Sales Interns Implement Project
The interns assembled once again this week to implement the new will-call digitization project – this time at the Davenport branch. Using lessons learned from the first implementation in Iowa City, they were better prepared and more knowledgeable to ensure a quick, easy transition from Davenport’s previous process to the new one. Sales interns David Burkink, Kyle Bundy, Sam Contreras, and Paige Donohoe were all heavily involved in the project, as it directly affects their daily responsibilities. Contreras and Donohoe, out of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, used their first-hand experience from the will-call desk to help the employee-owners of Davenport understand the new procedures and communicate why these innovations are necessary.
“As sales interns working at the will-call, I think we all feel a sense of obligation to step up as leaders of this project. David, Kyle, Sam, and I understand the process best amongst the interns because we live it every day in our positions. Turning that knowledge and understanding into leadership is key for our success in implementing this big change.”
-Paige Donohoe (University of Missouri)
The interns used the “divide and conquer” strategy going into Davenport, so everyone had a vital part in making the shift a smooth one. Separate groups worked on how deliveries would be taken, the staging area, creating staging locations and labels, and walking the Davenport employee-owners through the new system and troubleshooting any difficulties that arose. Contreras oversaw the training of Davenport’s will-call operators, explaining how the new system works and what the benefits are.
“Arriving to Davenport we wanted to make sure that the team there recognized the benefits of the changes we were making. We didn’t want them to think that the new process would be in place just for the sake of it, but there to make things more efficient and accurate. Thanks to all the interns working together, we were able to get the Davenport branch set up seamlessly with the new picking and staging process. Best part of all, was having everyone in Davenport understand and be completely aboard with the new changes!”
-Sam Contreras (University of Iowa)
One of the key factors in carrying out new ideas is having everyone on board. This relates to an important aspect of Van Meter’s culture; being “all-in,” or committed to VMI and doing what’s best for the company and for the future. Fortunately, the interns have not run into any resistance to change in either of the branches where they have employed their new innovations. Bundy, who is at the Urbandale branch, knows how much more effective a project can be when everyone is willing to embrace change.
“At Van Meter, changing for the better of our employee-owners, partners, and community is something we strive to do in every aspect of our business. This summer, in our roles as interns, we were given the chance to be a part of that change when we introduced our will-call project for the summer. The project aims to create an even better and more efficient process than we currently have in place so we can continue to deliver unparalleled customer service to each partner that walks through the doors at one of our branches. With the help and understanding of employee-owners at two of our branches (Iowa City and Davenport) we have already implemented our new process to great success, with the hope that more branches follow suit in the near future.”
– Kyle Bundy (University of Northern Iowa)
Although the internship program is wrapping up next week, the will-call project is something that will have lasting value at Van Meter long after the interns have left. They are currently putting together an action plan including a standardized implementation guide and timeline of the next steps for further execution in other branches. This action plan and timeline are to be followed by continuous improvement specialists Jordan Grimm and Tyler Thompson, who will continue visiting other branches and digitizing their will-call processes until all of Van Meter is able to track their packages from start to finish. Burkink, out of the Omaha branch, is excited about the impact the interns have made on Van Meter and its customers.
“The opportunity to make such a big impact on Van Meter is really cool, and not something that most organizations trust their interns to do. We are excited to see the new process in action and look forward to the lasting value it adds to our employee-owners and customers.”
– David Burkink (University of Nebraska-Kearney)