Can your supply chain keep up with the pace of business?

Consumer Goods, Food & Beverage, Retail, Supply Chain
January 7, 2016

Supply Chain ChangesBusinesses today are encountering unprecedented changes at a faster pace than ever before. However, this pace will never again be as slow as it is today.

Rethinking supply chain approaches are more than a trend for retailers who sell products in the food and beverage or consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories – it’s a constant. Thin profit margins, short product shelf life, strict freshness and security regulations, an evolving retail marketplace, and consumer purchase behavior are all driving accelerated change.

There are several unique challenges in the food and beverage/CPG supply chain, one of which is labor. Skilled worker availability has long been an issue in the professional truck driver market, but that issue is now becoming more prevalent among warehouse workers in key distribution markets.  Attracting, training, and retaining talent in markets where skilled worker demand exceeds readily available supply is causing organizations to rethink traditional approaches.

A changing workforce

Workers entering the transportation, distribution, and logistics fields today have very different personal objectives and needs than those of past generations. Increasing costs in direct labor wages and healthcare are driving organizations to reconsider where, how, and by whom work gets done with a focus on lowering total cost. Businesses need to respond to these generational issues appropriately.

One way is to build a robust workforce by implementing a strong recruiting and training program in the organization. Companies must also implement best practices that will allow them to develop a strong team and meet their business objectives. These include making sure all expectations are clear; giving all employees a voice; creating a mentor program where new employees are paired with veterans; and developing a consistent onboarding process.

Clear and detailed job descriptions help manage expectations, and help employees understand where they fit into the big picture. Regular communication between manager and employee will help answer any questions and restate expectations. Managers should have daily contact with employees whenever possible. For newly hired employees, assigning a mentor can help with onboarding and retention. Having mentors allows new employees to voice their concerns with those who can in-turn speak to managers.

Implementing a strong recruiting and training program, and following these best practices, will not only lead to better retention of drivers and warehouse employees, but also a more efficient operation at a lower cost.

Hiring, retention, compensation, benefits, incentives, and intelligent design are all elements in our evolving competitive landscape.  These industry-wide issues are impacting the food and beverage/CPG categories, and will continue to demand attention. With consumer demands escalating and new market challenges arising daily, businesses must meet these expectations with quicker and better service than ever.

The changing pace of the supply chain has many facets. In future posts, we will examine security, SKU proliferation, and peer collaboration, among other things. To get these and many other transportation and supply chain logistics insights directly in your inbox, subscribe to the Ryder blog, using the box in the upper right of the blog.

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