How Engagement Nurtures Enthusiasm and Motivates Warehouse Teams

Warehouse work is often grueling, physically demanding and repetitive, and it is also one of America’s most dangerous jobs according to OSHA. Accidents happen when workers lack engagement, and feeling unappreciated was cited as the primary cause of low production when the workforce management company Kronos polled manufacturers about employee productivity.

On the other hand, nurturing enthusiasm, taking workplace safety issues seriously and letting workers know how much their contributions are valued can help you to avoid these problems, reduce employee turnover and build a team that is just as committed to your success as you are.

Enthusiasm Is Contagious

You may think that your product range and unique marketing approach are your most valuable business assets, but the ideas inside your workers’ heads could actually be far more valuable in the long run. Employees are more likely to share their ideas when they feel appreciated and work in an environment where initiative is recognized and rewarded, and creating such an environment is a product of effort more than investment.

Employers in all industries say that attracting and keeping qualified workers is their biggest challenge, but you can avoid burnout, reduce worker turnover and foster enthusiasm and engagement by being proactive and reminding your people just how much you care about them.

The Keys to a Happy Warehouse Floor

Recognize workers who share ideas or go above and beyond the call of duty. Bonuses are the traditional way to thank exceptional workers, but a pat on the back in front of the whole team can be just as effective.

Small gestures can pay big dividends

Bring coffee and bagels at the beginning of exceptionally busy days and provide lunch when workers are being asked to make sacrifices and put in extra effort. You should also be ready to take action when your workers face a setback to show that their efforts and understanding are appreciated.

Examples of going the extra mile for your people include offering them cold drinks and finding a cool place for them to rest when air conditioning systems fail, or offering to arrange transportation when workers will miss their trains or buses home because you are asking them to stay late.

Listen and say thank you

Workers who are told how much their efforts benefit the company feel appreciated and are less likely to pursue other opportunities, and a handshake and sincere thank you can do as much to nurture enthusiasm and engagement as a pay raise or a promotion. Another great way to build a loyal and committed team is to listen to their concerns with empathy and understanding even if little or nothing can be done. Scheduling is the source of a great deal of workplace conflict, but you can turn the situation around by trying your best to accommodate your workers and explaining honestly why certain concessions are just not possible.

Keep things interesting

The monotony of warehouse work can sap the will of even the most enthusiastic workers, but workplace doldrums can be avoided by regularly altering schedules and reassigning workers so that no one task becomes oppressively dull. A valuable side benefit of this proactive approach is a multi-skilled workforce that can be assigned as needed to fill the gaps when employees are absent due to sickness or injury.

Be careful when encouraging competitiveness and camaraderie

Splitting a workforce into teams and then rewarding the team that performs best can enliven warehouses and motivate employees, but a win at all costs mantra should be avoided as losing teams may become resentful and this resentment can linger. To avoid this pitfall, you should ensure that all contests are run in a light-hearted way and the rewards or prizes on offer should be desirable but not too valuable.

Put safety first at all times

Avoiding workplace accidents builds loyal teams and protects your bottom line, and increasing employee engagement is one of the best ways to prevent injuries. Studies have found engaged workers are involved in 48 percent fewer accidents and are more likely to step forward and say something when they notice unsafe conditions. These savings can really add up as each workplace injury costs employers an average of $38,000 in lost production and health care and workers’ compensation costs.

Winter Road Tripping: Top Tips for Safe Travels

Each of us has our own view of what the holiday season means, although it usually involves some combination of family, friends and food. Many of us will hit the road during the holidays, and road trips can get dicey with winter weather. Before you slide on a jacket and turn the key in the ignition, follow these top tips for safe travels. Nothing puts a damper on the holiday spirit like being stuck on the side of the road.

1. Be Fluid Savvy

Remember all of those dipsticks in the engine compartment? Make good use of them as you winterize the car. The transmission fluid should have a fresh, pink hue without a thick viscosity. Ideally, pull out every dipstick and examine them. If a fluid looks questionable, drain and replace it.

