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Variety Can Be Too Spicy



Variety Can Be Too Spicy

May 17, 2022

Variety Can Be Too Spicy 

We’ve all heard the phrase: “Variety is the spice of life.” The source of that quote is a matter of conjecture. While there are versions tagged to a dramatist in 1640 and another in 485 B. C., it is commonly assigned to English poet, William Cowper.  

One thing we can be quite sure of is that none of these talented people were golfers or ran warehouse operations. The people that are occupied with golf or operations pursuits, don’t like variety. They like predictability, sameness, and certainty.  

Can you eliminate all variations? Not likely. You can, however, develop discipline and add established routines and standardization to help with the variety that threatens to interfere with the goals you set. 

If this sounds like a stretch, think about it. Golf is a game that requires repeating a process with minimal variation. While a player may get a lucky bounce here and there, that cannot be counted on. Since it is played outside and played by humans, there will be variation.  

An area leader in a warehouse has a process that needs to be repeated for the team to be successful. His lucky bounce may be getting a favorable mix of work, but as with our golfer, you cannot count on luck- for that area leader, they have their own variation to deal with from attendance, volume inconsistency, mechanical/system issues, and more.  

Through building a repeatable process, our golfer and our area leader are confident that executing that process will lead to success. Adding a routine to make sure the process steps are managed properly is the key to consistent, repeatable success.  

Let us compare a pre-shot routine to Leader Standard Work and pick out the similarities: 

Process Step  Pre-shot Routine  Leader Standard Work 
Assess the situation  The golfer needs to factor in the shape of the hole, where the pin is today, what is the wind doing, other weather factors.  The area manager reviews the situation they walk into; looking for any constraints like staffing or equipment issues and engaging the team in any customer issues that need to be addressed. 
Pick a target  Where does this shot need to land to put the golfer in the best position to succeed?  Based on the assessment of the situation, set a goal for the day. What is the capacity today, based on conditions? That may fall short of the company goals, but you need to understand your reality.  
Select a club  Pick a tool that will put the golfer in the best position to hit the target that they chose.   Request support if needed to maximize out volume. Is there labor available in other departments to help, do you need to request overtime, do you need to swap out equipment to better fit your mix?  
Rehearse your swing/ Step into   the shot   All the prep work has been completed. Time to get ready to execute with confidence that you have a plan to succeed.   You’ve made your plan for the day and any available support has been provided. You might need to set a new target.  
Swing away  You are now able to swing away with confidence. You are prepared.   Communicate your status to the team and leadership. Get your visuals updated with the plan for the day. Start the shift with no surprises.  
Assess the results  You are not done. You are prepared but now things can change. The wind may shift. It might rain. Monitor progress and do not lose the day.   Walk the floor. Check in with the team and help them with any dilemmas. Test for process compliance. Look for any variation in your KPIs (key performance indicators).  
Adjust if needed  If the round is not meeting expectations, adjust. Is the ball missing to the same side? Are you not getting the putt to the hole? Is your focus lacking? Make the corrections.    If you are missing your benchmarks during the day, do not wait to adjust. Proper corrective action applied in time can save the day. 

The parallel is clear. These steps will help you prepare for your day: 

  • Taking time to assess your situation including any variation 
  • Setting a data-based goal 
  • Using the right tools 
  • Understanding variations in your environment 
  • Moving forward with the confidence of being prepared for success, and 
  • Monitoring and adapting to variation that can occur during the day. 


Will this preparation make every round and every shipping day as smooth as glass? No, it will not. It will set the stage for a good start and identify when adjustments are needed quickly. 

Managing the variation downward in your golf game or in your warehouse processes will make sure the remaining variety is a little less spicy.

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Vice President of Client Services

Jeremy’s focus is on the products and services clients need to stay competitive. Open Sky Group’s mission is to deliver technology-enabled solutions that allow our customers to achieve more while having the flexibility to adapt to change. Jeremy lives the core values and mission by bringing the best experience possible to our clients. He is an essential member of implementation teams, working alongside clients, and encouraging them to use innovation and best practices instead of customizations for success.

Jason Yantiss

Vice President of Client Services

Jason provides leadership to a variety of teams focused on implementation and integration. With 27+ years of experience holding operational and technical management roles in transportation, billing, and warehousing across a vast array of industry verticals, Jason is adept at driving multiple complex projects, understanding customer needs at all levels of the operation and providing viable solutions. Jason’s resume of 150+ implementation projects include Warehouse, Labor, Transportation, Yard Management and multiple AR/AP Freight Pay and Customer Billing systems. 

Eric McPherson

Vice President of Client Services

Mac works to oversee implementation and integration projects. A former Marine officer and military police officer, he brings over 27 years of supply chain experience, including 11 years at Blue Yonder in both delivery and service sales. Mac is a dedicated, team-oriented professional with a background in business management, professional services, customer service, and supply chain technology. His specialties include sales support, supply chain execution systems, project management, fulfillment operations, distribution operations, and GSA contracts.

Shannon Caflisch

Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Shannon is responsible for the strategy and management of all sales, business development, and marketing programs. With over 25 years of sales experience and 15 years focused in the supply chain space, Shannon focuses on building strong relationships with clients and partners and strives to deliver the right software solutions to help conquer supply chain challenges. Shannon believes in learning by listening to understand clients’ goals, struggles, and what is important to their business to build lasting, successful relationships.

Alan Prillaman

Senior Vice President of Client Services

As Senior VP of Client Services, Alan oversees all consulting services and account management at Open Sky Group. Possessing over 30 years of combined industry and consulting experience, Alan leverages his unique background in IT, logistics, quality management systems, manufacturing and distribution operations, and facility and strategic account management to provide clients with creative resolutions to complex challenges. His core philosophy and passion are to deliver tangible value for and establish long-term trusted partnerships with our clients.

Mike Noble

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As Senior Vice President of Technology, Mike leads Open Sky Group’s Managed Services, Software Services, Infrastructure Services, and Information Technology teams bringing 35+ years of experience in Supply Chain Execution and Information Technology. Mike and his teams ensure we maintain the highest levels of customer service in a secure and reliable environment, constantly reviewing and evaluating new technologies, their appropriateness and applicability so we can safely and securely transact our own business – and help our clients accomplish the same.

Chad Kramlich


Joining Open Sky Group in 2015, Chad, served as Chief Revenue Officer for three years prior to his appointment to CEO in 2022. With over 25 years of experience delivering results for high-growth software and consulting organizations, Chad is leveraging his background in building efficient and effective implementation teams, establishing high-impact services operations, achieving revenue growth, and deepening executive-level client relations to help propel Open Sky Group into a very successful future.

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