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How to Deal with Employee Absenteeism

absenteeism

How to Deal with Employee Absenteeism

While on average an employee would miss 54 days of work in 2020, the logistics sector holds an unfortunate record: one of the highest annual increases in absenteeism, putting it just behind the health sector, i.e. 32% over one year. Beyond the exceptional sanitary situation, the supply chain is facing a chronic problem of workforce retention. What HR and organizational levers should be used? Here are a few ways to encourage employee commitment and well-being… and reduce absences.

In its annual survey based on data from 671 companies and more than 350,000 employees, Gras Savoye Willis Towers Waston confirms that absenteeism has increased sharply and steadily over the last five years, particularly in SMEs and ETIs. If the first containment has had an obvious impact, it is far from being the only explanatory factor. While the “transport and logistics” category now holds second place in the sectors most affected by this phenomenon, the study reminds us that the average cost of absenteeism in a company of 1,000 employees varies between 1.7 and 3.5 million USD per year. The weight of logistics activities in this loss of earnings is considerable. Faced with the growing risks of delays and shutdowns in the supply chain field due to lack of personnel, here are three steps for dealing with absenteeism.

 

1. Offer visibility to employees regarding the impact of their tasks on the entire operation

Just like remuneration or benefits offered by the company, the quest for meaningfulness is now well known as a major lever for commitment to the workplace. But how to motivate employees when the tasks they are entrusted with are by definition simple and repetitive? As a manager in the logistics sector, taking the time to regularly explain the stakes and the purpose of your job to each employee, and being able to give them concrete and personalized feedback on the impact of their work, is a way to give meaning to low-skilled logistics functions. Examples include employees knowing which customer profile is ultimately targeted, having details on the products handled and the marketing promise, knowing and understanding all the other technical steps upstream and downstream of his or her intervention. This type of information will help everyone understand his or her role in the supply chain, and therefore, empower teams individually and collectively.

Today, integrated HR tools and advanced warehouse management solutions offer a comprehensive view of current operations and can provide data and visibility to managers.

To learn more about technology that can help you optimize your workers’ performance and increase motivation, read our WMS – Decision Making Guide

2. Invest in technology and robotics to reduce drudgery

Implementing voice command devices for operators or equipping them with exoskeletons is a way to limit strenuous movements and loads carried, thus reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Some companies are even starting to equip themselves with ‘cobots’, these robotic collaborative assistants that help employees prepare orders and reduce their movements.

Used wisely, these tools have the dual benefit of reducing the risk of sick leave and work-related accidents while optimizing overall warehouse performance.

3. Incentivize employees through game-based management

Sometimes alone at their workstations, with no real opportunity to communicate with their colleagues for long hours, supply chain operators can legitimately feel isolated. Keeping them motivated is a daily challenge for managers and HR. Gamification is one way to encourage commitment, pride of belonging and team concentration. For example, it is a matter of organizing interactive performance contests, between peers or between teams, aiming at collecting a maximum of points to obtain symbolic or material rewards. Or measuring the quantity of plastic recycled by each person, with rewards at stake. These challenges can also encourage employees to follow professional training courses or to respond to co-optation campaigns. These initiatives contribute indirectly to the fight against dropping out of the workforce and absenteeism.

Generix Group North America helps distribution & manufacturing companies achieve operational excellence with their WMS & MES Supply chain solutions. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission.

cyber

Security and EDI, the Trojan Horses of Cyber Attackers

If no one is safe from a cyber-attack, then the multiplication of EDI flow increases the vulnerability of a company. Indeed, EDI flows with less protected subcontractors can be privileged entry points for attackers. The choice of a reliable and certified EDI provider is becoming more and more necessary. 

SMEs, the weakest link in cybersecurity

When it comes to cybersecurity, small businesses are the weakest link and the ones that attackers are targeting, so that they reach larger targets. Faced with this phenomenon, some companies use rating companies to estimate the security level of their suppliers and eventually select them according to their score. This approach is extremely costly and is nevertheless reserved for a few large international companies.

