Managing people for more efficient logistics and distribution

Your hourly, non-salaried personnel are the real warehousing staffheart of your logistics and distribution function

They are also quite often the people whose jobs involve the greatest number of steps. These processes are commonly procedurally driven. Unfortunately, these are also the people who have the least voice or personal stake in leadership or decision making. As a result, the people doing the most fundamental work in your business may have the least understanding or personal stake in the corporate philosophy you are trying to foster.

Many of them do not understand how their functions impact on customer satisfaction, and are not motivated to do their jobs consistently or correctly. They feel like ‘a small cog in a big machine’, because they do not understand how their actions affect your entire value stream.

To gauge your workers’ understanding of your value stream, ask them the following questions:

Why is your task done the way it is?

What is the best way to get this done?

How can you tell that you’ve performed this task successfully?

How does how well you do this affect the company’s success?

Work to build a team of informed, well-trained and truly engaged non-salaried workers, who understand the place of their tasks in the ‘big picture’, and see what they contribute to your organisation’s success.

Organising your logistics team

Unless you have specifically reorganised recently, your logistics and distribution processes have probably evolved organically as your operation grew. To achieve real excellence, you need to make sure that all of your logistics processes are specifically engineered, and known to be the type best suited to your business processes in general.

This time, ask yourself the following:

What internal processes affect logistics and distribution?

Who performs each of those tasks?

Where (physically and departmentally) are these tasks performed?

What does it take to become qualified to perform these tasks?

How are you developing and training these workers?

Answering these questions accurately and deeply can be very challenging, but it is the level of understanding you’ll need to engineer truly efficient logistics processes. Know your processes, and get to know the people who will be carrying them out.





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