This year, one of Dunlap & Kyle Co. Inc.’s focuses is on employee communication. President Dennis King hosts a semi-regular podcast for employees and a new print magazine shares stories and highlights from each of Dunlap & Kyle’s 18 warehouses and the retail stores in their regions.
The company has adopted a mission statement — to be the most dependable company in America — and has established a list of seven company values.
Purposefully engaging with the workforce is good for everyone, but King sees it as vital for the younger generation of workers.
“You have to adapt to the environment they want to be in and communication is something that is key to getting younger people involved,” he says. “And we want them to be involved — not just feel involved.
“We empower them to do a lot of things and we encourage the vocalization of their ideas. We don’t want to sit and tell people what to do. They have ideas we don’t have and we encourage them to share.”
The focus on communication has also opened the door to sharing best practices.
“The way that we’ve operated is that you take a good person you believe in — and Bob is wonderful at picking good people — and you let them run the business like it’s theirs,” says King. “But they don’t know what they don’t know.”
So Dunlap & Kyle is looking for efficiencies and opportunities to streamline things a bit.
The team at the company’s newest warehouse in Waco, Texas, is going to experiment with others’ best practices and maybe fine-tune them along the way. Once the team is convinced “they really are the best” practices, they will be rolled out to facilities company-wide.
“We’re calling it our Center of Dependability,” says King.
Employees have already identified several examples related to how a facility handles paperwork. Sometimes an employee has found a way to simplify a process and turn a three-step procedure into a single action item. Replicating that company wide can have a big pay-off.
Other improvements affect the business differently, says King.
Dunlap & Kyle’s warehouse teams work five days a week and most operate in two shifts. But it hasn’t always been that way.
King says the company used to have people coming in around 6 a.m. They would take customer orders all day until 5 p.m. and not finish pulling tires and loading trucks until 7:30 or 8 p.m. “That’s tough on work-life balance.”
Now warehouses have a night shift that comes in at 5 p.m. They complete the day’s shipments and get a jump on orders with invoices that might not be completed until the next business day.
“That’s been great for the workforce out there. It’s tough on a guy to work that many hours and never get a chance to see his kid play baseball or be so tired he doesn’t see his wife.”
It’s also good for Dunlap & Kyle’s customers, because Friday’s night shift actually reports to work on Sunday evening. That means customers can place orders online all weekend and those tires will be delivered on Monday.