Be sure that the radiator has a 50-50 mixture of antifreeze to water. Cold weather can freeze the radiator if there’s no antifreeze within the system.

2. Pack an Emergency Kit

The Today Show suggests that an emergency kit should be part of your preparations. Add lifesaving items, such as:

  • Blankets
  • Battery charger
  • Bottled water
  • Flares

It’s not enough to just toss the kit into the trunk either. Verify that every item is functional and not expired, especially if you carry canned food. Your holidays will be trouble free with an updated kit in the car.

3. Get Friendly With the Battery and Tires

Nothing drains a battery faster than cold weather. Many of us will head out to our cars at some point this winter only to find a dead battery waiting for us. Check the charge on the battery before driving out on the road. It may be necessary to have a professional check it. If you notice it has any decline in power, replace it. The cold weather will give it a challenge when it’s not entirely fresh.

Winterize the car even further with a tire check. Examine each tire for any damage. Fill them up to the proper pressure too.

4. Get an Oil Change (or do it yourself)

If you’ve already checked the oil, you’re halfway to a perfected engine. During cold weather, however, even slightly older oil can be an issue. Cold weather causes the oil to become thicker, which can damage the engine as the oil lubricates the moving parts. Err on the side of caution by performing an oil change before the holidays. Swap out the oil filter and drain away the old liquid. This task doesn’t take a long time, and it can save the engine from unnecessary strain.

5. Light it Up

Your battery may have a full charge, but that fact doesn’t mean that the vehicle has a perfect electrical system. Turn the car on with the lights set for nighttime use. Walk around the car. Every light should be illuminated. Activate the turn signals and hazard lights too. If you encounter any light issues, replace the bulbs or investigate the wiring system. Being visible on the road keeps you safe.

6. Detail the Windows

A clear view of the road is mandatory during a winter trip. Examine the windshield wipers and washer fluid housed in the engine compartment. Refill the fluid if necessary. Swap out the wipers if they don’t adequately remove moisture from the glass. Bring along rags and extra wipers if icy and snowy conditions are in the forecast. You never know when stopping to clear the windshield may be necessary.

7. Use the Roof Rack

Try to use a roof rack for your personal possessions, stresses Canadian Living. Loose items within the car become projectiles in an accident. Limit the amount of items within the car. Make an exception for certain items, however. Keep important items, such as a battery charger, secured inside the vehicle in case an emergency arises. Without unnecessary items in the car, you’ll also add critical leg space for comfort on the road (and might eliminate some whining from the back seat).

The experts at Northeast Battery can answer any questions about winter preparation before a road trip. Battery tests, replacements and other services are available with our expert guidance. Don’t find yourself stranded this winter. Allow our expertise to guide you through a safe, holiday season

America Recycles Day is Thursday, November 15th!

Does it matter if I recycle?

So many of us have asked ourselves this question. We’re just one household, right? But if we all take that mentality, where does that leave us as a global community?

Climate change, and the state of our collective carbon footprint, should be top of mind for us all, especially now in this political climate. Thursday, November 15th is America Recycles Day (a part of National Recycle Week), reminding us all that it does indeed matter if we recycle.

Check out these benefits of recycling from the EPA:

  • EPA estimates that cutting back waste generation to a level consistent with 1990 could reduce GHG emissions by 11.6 million metric tons of carbon equivalent (MMTCE)
  • Increasing our national recycling rate from its current level of 28% to 35% would reduce GHG emissions by 9.8 MMTCE, compared to landfilling the same material
  • Together, these levels of waste prevention and recycling would slash emissions by more than 21.4 MMTCE–an amount equal to the average annual emissions from the electricity consumption of roughly 11 million households

As a battery distributor, we take recycling batteries seriously.

State governments keep a close watch – and have strict regulations – when it comes to disposing lead acid batteries. We keep seeing more and more that the disposal of lead-acid batteries with municipal solid waste is becoming banned. Government regulations deem spent batteries as hazardous waste unless they are properly reclaimed at a secondary lead smelter or battery recycler. So, it’s important to know what to do if you have lead batteries that need to go. We can help.

