Arguably, the hardest thing to fix that the supply chain crisis has exposed is the people problem, and technology has a positive role to play in solving it.
Labor constraints and rising attrition is impacting supply chains at almost every turn. Warehouses and railroads are having difficulty hiring. Now well known, the ongoing truck driver shortage is estimated at 80,000.
COVID takes a chunk of the blame for the shrinking workforce. Surveys indicate that the pandemic caused many people to rethink their priorities, and in August, a record 4.3 million quit their jobs. In September, more than 4.4 million workers quit their jobs, a record according to the U.S. Labor Department. A similar number of people who were in the labor force pre-COVID have not returned, and ten million job openings remained unfilled earlier this fall.
Economists think the Great Resignation and related labor shortage will last several years. Others believe it may be permanent. While either view (or both) could be right, it suggests that companies need to adjust now to operating with fewer people than they may like.
Everything is on the table to decrease attrition, and one mindset is to change the employee experience. Usually, the employee experience revolves around working from home and other forms of flexibility, but this may just stop people from leaving. The challenge is that with fewer people, productivity must increase without burning out the employees who have stuck with you.
Effectiveness and efficiency can improve the employee experience when the result comes with more meaningful accomplishments. Eliminating busy work and rework are basic goals to elevating the experience productively. Yet, in shipping and logistics, busy work and rework continue to persist. Workflows are broken up and choppy. Consider the process to communicate the move of an import container from a terminal using a combination of portals, emails and EDI. It's anything but simple, and anything but streamlined.
By thinking about productivity as a positive component of the employee experience, companies can solve multiple problems simultaneously. Tools to bring the information into a streamlined workflow can generate a lot of value to the company, customers and people who use them.
The tools should enable a continuous flow of information; provide new ways to collaborate with customers, partners and suppliers; and transform the efficacy of current systems.
This is the mindset on which Splice is built, and as you work to elevate the employee experience, reach out to us to learn how our ability to weave data and applications together can change your business.