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The software that Howard's company uses was "birthed" out of the idea of getting the most productivity out of the unloading docks, the hub and spoke of operations. Inefficiencies there can have a disastrous effect all through the supply chain.
If you can get increased performance at the docks, that will result in greater "uptick" in efficiency throughout the warehouse. "The loading dock is where everything begins."
Of course, cost constraints are a feature now in every step of the supply chain, and the docks are no different. So you definitely want to see improvements there.
But you have to have good KPIs and time-stamps, and you have to "incentivize" employees properly, he says. And it must be said: "If the guys are making more money, you're going to get less turnover."
Are there no risks associated with this? In fact, incentives sometimes lead employees to cut corners, Howard says. "They want that money, so they will go too fast, they'll mess up. So management becomes very important in that scenario. You have to ensure safety and quality are there. People will look for loopholes. People will find the shortest distance between two points. 'What can I do to get around this and make more money?' You have to watch for that."
That's true, he says, whether you are working with an outside service or using your own workforce. "Sometimes when the money is put in front of people," Howard says, "that good service goes out the door, so you have to watch it."
There are two ways to pay. One is the "team-pull" system, where everybody works. The negative is that everyone is paid the same regardless of how much effort they put in.
The other method is the individual incentive program. "You get the most productivity out of an individual that way, but the problem is that you have guys sitting in the break room because you don't have the team system in effect."
The labor management technology of Inbound Technologies is a hybrid system that combines the best of each approach, according to Howard.
The system strives to do more than keep tabs on the labor force. You want real-time accountability and feedback in order to know what's happening when, how to motivate employees more, and how, when and where to make system adjustments.
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Keywords: Transportation & Distribution, Warehouse Logistics, LTL/Truckload Services, Logistics, Warehouse Management, Technology, Business Strategy Alignment, HR & Labor Management, Supply Chain Analysis & Consulting, Global Supply Chain Management, Managing Loading Dock Personnel
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