Technology is growing so fast! We just understand the logic of our computer when a new version is released into the market; we blink and a new mobile phone has new capabilities. The rhythm is relentless.
I will dedicate a post to technology but not this one, later. I have seen a lot of information about big data, ERP, MRP, software solutions for logistics that probably we are becoming experts in the subject. I just want to write a reminder about the human side of logistics and its development as an essential part of the big solution.
Nowadays is very common to find companies hiring personnel to monitor systems, execute commands, interpret reports and respond to customers what they want to hear; ah! Don´t forget mark the checklist, because this is an interminable routine. This is not a post to point these firms, but I want these enterprises to ask themselves: our employees understand how the systems work? Are they able to survive a day without Internet?
Sometimes, I think that we are producing logistics executors instead logistics planners; if something is out of system logic, people don´t have idea of what to do, solutions turn in smoke and customers are unhappy. A factor of this situation is bad training.
We can´t forget our responsibility to educate new generations. When I say education, I mean teach them more than a “push the red button”. We have to be sure that they understand where the numbers come from. Have you asked a young employee why is he performing certain task and receive the answer “we have always done it that way”? I hope not, but if you have, you are losing money because there are not open doors in your business to change, to innovative ideas, to creativity.
Technology does not evolve by itself (probably AI could not fit exactly but anyway there is someone behind, doesn´t it?); it needs someone changing parameters, trying new things, thinking out of the box. How would that occur if we don´t have logisticians developing those aptitudes and using their talents?
I am not saying that technology is bad, it´s an inseparable part of our days. What I am saying is that we have to care about our people can make a division with paper and pencil if a calculator is not available; probably most of us have not performed an arithmetic operation in paper, but I am sure that method is still in our memory. Keep in mind, again, that parameters of a system have to be fed by humans and it is the most important factor in the success of systems solutions.
Entrepreneur published about training “In a 2015 InterCall survey of over 200 employees, one-third said their company’s techniques aren’t a productive use of time and another third said they weren’t interesting or engaging” (Huhman, 2015). Training is motivation, is productivity, engagement. We have to plan carefully the training strategy in our departments to cover individual expectations and align them with strategic objectives of company.
When training, lets explain how the data interacts in the system, lets stimulate the creativity of our people asking “what would you do?”; set plans of reaction in case your system is down, these ”continuity strategies” can be practiced twice per year; you can act “crisis simulations” where problems must be solved manually or using different tools.
Send your employees to conferences, visit competitors, benchmark customers; it is valuable exposure that will help them to gain listening, speaking and negotiation skills. Be creative to train, don´t be boring!
Nelson Mandela said: “I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles” (Nsehe, 2013). It applies to employees, lets coaching independent minds able to see beyond of what our own eyes can see.
What have you done to train your team beyond execute a system? Tell us what is working in your organization to train planners instead robots. Thanks for reading and until next one!
Huhman, H. R. (2015, November 23). 4 Ways to Train Employees Effectively. Retrieved February 16, 2016, from Entrepreneur: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253023
Nsehe, M. (2013, December 6). 19 Inspirational Quotes From Nelson Mandela. Retrieved February 16, 2016, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2013/12/06/20-inspirational-quotes-from-nelson-mandela/#6f7bb60449d5