Did you know that your order from Rio Grande may have been packed by a guy who works in our machine shop? Or that the tiny 2˝ x 2˝ bag that your findings came in might have been labeled by one of our very own business coaches? How about that guy on the YouTube videos—Mark Nelson? He’s actually on the phones working the Tech Support lines most of the time. Here at Rio Grande, we practice resource shifting.
On any given day at Rio you’ll find at least a dozen or more people working in areas that aren’t their primary area of responsibility. This practice allows the company to ebb and flow with the needs of our customer—you!
Imagine it’s a Monday morning, the metal markets have dropped and silver is down a dollar or two (Yeah!). Our Made to Order (MTO) department—where all your precious metal sheet, wire, tube and bulk chain come from—is swamped, they’re a person short and orders are backing up. There are 20 batches of cuts waiting on the table! Oh no! (insert dramatic music here) But don’t panic (insert calming music here); shift your resources. MTO calls another area, like, say, the Receiving Team (my team) for a resource (i.e., another person to help get the orders out).
Somewhere else people might react with a not-in-my-job-description kind of attitude, or they may flat out ask, “Do I get paid extra for this?” Truth is, that kind of thinking wouldn’t get you past the application process at Rio Grande. Everybody here does what it takes to get the job done, guided by our fourteenth Principle: Be successful by helping others to be successful, and accepting that help for yourself.
Maybe it’s corny to quote The Principles, but whatever, they work! And it’s the nice thing to do. So no, you don’t “get paid extra for this,” but you get to keep the customer happy! Duh, I mean really, it’s in my best interest to make sure MTO gets that order to you, or that the other order fulfillment areas pull your orders accurately. If we don’t keep you happy, we’re out of business.
The rest of my team can cover the workload if we send someone to help MTO. Or, vice versa, if my team is buried with inventory to receive, a resource comes for a few hours from, say, the Findings Team, or maybe Gemstones – they always help! If we’re lucky Vicki will bring her awesome Monkey Bread (a natural extension of sharing resources: sharing baked goodies)!
My team signs up to do rotations in pretty much every area of the distribution center . . . and the packaging department, those folks are all over the place! Another benefit to resource shifting is that, honestly, I get bored easily. I really don’t like a slow day at work. This has nothing to do with the kind of work I do. I love my job, I do, but if the day is dragging and you can’t stop looking at that silly clock, you just kind of want to scream. Do you dare? Nah, go work in MTO for an hour, or shipping after the Tools & Equipment catalog drops! Besides, the more people that know the ins and outs of our distribution center, the more people can contribute to making the process better, more efficient, and therefore more successful. Isn’t that the point?
Who do you go to when you need help? What are your resources?