Our world is becoming progressively more technology-driven, no doubt about it. From smartphones taking over the cellphone market to Tesla’s self-driving cars, the future is now. However, logistics and transportation is projected to retain the human element in management…at least until those self-driving cars and trucks are perfected.
While industry-specific knowledge is always a sure-fire way to keep up with your industry and put your best foot forward for your company, so it is not sufficient to excel at effective logistics.
Read on for the 5 must-have skills you should focus on developing – in yourself and your employees.
Transparency comes in several forms, all of which are paramount to ensuring a logistics company or department functions as efficiently as a well-oiled machine. Intracompany transparency is essential to effective logistics because it gets all your employees from new-hires to C-suite executives on the same page. There are more minds working on solutions to problems or improvements to processes. And when members of your company feel valued and respected, they will be comfortable sharing ideas. Even kernel of an innovative idea can be built upon and keep your company at the head of the curve, with your competitors chasing you.
Transparency between your employees and those outside the company (i.e. clients and vendors) are just as important. Be honest with your customers about timelines and price quotes you can hit. As tempting as it may be to make promises upfront to secure new business, the deal and relationship are bound to suffer once they realize you promised something you can’t deliver. On many levels, transparency is synonymous with integrity. Businesses can be successful without integrity in the short term, but the way to build an empire is through integrity. When all stakeholders feel valued and satisfied, you will retain customers and employees, and attract more customers through referrals and top-notch talent as word of your company’s positive culture spreads.
Every logistics company is familiar with the concept of Six Sigma, and with good reason. Effective logistics means putting the customer first and objectively and statistically analyzing processes to reduce bottlenecks and foster innovation. Six Sigma encourages exactly those aforementioned attributes.
Focus on quality means a never-ending pursuit of improvements to customer satisfaction and business processes. Just because you have achieved quality does not mean it is time to be complacent. Nor should quality mean remaining rooted in antiquated ways. “Tried-and-true” is a good starting point, but the most effective logistics companies succeed by integrating new technology into their innovation.
Some specific areas of development to focus on improving are shortening the logistics cycle, reducing gaps in quality control, identifying and improving bottlenecks, etc.
Be sure to gather feedback from customers and coworkers about what your company can improve. People will be flattered you are seeking their opinion, and when done in the spirit of constructive critiquing, are likely to contribute valuable ideas previously unthought of. The short-term risk of criticism is well worth the long-term benefits of changes that can improve your entire firm.
Just because effective logistics will retain a human element into the foreseeable future doesn’t mean technology can’t or shouldn’t be used to supplement management. Virtually every industry today is touched by technology, and almost every business could be improved with technological augmentation. Logistics efficiency is no exception. IT professionals and data analysts can add great value to logistics companies, especially when they know how to capitalize on tracking tools and industry-specific software.
Just as it’s important to keep a critical eye on ways to improve your logistics via processes and customer satisfaction, personal knowledge-gains are key to unlocking efficiency potential. Logistics professionals can subscribe to everything from trade magazines to supply chain and logistics podcasts. At the speed the world innovates, and it’s important to regularly keep abreast of happenings in your professional circle. The more you know about what other companies and cohorts are doing. The more inspiration you’ll absorb to innovate within your company and for your clients.
When you gather feedback from customers and coworkers, inquire about how you can improve as a logistics manager, as well. When people like working with you, it makes every process smoother and more enjoyable.
In conclusion, effective logistics skills are a lot like those skills you would find in any invaluable employee. Interweave exceptional social skills and emotional intelligence with technological innovation and open and honest communication to improve your logistics efficiency and make yourself an indispensable employee.
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