Operations Q&A: Have You Received Operational Cross-Training? - Modern Distribution Management

Log In

Operations Q&A: Have You Received Operational Cross-Training?

Cross-training can benefit both management and employees in any business.

Editor’s Note: Lee Schwartz is principal at the Schwartz Profitability Group. He will be blogging occasionally for MDM on the topic of distribution operations. His blog will be presented in a Q&A format. If you have questions regarding operations for Schwartz, please email him at lee@schwartzpro.com. Learn more about Schwartz at the bottom of this blog.

Question: Have you received your operational cross-training?

Answer: In sports, cross-training is defined as an athlete training in sports other than the one that athlete competes in with a goal of improving overall performance.

For those who have followed my blog, you may have noticed that I use sports analogies a lot. With two sons in the NFL, it's just a given. But because of that, I have seen the benefits of being able to play multiple positions.

In business, it is no different. Whether you are a manager looking to improve productivity in your department or you have a personal goal to ascend to higher levels within your organization, cross-training can be the answer. From a business perspective, cross-training can:

  • reduce employee turnover,
  • demonstrate to staff that the company cares about employees’ career growth,
  • increase productivity,
  • improve morale,
  • fill and smooth voids created by absences and vacations, and
  • reduce costs.

From a personal point of view, learning skills outside the usual responsibilities of your job demonstrates to management your flexibility, dexterity and willingness to grow. Imagine knowing the tasks involved with receiving, pick and pack, replenishment and shipping instead of just any one of these responsibilities. Your value to the company skyrockets.

Bottom Line: In today's business world, the reality is that many companies have downsized through the recent rough years, expecting the bare bones staff to handle more responsibilities. If your company does not have a formal cross-training program in place, there is no time like now to put one into place. From a personal perspective, let your supervisors know that you are ready, willing and able to assume additional responsibilities. My son just signed a multiyear, multimillion dollar contract because he can play four positions.

Lee Schwartz, former CEO and president of distribution and manufacturing companies, is principal of the Schwartz Profitability Group (SPG) that, for almost 13 years, has uncorked the operational bottlenecks of distribution and manufacturing companies, boosting their bottom line results. His consulting and operational turnaround work helps clients find solutions related to process improvement, supply chain management, inventory control, workflow design, and operational performance.

Share this article

About the Author
Recommended Reading
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

Get the MDM Update Newsletter

Wholesale distribution news and trends delivered right to your inbox.

Sign-up for our free newsletter and get:

  • Up-to-date news in a quick-to-read format
  • Free access to webcasts, podcasts and live events
  • Exclusive whitepapers, research and reports
  • And more!


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to mdm.com, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

Subscribe to continue reading

MDM Premium Subscribers get:

  • Unlimited access to MDM.com
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on mdm.com
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.

Join other distribution executives who use MDM Premium to optimize their business. Our insights and analysis help you enter the right new markets, turbocharge your sales and marketing efforts, identify business partners that help you scale, and stay ahead of your competitors.

Register for full access

By providing your email, you agree to receive announcements from us and our partners for our newsletter, events, surveys, and partner resources per MDM Terms & Conditions. You can withdraw consent at any time.

Learn More about Custom Reports

Request a Market Prospector Demo

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.