot of project management stuff we get done we are moving the project, different work streams, carrying them together. We are also getting lots of tasks to be done and if you lose the efficiency in terms of running meetings then you are going to waste lots of time that means several really expensive consultants involved and they are very expensive sometimes easily 200 – 300$ per hour. You don’t want to waste all those $$$ if you run your meetings effectively. You could get the project done effectively at a lower cost. This is about highly focusing on getting your WMS and this is something from a project management perspective. Always have it in mind and make sure you have a good project manager who can instill this discipline across everyone by making sure that the meetings are important, effective, efficient and on to the point. This is something to think about so hopefully this is helpful. Thank you once again for joining this video and share your thoughts and in the comments section below.

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Originally published at Smartgladiator.com on July 23, 2019.


Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. So far, Smart Gladiator Wearables have been used to ship, receive, and scan more than 50 million boxes. Users love them for the lightweight, easy-to-use soft overlay keyboard and video chatting ability, data collection ability etc. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 17 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at www.smartgladiator.com. Also follow him at www.pugasankara.com.

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