What do Girl Scout Cookies have to do with material handling? Everything! Cookies are made with various conveyors in the baking and coating process. Boxed cookies are put into cases; cases are glued with automated equipment, stacked on pallets, stored in racks, and logistics services route the orders to the local service centers.
What also relates to the industry are the 5 business skills the girls learn in the cookie sale:
- Goal Setting
- Decision Making
- Money Management
- People Skills
- Business Ethics
In the material handling industry, we use these skills daily to be good, honest people. They allow us to serve our customers and help them excel in their markets and achieve their strategic business goals. Without these skills, we would not be able to provide the best material handling system solutions, innovative software, and custom automation engineering.
In Girl Scouts, the girls use these skills to not only help them sell cookies but to become better, more engaged citizens and to develop business and interpersonal skills that can be used throughout their lifetime. In fact, many of America’s most accomplished women were Girl Scouts including 80 percent of women business owners, 70 percent of women currently serving in the U.S. Congress, and virtually all female astronauts who have flown in space.1
By purchasing Girl Scout Cookies, you are supporting the experiences and skills these girls will develop to become leaders and maybe even material handling professionals. Think for a moment how essential these skills are for success in all walks of life, from selling cookies to conveyors.
So how are these 5 skills used in the material handling industry (or any industry for that matter)? Here are my two cents:
Goal Setting – Whether your goal is to respond to all customer emails within a half hour, attend an industry conference once a year, or learn more about a specific vertical industry (food and beverage, e-fulfillment, aerospace), setting a goal and developing a plan to achieve it will ensure you continue to grow and improve in your professional life.
Decision Making – It’s important that you learn how to make intelligent, thought-out decisions in a timely manner. Customers and colleagues want correct answers quickly, so learning how to evaluate decisions and then having the confidence and knowledge to back them up is critical.
Money Management – This is important when coordinating projects, and in the material handling industry a few hundred dollars can be the difference between earning someone’s business and losing a client.
People Skills – We all get busy from time to time, but never lose sight of good people skills. Make a phone call instead of sending an email; take someone to lunch; remember and acknowledge birthdays and anniversaries. A personable and engaging person is always more enjoyable to work with.
Business Ethics – Our industry is a fairly close-knit group of people, so it’s important to be good, honest people whether you’re working with a client, colleague, competitor, supplier, or friend. If you’re not, you hurt your own reputation as well as your employer’s.
The Girl Scouts are teaching young ladies valuable life skills and ones we could learn from as well. Now, back to business! My daughter and I have 181 boxes of cookies to sort and only a kitchen table. Maybe next year we can install a cross belt sorter and sortation controls to handle the job!
1. Community Challenge | Help build leaders of tomorrow – Lora Tucker, CEO, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana