The 5 Secrets of Productivity in Logistics 103

The 5 Secrets of Productivity in Logistics

The following article is a guest post.

One of the pillars of a successful business is inseparably linked to the productivity of its logistics operations.

Productivity is a vital business measurement which is determined by the ratio of what the business is able to generate from what it has put in.

The ‘output versus input’ definition involves various factors such as the performance of the workforce, use of equipment, manufacturing time and return on capital.

According to a 2014 survey by Deloitte, 79% of companies with high-performing supply chains achieve revenue growth greater than the average within their industries. This leads us to understand how essential it is to improve productivity in logistics.

Here are the five vital factors which need to be taken into consideration for a more productive logistics operation:

1. Communication.

Communication with employees is a crucial element to any organization. It’s imperative to have the right tactics and tools in order to ensure efficient internal communication.

Weekly meetings that include collaborative problem-solving and brainstorming can also be very beneficial because logistics employees will be able to enhance their critical reasoning ability.

Also, fostering open and transparent communication between employees and business leaders via regular meetings ensures that everyone has the same viewpoint about productivity.

2. Clear Procedure Standards.

Establishing clear process controls is important to achieve operational efficiency and avoid unforeseen expenditures due to misaligned procedures and output.

Customer satisfaction should drive all key personnel associated to supply chain and logistics. Thus they should always ensure full-adherence to quality codes and standards to optimize productivity and deliver value to their clients.

Typical logistic functions requiring strong compliance in relation to quality include:

  • receiving and shipping schedule;
  • inventory;
  • picking and packing;
  • shift scheduling;
  • quality control;
  • facilities management;
  • and tracking.

3. Key Performance Indicators.

Knowing the key areas of improvement is crucial to maximising logistics productivity. When the management focuses on things that matter the most, it will be able to avoid wasting of valuable resources.

For those new in the business, identify and focus on 5-7 most critical areas that drive the business, and directly assign a Key Performance Indicator for each so it can be tracked and measured.

Some of the top Key performance indicators surrounding logistics and supply chain businesses include, but not limited to:

  • Safety,
  • Service Delivery
  • Inventory Accuracy/Turns,
  • Employee Productivity
  • Cost per Unit/ Total Landed Cost
  • Product Damage/Claims
  • Customer Satisfaction

4. Workforce Motivation.

A motivated workforce is the backbone of a successful organization. To ensure that every employee is engaged, their core skills should be identified and aligned with the tasks where they can excel the most. Doing so helps maximize the potential of each employee and result in a continuous increase of productivity.

Here are other considerations to ensure a motivated workforce:

  • Equip them with the right tools and systems they need for their day-to-day job. This will help complete their tasks at hand much faster and more effectively, thus boosting their morale.
  • Create rewards and recognition system.
  • Add variety to work schedules and shifts. By enabling your staff to revolve tasks periodically, you also gain the benefit of a multi-skilled workforce, allowing you to adjust your workforce level if someone gets sick or demand-specific activity hits a peak.

5. Employee Training Program.

Implementing a robust training program will keep your workforce updated with the latest tactics and tools used in the logistics operations, which is important if you want to stay relevant in your competition.

Here are the guidelines for establishing a training program for your employees:

  • Create a comprehensive plan which details specific business goals.
  • Identify the most important skills required to improve efficiency and effectiveness of each of the team member in your logistics operation.
  • Use an external training company or hire certified professional as in-house trainers.
  • Consider online training courses and packs so that your employees can still access them whilst on the go or offsite.
  • Create a schedule that enables all relevant employees to benefit as soon as possible, without affecting the workforce level of your operations.
  • Make sure to gather feedback from employees regularly via employee surveys.
  • Create an action plan with goals and measurements indicating how well they apply the skills in which they have been trained on their actual jobs.

These are the five secrets to achieving maximum productivity in your logistics operations. Check out the infographic below from Alba Logistics to learn more about the secrets of productivity in logistics.

productivity in logistics

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 10

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

***
Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.