Hardware Retailing

MAY 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | May 2018 80 Jones and his managers worked with employees based on their needs as well as the business's, with employees who were able to be away from home for a few days staying with family close by if available. The idea was also floated, but not implemented, to put employees in hotels if needed. Managers took on responsibilities for workers who couldn't reach Santa Barbara. Jones credits Hayward Lumber's training program for allowing this kind of flexibility during a disaster, with heavy emphasis on cross-training employees from onboarding throughout their time with the business. "The job market in California is such that it can be very difficult to find qualified individuals in the LBM industry. So when we find one, we train them correctly, from inside sales to support staff and all throughout our salesfloor," Jones says. "Any inside sales employee or dispatcher, anyone in the organization, starts learning the product in stocking and learning the industry at the sales counter. That's how you can have depth of knowledge when your staffing situation isn't ideal." Preparing employees for disaster scenarios can keep a business alive after the destruction has passed, but keeping employees alive is more important. From working with employees who are affected during a natural disaster to protecting those on hand during a potential one, retailers are responsible for keeping their workforce safe, Lewis says. The 2011 tornado hit on a Sunday, a day which Herrman Lumber is commonly closed. However, having a plan in place is necessary in a region of the country that can have storms spring on communities with little to no warning. "We were fortunate, but you can't plan on that always being the case. First you plan for everyone's safety, so if you're at the store when a storm hits, you know where you're going and what you're doing when you get there," Lewis says. "Once the storm has passed, what are your responsibilities? Everyone has a role, both to keep themselves and the business safe. An emergency disaster plan, properly laid out and practiced frequently, is what keeps a business going and its employees secure." In the days leading up to a hurricane's landfall, customers will swarm Shell Lumber & Hardware for plywood boards and flood control products. Employees have developed methods of crowd control and rationing to best serve their customers in their time of need. " An emergency disaster plan, properly laid out and practiced frequently, is what keeps a business going and its employees secure. " —Brian Lewis, Herrman Lumber

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