When a major American supermarket chain opened a massive new distribution center (DC) in North Carolina, they leaned on FHI for staffing help to get it up and running. Teams from both organizations collaborated and planned for more than eight months prior to opening, ensuring adequate staffing was in-place to meet demand on day one.
“There are so many moving parts involved in getting a new facility operational. It’s more than just staffing and training. It’s also helping to establish a positive connection between our company and the community,” said the company’s Vice President of Distribution. “Having FHI build their own team within our facility to handle inbound logistics ensured we had the right people in place and were productive from the beginning.”
Ultimately, the successful launch of a new DC results from timing and planning. That’s why FHI and the supermarket chain started preparations eight months in advance of the targeted opening date.
Together, we scheduled monthly planning meetings. These meetings ensured that FHI knew the opening dates for each department, including Freezer, Dairy/Meat, Produce, Non-Refrigerated, and General Merchandise. We pored over each department’s volume projections, as well as examined planned equipment. Based on those forecasts, FHI determined appropriate staffing requirements.
Two advantages of FHI’s 30-plus years in the industry are our extensive experience helping customers open DCs, and our deep bench of experienced leaders located around the country. The supermarket chain benefitted from FHI’s ability to transfer these experienced road crew leaders and trainers to their new facility.
Six months ahead of the launch date, FHI’s team began site management and recruiting. By creating this infrastructure, we cultivated a productive team for the DC from the start. Local staffing began four weeks before opening, and continued on a rolling basis as each department came online.
Ultimately, FHI was able to deploy experienced site management, hire all our department and shift leads, and staff the our team with permanent associates from the surrounding community within 90 days — all while navigating the challenges of typical industry turnover.
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A new DC stands as a beacon of opportunity for the local community, offering stable and consistent employment for hundreds. However, the opening of a new, large facility operating 24/7/365 simultaneously disrupts established community norms through changes in traffic patterns, noise, and overall activity.
FHI understands the importance of helping our customers’ new DC operations establish positive community ties as quickly as possible. Therefore, a critical aspect of our process involves embracing the local labor force early, giving back to the community, and ensuring that the local area experiences the benefits of this new facility.
Ultimately our mission is to transition a new facility from reliance on our experienced Road Crew team to a local, permanent workforce as quickly as possible. FHI’s team made that permanent transition in this operation in 90 days.
Every customer has a defined culture. At FHI we’re not only proud of our own company culture, but also of our ability to integrate with each customer’s culture.
At the foundation of the supermarket chain’s partnership with FHI is our shared dedication to building a culture of commitment — both to our associates and to the communities in which we work. This cultural alignment is just one reason why this grocery retailer has trusted FHI to be its longest standing warehousing partner. The two organizations have worked together for more than 22 years.
In this DC, the supermarket chain wanted to ensure that its permanent associates understood and embraced this culture. Therefore, they asked FHI to not only conduct job training, but also to provide specific Culture and Unity Training, as the grocer recognizes that unity is a significant contributor to a healthy culture.
The goal of this instruction is to help leaders become intentional in helping to eliminate anything that tries to harm the organization’s culture or disrupts its unity as a team with its customers. Ultimately, FHI’s Culture and Unity Training program reinforces that associates’ behaviors toward each other create a positive and healthy workplace.
“Our partnership with FHI works so well because of our companies’ cultural alignment. Our teams trust that together we will develop the strongest workforce possible because of our shared perspective,” added the VP of Distribution. “Working with FHI is always an exceptional experience and a partnership we value.”
For over 30 years, FHI has built a reputation in the grocery distribution and logistics industry for delivering the highest levels of experience, professionalism, safety, and commitment to Hard Work Done Right®. Need help standing up your next new DC? FHI has a qualified, professional, experienced team of warehouse associates ready to deploy, to help get your operation up and running, and recruit and train your permanent workforce.
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