First Role - Advice From a Logistics FLM

I am about three weeks into training for the Front Line Manager position at the Labatt Mississauga Warehouse (LMW)[1]. If you have ever played Flight City[2] then you have a sense of what it is like to be a front line manager.

What The Role Entails:

About 30% of the job is looking at the target output for an eight hour shift. This includes building up to 180 pallets, receiving and preparing loads given constraints – this is in constant change and requires some flexibility.

Another 40% is managing all the challenges that come up sporadically throughout the day. This is anything from a lost pallet to a spill or even an incident and all the procedures and paperwork that comes with that.

20% of time is dedicated to managing my team – this is the group of unionized workers that build and move pallets. They rotate between shifts so each week I will have a slightly different team.

And finally, 10% is dedicated to administrative tasks like payroll, setting and approving the schedule, and planning engagement activities.

The Experience:

I got some good advice from someone on my old team before starting. He told me to forget my preconceived notions of the union and the job based on talk around the office, to remember that I can learn something from everyone in the building, and to not get caught up in an us versus them mentality with the union – give them the respect they deserve. So far this has proven to be really important advice because had I not walked in with an open mind and willingness to admit I have minimal knowledge of our operations I might have started off on the wrong foot with a lot of the operators. Instead, I have already started to gain their respect and trust because when I request or say something they know I have done the background work. After only a few weeks, that is a very rewarding feeling.

Looking to the future I am excited to run my own shift, especially learning to solve problems under a lot of pressure with tight time constraints and balancing the need to be a boss with the desire to be friends with my team. Oh, and night shift next week…


[1] Take my experience with a grain of salt – it has only been two weeks

[2] The purpose of the game is to maximize your output; in this games case, flights/passengers out, while managing constraints like runway time, gates, and man power