Tuesday, 21 February 2017 18:12

Encourage Cross-Departmental Communications

In organizations people and departments could have a tendency to isolate themselves from one another. It is probably not intentional, but it does happen when employees are busy and focused on their specific task at hand.

A lack of cross-department communications could be caused by a variety of reasons including, unaligned goals, geographic differences, reporting structures or inconsistent use of systems and technology. When this happens the result can be the creation of silos for different functions.

Typically, the overall consequences of little or poor contact between departments can result in an insufficient degree of trust, reduced customer service, poorer decision making and greater inefficiencies at work.

Because of this we work hard to break down the silos and improve communications where ever we can. It helps in so many different areas of the hardwood lumber manufacturing process. From purchasing hardwood logs and developing sawmill cutting strategies to selling kiln dried hardwood lumber and discovering what the next hardwood market supply shift might be.

Here are a few useful techniques that we have found help encourage and drive cross-departmental communications.

Standardize technology - Technology can clearly overcome some of the most common hurdles. If a uniform enterprise software network isn’t already in place in your organization, consider starting an effort to do so and ensure it has a robust collaboration suite to help drive mobile or virtual communication.

joel bob cross communicationSchedule Peer Meetings – A great way to initiate more face-to-face contact between departments is developing a culture of preplanning interdepartmental peer meetings. We have found that starting with department leaders can be quite helpful. Regular meetings with our Lumber Traders, hardwood inventory managers, and even hardwood foresters has really helped. New ideas and better problem solving are common results of these meetings.

Add more top down communication – From our research, we have found that organizations with leaders that regularly communicate about the importance of better understanding everyone’s different roles within the organization seem to do better longer. The more employees understand about the demands and successes different departments experience, the more effective they can be at coming forward with offers of assistance, fresh ideas and kudos on a job well done. Better communication leads to improved morale, which in turn generates enhanced productivity. So consider more town hall meetings, regular all employee communications like newsletters and video messages. We have found them to be very helpful.

What other suggestions do you have?

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