Why forklift drivers are crucial to environmental performance
If you want to get the feel for a manufacturing, logistics or packaging company’s sustainability performance, take a wander along to Goods Out and watch for a while. You may not realise it, but in terms of cradle-to-gate environmental impact, this is a critical point.
Think about it, if you damage product here, you are not just creating some physical waste, but also wasting all the embedded resources for those goods: the raw materials, the processing of those materials through the supply chain, auxiliary materials, the energy involved in all the processes up to that point etc, etc. In financial terms you also have to factor in the opportunity cost of not being able to sell the product and make a profit. For many products, the rework also disrupts the rest of the production system, adding further costs and the risk of upsetting even more customers.
This means that the humble forklift driver has a disproportionate influence on the environmental and economic performance of your business. In far too many businesses I see a stack of damaged goods at the side of the loading bay, often with a forklift sized dint in the side. In some Goods Out sections, the forklifts are driven like a dodgem ride at the fairground.
Clearly the employee engagement process you use for frontline staff like these needs to be quite different from that you use to engage the board of directors. My Green Jujitsu approach says that, as far as practical, you need to tailor the message for each audience, but you must also make sure no-one is left out. The critical people may not be who you think they may be.