The post-pandemic world has ushered in many changes. One prominent area of change relates to logistics personnel. If businesses take this change into account, they can grow and prosper.
Logistics personnel will differentiate businesses like never before. They will become a strategic asset that will add value in a meaningful way.
Personnel have always been important. But Covid-19 has magnified the value of employees in the logistics industry.
It’s important to understand the industry’s future personnel situation.
Proper personnel management can lead to competitive advantage. The opposite can lead to a company’s demise.
Let’s begin with reviewing the ways employees can generate value. Then, we’ll discuss the obstacles you’ll face and how to overcome them.
Logistics Personnel Create Value on the Frontlines
As you already know, the logistics industry is a customer-facing business. Logistics is a people business. Sure technology plays a major role in logistics today. But it’s people that make it all happen.
The supply chain process starts and ends with people.
During Covid-19, logistics employees found themselves on the frontlines. That’s when their contributions to the bottom line became visible. Indeed, their value to logistics became clearer to the global community.
With this recognition came a new sense of pride. Logistics employees became frontline ambassadors for their companies’ brands. More important, employees’ interaction with customers also heightened logistics’ personnel sense of value.
Logistics Personnel Create Value with Customized Solutions
As logistics employees served on the frontlines, they increased communication and collaboration with customers. They did so out of necessity.
Employees faced many challenges. They had to cope with wild swings in demand. They had to manage shortages in product availability. And they had to handle backlogs that resulted in longer delivery times. Dealing with these issues required closer customer engagement to identify solutions.
And given the unique circumstances caused by Covid-19, employees were useful in crafting customized solutions. Business as usual wasn’t possible under social distancing and other restrictions. As a result, employees tailored solutions to meet customers’ unique needs.
Thus, logistics personnel created value by striving to meet customers’ needs. And fervent focus on customers’ needs increased the opportunity for innovation.
Creating Value Through Innovation
Another way logistics employees created value was through creative solutions. Relying on standard business processes didn’t work during Covid-19. Thus, logistics personnel had to find new ways to do things. And they had to do so under duress.
Creating value through innovation is not new. But Covid-19 magnified it’s importance. This placed greater emphasis on teamwork. We saw integrated 3PL-customer teams develop innovative solutions through clearer and deeper insights.
And we found integrated teams can develop them more rapidly. “The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating innovations in supply chains, such as “contactless everything,” robotics in
warehouses, more cold storage warehouses, and autonomous vehicles for delivery.”(B.S. Jeffreys, Globe Street.com)
In brief, innovation will drive future success. Businesses that promote teamwork and work across organizational lines will thrive.
But to fully benefit from your efforts, you also must be aware of obstacles impeding value creation.
Obstacles to Creating Value and How to Overcome Them
Creating value during the pandemic was no easy task. Yet, many business rose to the challenge and delivered value. The level of effort, ingenuity, and urgency, however, must be sustainable.
With that said, it’s time to reveal the obstacles.
Industry studies suggest operations won’t revert to pre- pandemic operations. That means challenges will persist that affect logistics personnel. Those challenges will further intensify as competition for (qualified) employees heats up.
More to the point, employee acquisition, training, and retention will change dramatically.
The top concern among executives and employees today is employee safety. As companies reopen for business, they must do more than pay lip service.
They must provide masks, cleaning supplies, and Plexiglas to separate works spaces, etc. Businesses must put in place physical distancing, shift work, and remote work. And employers must install these measures in a balanced way. Remote work will likely continue because it offers flexibility and safety.
Companies that provide these basic safety protocols will attract new employees. These safety measure will also help retain employees.
Also as new career fields crop up, (e.g., data scientist), companies must focus hiring new employees. But hiring alone will be insufficient. To supplement new hires, companies must also cross-train.
Thus, training must adapt. For example, employees must be more flexible. They must embrace multi-tasking to make up for personnel shortages. Cross-training will become the norm. Both companies and employees must embrace this change.
Also, with many day care facilities closed, employees had to balance work with childcare at home. Until the CDC approves a vaccine, schools will rely on remote education, part- or full-time. This places an extra burden on logistics employees.
Yet, to remain competitive, businesses must continue to increase employee productivity.
Acquiring, training, and retaining employees will become a front-burner issue. Companies must
take the lead in this area to attract qualified employees. That’s especially important since the industry already suffers from personnel shortages.
Astute management of logistics personnel can help you set your course for the future.
How Do You Plan to Navigate the Road Ahead?
Covid-19 brought many changes supply chain management. One area that has changed and is changing is personnel. Understanding these changes can lead to competitive advantage and growth.
Failure to understand or underestimate them can hamper your success. It can stop your business growth in its tracks. Worst case, it can put you out of business.
If you’re unsure how you’ll manage acquisition, training, and retention of personnel, you’re not alone. Your best bet may be to seek a partner who’s prepared for the coming changes.
As a thriving 3PL, Terra Worldwide Logistics is positioned for the future. We have a deep talent pool that knows how to create value. We take a customer-centered approach to creating customized and innovative solutions.
Contact us today to leverage our capabilities to gain competitive advantage.