Comment: Aligning your people strategy with your logistics strategy

With a Company’s logistical strategy being so externally focussed and their People Strategy being so internally focussed, how can a Company’s People Strategy positively align itself with a Company’s Logistical Strategy to ensure maximum efficiency and minimum damage control?
Thanj Kugananthan, founder, Visible HR
Thanj Kugananthan, founder, Visible HR

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Companies today realise the cost impact that inefficient logistic processes can have on their bottom line can be significant.   Every company has its own unique supply chain and plan, and every organisation’s goal is to enforce a steady flow of goods or materials through their network of transportation links and storage points, in the most efficient way. 

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These plans also must consider an additional risk fund for emergencies such as severe production or transport delays, materials and product damages, transportation accidents, storage facility accidents.  Any deviance from a Company’s logistical plan is likely to have a significant impact on their bottom line.

With a Company’s logistical strategy being so externally focussed and their People Strategy being so internally focussed, how can a Company’s People Strategy positively align itself with a Company’s Logistical Strategy to ensure maximum efficiency and minimum damage control?

To optimise a Company’s Logistical strategy Companies need to ensure their Logistics Teams both desk based and field based are able to have the following:

  • The flexibility to shift resources and goods to meet changing market demands
  • The adaptability to deal with most unplanned contingencies at all points of the supply chain
  • The ability and motivation to analyse and recommend continuous efficiency improvements
  • The ability to work as a team to ensure each point of the supply chain is carried out with minimal disruption
  • The internal value that all behaviours must be in line with all Health & Safety and Wellness policies

This is where a Company’s People Strategy comes into it.

Training (both practical and desk-based) is key when employees are required to work effectively in a team, use their problem solving skills, think and act flexibly as well as be adaptable to changes in the external market.  Regular training between members from different areas of the Logistics Team can also ensure that working in silos, and that sense of “us and them” is slowly eroded.

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Motivation to encourage continuous improvement recommendations from employees can be dealt with through recognition and reward programmes (vouchers, expensed lunches, additional holidays are just a few non-cash examples) or bonuses and/or pay increases - both non-cash and cash schemes would ensure employees understand the importance of their direct contribution to a Company’s bottom line.

Occupational Health & Safety is a key department for most large organisations in the region.      Every company with employees working in jobs requiring physical labour and/or in potentially hazardous conditions have safety programs to communicate and train to ensure the reduction of accidents at any point in the supply chain.  Employees working in areas where this is key can also be recognised and rewarded for behaviours in constant alignment with these policies.

Wellness programs are implemented to promote healthy behaviours, such as eating better, exercising, dealing with and preventing fatigue.  The Fatigue Management Study in 2015 found that common workplace problems associated with fatigue are: longer reaction times; reduction of alertness; memory problems; impaired concentration- these workplace issues would negatively impact any department from a productivity perspective, from a logistics perspective these impacts could even be fatal.

Companies desiring to maximise their logistical efficiencies through their people cannot rely on focussing on just one or two HR areas, all areas should be key focal points to ensure maximum efficiency hence minimum bottom line erosion due to Logistical shortfalls.

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