As I was going through my Butcher’s Apprenticeship, circa 1980’s in NY, I was taught many lessons in how to be a successful business person and maximize your profits with your wits. Back then, I had no idea those lessons would be applicable to my craft of a transportation & logistics professional, but they most certainly are.

For example, it was the end of a busy Saturday in the shop. We were always busy on Saturday’s because back then, the shop would close on Sunday & Monday and nobody in town wanted to be stuck having to buy their meat at the grocery store. The owner of the shop who was leading my apprenticeship said to leave my “fat trimmings barrel by his block”. I knew I was in for some kind of lesson, just didn’t know what. The owner of the shop then turned my fat barrel upside down and began to go through each piece of fat, trimming off anything that was “red” and I knew I was in for it. Among many sayings in the meat business was “red is bread”. As he was going through my barrel he was placing small piles of red meat separately. When he was done, he placed each pile of red meat on the scale, typed in the price of the cut that the meat was from (yes, he knew exactly what cut the meat was from) and tallied up the money I was wasted. In 1986, I wasted $13.95 on this particular Saturday. It didn’t end there because he then compounded the daily waste by days of week and then weeks in a year, and years in which I might be working there, it was a lot of money. He didn’t yell at me or humiliate me, he just said what he always said with these lessons “The margins of the meat business are thin, we have to build in efficiency at every step, there is no room for waste in this shop. Now pay attention to what you trim and don’t let me find this again, as he tapped his knife on the block.”

Funny thing, back in the 90’s, when Butcher Shops were closing all over the place due to competition from the rise of the mega super markets and price clubs, his shop never lost a customer, rather they always did better year over year, and you don’t need to be a MBA to know why. That’s why I had a good paying job when I got out of the service in 1994, as I was working my way though college. Because the owner knew their business.

When we are retained by clients, we provide them the kind of feedback that improves their business as a whole, we don’t just save money. We share principles long forgotten that actually inspire engagement and better margins.

Here is one example of a situation and an effective solution.  Are your warehouse employees working effectively with forklift operation? Who is doing more sightseeing around the warehouse than work? Give me a day in the warehouse or distribution center to watch the floor and I can tell you. However, a far more sustainable practice would be to establish systems that track your propane or electric usage from forklifts. I can provide you with a nice little standard operating procedure (SOP) to track your usage. And FYI…there is a small fortune there.

Oh yeah, the owner of that butcher shop was my father, Ritchie Quinton, and the name of the shop since 1942 was Columbia Prime Meats. Only one name I could think of when I started my own company – Columbia Leadership & Efficiencies Inc. Because that’s really what I learned back then, Leadership & Efficiencies. Contact Columbia and reap the benefits that so many organizations are starting to enjoy by partnering with us, you will be glad you did. And we’ll have a few laughs to boot!