Technology: An Incomplete Solution
Don’t Forget Processes and People When Solving Transportation and Logistics Problems
“Technology is an incomplete answer” to transportation and logistics problems.
That was what Mike Wilson, senior vice president of business operations at Hamburg Sud, told an audience at the port of New York and New Jersey’s Port Industry Day last week. Hamburg Sud is in the process of merging with Maersk Line in a deal Wilson expects to close by the end of this year.
The two other factors that make for logistics success, according to Wilson, are processes, and people, especially people when they work together in teams.
“Technology applied to an inefficient process will exacerbate the inefficiency,” Wilson said.
But the key is skilled people. “You need to have individuals in place that are trained, supported, and highly motivated,” said Wilson.
As Henry Ford once said, the only thing worse than training an employee and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.
Wilson is a big advocate of bringing teamwork and collaboration to bear to drive supply chain efficiencies. “Teamwork and collaboration will always add value,” he said. “Working together facilitates stability, prevents fragmented solutions. Cooperation maximizes individual achievement and leverages the collective intelligence of the group. It leads to well thought out solutions, helps grow professional networks, and increases good knowledge.”
Examples of the phenomenon in the shipping industry include the cooperation between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The port of New York of New Jersey has established the Council for Port Performance, which includes the gamut of port stakeholders, and has been instrumental in introducing the truck management appointment system, the port terminal information portal, the winter emergency contingency plan, a trucker resource guidebook, and mobile apps that facilitate port commerce.
“Collaboration provides some direct benefits to the particpants,” said Wilson. “With modern communications they don’t always have to meet face to face and they should to do that some of the time.”
It turns out, also, that teamwork and collaboration make people happier. “Studies have shown,” said Wilson, “that more endorphins are created when people work together than when they work alone.”
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