Jan/Feb Editorial: Internal Communication Is Key

A lack of communication between departments brings productivity to a halt, hurt work relationships, and lead employees to leave. Oftentimes an issue could have been avoided with a simple email or quick meeting. How is the communication at your company?

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How many times has in issue arisen within your company due to a lack of communication? How many times has productivity been lost due to people not being on the same page?

Miscommunication between departments often brings productivity to a halt and can hurt work relationships. So many times such issues could have been avoided with an email, a quick meeting, or just better organization.

Examples of this can be a shipment not going out on time because of something a salesperson did that the warehouse wasn’t aware of. Or a customer receiving a discount they shouldn’t have because of a change in a sales campaign that wasn’t communicated properly to a salesperson.

These kinds of issues certainly aren’t limited to distributors. In all workplaces, productivity hours suffer when too many employees’ vacation days overlap because there wasn’t a good schedule in place. New company- wide policies are enacted by some but not others because everyone didn’t get or see the message. Another common example is when the same job is done by two different employees because they didn’t know what the other was doing. The list goes on and on.

This isn’t true just for A- and B-level employees. Bad communication between managers, directors, and executives cause a myriad of problems. Sometimes those problems are just slight delays, but when they happen often enough, the cumulative effect can be a lot of lost dollars.

Lack of communication is often the root of problems within companies, and the reason employees leave jobs. They simply get too fed up with problems caused by departments not knowing what other departments are doing. And the bigger the company, the harder it is to maintain good communication.

In our January/February Distributor Profile story, you’ll read about Chattanooga, TN-based Bolts & Nuts, a fast-growing independent distributor that tackled the issue of internal communication head-on a long time ago. Back in 2007, Bolts & Nuts created its Flow Committee, a group consisting of company department heads and key employees that meets every couple of weeks to discuss how operations are affecting different departments. This eliminates potential problems, and helps ensure that any company-wide changes are implemented smoothly.

It was one of the biggest takeaways I had from visiting Bolts & Nuts, as I couldn’t help but think that many other companies – definitely not just in distribution – would greatly benefit from such a committee, rather than assuming all employees are communicating how they should.

Most cross-department communication within companies is done via email nowadays. But sometimes meeting face-to-face still has its advantages.

No employee wants to be bogged down by meetings and have to take time out of their workday for them, but even a 15-minute meeting once a week or semi-weekly can work wonders to make sure things aren’t falling through the cracks. One thing that all great companies have in common is great internal communication.

Mike HockettMike Hockett

So I’ll ask you, how’s the communication within your company, and what can be done to make it better?


Have some feedback? Email me at [email protected]

This editorial originally appeared in ID's January/February print edition. To view the digital edition, click here.

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