Inbound Logistics | April 2022


by Tim Motter VP of Transportation Solutions, SAP | 800-872-1727

Digital Transformation: The Experience is King Over the holidays, my wife and I decided to give ourselves the gift of a new couch. Because I work in transportation and logistics, I knew that constraints up and down the supply chain easily could result in a long delivery lead time. So it was a pleasant surprise when the home furnishings company said to expect the couch in about three weeks. Soon after that, the company’s

1. Human resources. Labor shortages are to blame for many of the disruptions like the one I experienced with my couch delivery. The problem is particularly acute in the world of trucking, which accounts for about 70% of cargo shipments in the United States. As the Great Resignation is demonstrating, people value their work experience more than ever, and companies that provide a superior employee experience will have a leg up in avoiding disruption and meeting customer expectations. HR and payroll can help in that regard. They could, for example, give drivers more insight into their routes and resulting compensation—with mobile access to that information—and differentiate themselves with new pay practices that better compensate drivers for their time. Meanwhile, using experience management (XM) tools that link front- line employees to the back office, a company can gather in-the-moment worker feedback, analyze that feedback and mobilize to shape the employee experience accordingly. Companies such as Purolator are seeing substantial gains in employee engagement, along with other benefits, from using XM tools.

say exactly where it was, why it had been delayed, or when delivery could be rescheduled. As frustratingly commonplace as situations like these have become in the past few years, this one hit close to home. It got me thinking about some impactful steps that key links in the supply chain can take—beyond obvious ones like throwing more people and/or better compensation at the problem—in the back office to minimize disruption and preserve what must be among their highest priorities: a high-quality customer experience. Here, based on extensive experience working with logistics and transportation organizations up and down the supply chain, are some of the systems and strategies that are helping them to operate and work more intelligently and efficiently in four critical back- office areas, and in the process, better insulate themselves and their customers from disruption.

warehouse dispatch contacted us to provide a specific day and two-hour window for when to expect delivery from the local transport provider. When a text message arrived on delivery day morning, inviting me to track the couch’s movements in real time, I clicked on the link. That’s when things turned murky. “Delivery canceled” read the message posted on the delivery app, with a phone number to call for more details. When I called the number and got a warehouse person on the line, she told me that not only had the couch not made it onto a delivery truck that day, but that there was no information about its whereabouts. My two-piece sectional had gone AWOL. Because of an apparent lack of visibility and communication between the home furnishing company’s warehouse and its contract transportation logistics company—along with likely staff shortages due to the holidays, illness, and employee attrition—no one could

34 Inbound Logistics • April 2022

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