As a service to our customers, Northeast Battery offers documented pickup and removal of spent lead-acid batteries sold or distributed by our company and our representatives.

If you have batteries you need recycled, let our customer service team know.

This week, don’t forget that doing something small – recycling batteries, eliminating plastic water bottles from your lifestyle – can make a huge impact in the years to come, for all of us.

WHO: Advancing Lead Batteries Communications Initiative
WHAT: America Recycles Day – highlight of National Recycle Week
WHEN: November 15th

Got Batteries? Tips to Lower Your Long-Term Costs

Batteries serve every industry in the marketplace, especially manufacturing or service sectors. You’ll find batteries in forklifts, on technician’s benches and in a variety of other applications. Each battery must be serviced on a regular basis so that it can operate with peak power. Entire departments can lose time and money if even one battery breaks down. If you’ve got batteries, learn about the expert tips that can lower your long-term costs. They make a difference come year end.

1. Charge Before 20 Percent

One of the best tips for motive-power improvement is avoiding battery use below the 20-percent threshold. When the battery dips below this power level, you’re scraping the reserves.

Other issues persist, such as:

  • Overheating critical components
  • Damaging the machine’s electrical system

Use a multimeter on the battery before every use. When the 20-percent level approaches, start the charging process. The battery will have a more useful lifespan as a result of your efforts. Early decline is the effect of draining batteries to the lowest points.

2. Keep up With Planned Maintenance

Planned maintenance or PM is the routine set forth by motive-power managers to maintain the batteries in use. Some of the PM tasks include:

  • Cleaning corrosion from the contacts
  • Refilling the water levels
  • Verifying vent-cap efficiency

Depending on the battery’s specifications, perform PM at least once or twice a year. Some batteries require more frequent evaluations, such as every five to 10 charging cycles. An experienced manager or battery professional can help you carve out the right PM schedule for your applications. Some machines are simply used more often than others.

3. Perform a Maintenance Charge

Take a look at your battery’s charger. There should be a button indicating a maintenance or equalization charge. This mysterious button contributes to lower costs when it comes to motive power.

As a battery discharges and charges back up, the acids within the housing will eventually accumulate at the base. Your charges afterward will be less than stellar. After about five to 10 charging cycles, press the maintenance button. Charge the battery up.

Several benefits occur with a maintenance charge, including:

  • Rebalancing acids with the water
  • Sulfate crystals dissolve from the battery plates

Be sure to add an equalization charge into your PM because it’s the fine details that enhance your bottom line.

4. Consider a Single-Point Watering System

Watering your batteries is supposed to lower costs. However, manually performing this task actually costs you time and money. Think about adding a single-point watering system to your business. These systems make battery watering a short-and-simple process. It takes only a few minutes to top off the water level. Your accuracy improves too. The system determines when it’s time to shut off the water. Without any level mistakes, the battery operates as if it was just manufactured.

5. Never Interrupt a Charge

Interrupting a battery in the middle of a charge will shorten its life. Most batteries have around 1,000 to 1,500 charging cycles possible. If you interrupt just one cycle, you’ve reduced that number without benefiting from the power output. Pay careful attention to the charging levels as they rise. At least one battery should be ready to go with a full power level.

6. Know the Ambient Temperature

There are various types of batteries for forklifts and other machinery. However, most of them have the same reaction to extreme temperatures. Batteries tend to discharge faster in hot environments. For this reason, storing batteries in the refrigerator is a good idea for power conservation.

In general, confine a machine battery to temperatures that are lower than 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Operating any machine in temperatures above this value will diminish the components’ useful lives. Replacing the battery more often is the ultimate result.

Battery science is constantly evolving. Keep up with the times by observing, practicing and questioning your maintenance plans. Well-maintained batteries will improve your bottom line over the fiscal year.