Distribution and Logistics

The Valuable Piece of the Corporate Puzzle

Distribution and logistics management is a critical company function. Professionals in this field play a key role in fulfilling customer demands, ordering and managing inventory, controlling inbound and outbound shipments, reducing costs, saving time, and meeting company objectives.

It is often said that people are a company’s most important asset. Yet how many companies pay homage to that belief? Not many. Excellence in distribution and logistics depends on companies recognizing workers as an extremely valuable piece of the corporate puzzle. After all, logistics processes are labor intensive; hence the importance of people. Distribution and logistics processes not only are but will continue to be complex and people driven. The complexity is not necessarily conceptual; rather, it is due to the number of opportunities for error given the large number of steps and the amount of paperwork involved. Although many companies are looking for the logistics “magic bullet” from technology, the fact remains that distribution and logistics is about processes, and people execute these processes.Distribution and Logistics

Do Your Workers Understand the Master Plan?

In many cases, non-salaried employees are the core of the organization. They are also the personnel whose functions contain a large number of process steps. Most often these processes are procedural driven. Sadly, these employees are often eliminated from roles in leadership. For many companies, corporate vision and customer expectations rarely reach the floor where the work gets done. Consequently, some team members do not perform their jobs accurately or consistently. Invariably, they do not understand how their part of the task fits into the master plan. Ask your workers these questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the work or task being done?
  2. How does each participant know when the job is done successfully?
  3. What is the best way to perform this work?
  4. What is the role of the individual’s task in the overall success of the company?

Successful companies that embrace distribution and logistics as a core competency will create, develop, and nurture an environment with the following attributes:

  1. Human resource management based on human capital flow and the people perfect order
  2. Formally educated, experienced, and disciplined logistics professionals
  3. Trained, informed, and engaged non-salaried team members

Organizing People

In most cases, distribution and logistics functions evolve as the company grows or declines. Distribution and logistics departments are organized in a variety of ways, such as centralized, decentralized, reporting to sales and marketing, or reporting to purchasing. To reach the vision of excellence, we need to ensure that the distribution and logistics functions are organized and structured appropriately within the firm. To do this, we need to understand fully the current conditions and to understand the current condition means to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the distribution and logistics related processes inside the company?
  2. Who performs the distribution and logistics activities?
  3. Where in the organization are the activities performed?
  4. What does it mean to be qualified to perform the activity?
  5. How are we training and developing team members?

At a glance, these questions seem elementary; however, experience shows that finding the answers can be a major challenge. Accurately understanding the current condition and becoming knowledgeable about the skills and talents of employees are daunting tasks. Not only must the tasks be accomplished, but they must be sustained and updated over time. Distribution and logistics is about complex, multiple-step processes, and processes are about people. Logistics is people!

Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

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LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.

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