A study conducted by cybersecurity firm BlueVoyant shows that of the 1,500 companies surveyed, 77% of CISOs and CIOs report a complete lack of visibility into their vendors’ security. At the same time, 82% have experienced at least one data breach in the past 12 months. This lack of control over third-party security can be explained by the fact that a company’s cyber resources are obviously focused on securing their own information systems. Some companies send a security questionnaire to their partners to assess their practices, but the average company has about 1000 partners, which limits the company’s ability to control them. Cyber threats and protection systems are constantly evolving, and even systems that may appear to be the most mature, such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), are not always the most secure.

EDI, a secure technology, but not safe from attackers

By design, EDI flows are secure: the protocol ensures the integrity and traceability of exchanges. The data itself is encrypted, which guarantees its confidentiality and integrity, but EDI flows can potentially be exploited by hackers to infiltrate the information system of a company or its EDI provider, or to divert data indirectly.

Since the 2010s, EDI network flows initially carried by the specialized X25 network have given way to IP and Internet connections. In the same way, the use of EDI has expanded, especially among SMEs, thanks to the development of Web-EDI type solutions, accessible to all. Any company can communicate EDI data via a simple Web browser and this democratization increases the risk of computer hacking.

The ecosystem, a concept too often underestimated by companies

For example, a supplier who links his computer to a client, so he can obtain a list of addresses, will open a connection between the two platforms. By attacking the supplier, the cyber attacker opens a breach towards the client’s company.

While it is appropriate for the supplier to protect its customers, it is also up to the client to qualify the trust it places in the supplier. Intrusion attempts are polymorphous: if identity theft is the most frequent case, companies must generally limit the flow of sensitive data communicated within their ecosystem.

The support of all EDI formats and protocols on the market is the first criterion for choosing an EDI solution. The platform must support EANCOM, EDIFACT, XML, UBL, HL7, JSON, PDF or X12, but also offer interfaces with ERP and business software packages such as SAP, Microsoft, Oracle or Sage. Finally, the EDI provider must obviously have interoperability capabilities with all the countries with which the company will have to exchange. But nowadays, you must also choose your EDI provider according to its maturity and its investments in cybersecurity.

The role of the EDI provider has evolved; it has become a key player in protecting companies from these attacks and the company itself must ensure the seriousness of the protections put in place by its EDI provider before connecting to its service.

Certifications and standards are a way to ensure the seriousness of its processes. An ISO 27001 certification appears as an essential criterion in the selection of an EDI provider. It is up to the provider to ensure that the data flow is not subject to a “Man in the Middle” attack. It is also the provider who stores the data exchanged between EDI partners. This storage must therefore be encrypted to ensure that, even if an attacker manages to penetrate the defenses in place, he cannot exploit the data exposed to his attack. Asymmetric encryption is the most secure solution to protect data, but some players are now turning to Blockchain technology to further increase the security level of their EDI.

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

women opportunities

Supply Chain Professions: Women’s Place Today?

Despite the diversification of its professions and a recent and relative feminization, the supply chain remains predominantly male, especially the higher up the organization chart you go. We have gathered a panel of experts from the field and from education to understand how to make supply chain jobs more attractive to women and to remove the obstacles to the feminization of a sector that has strong recruitment needs:

 

 

Salomée Ruel: associate professor of information systems management and supply chain management at Kedge Business School;

 

Marie-Laurence Deruaz: Logistics Director at Suez Eau France

 

Anicia Jaegler: director of the Operations Management and Information Systems department and professor at the ISLI at Kedge Business school, delivers their analysis;

 

Just over 4 in 10 (41%) supply chain positions, according to the Gartner 2021 survey, are filled by women. These numbers are slowly changing, as Gartner reported an occupancy rate of 39% in 2020 and 33% in 2019. However, in executive positions, their share is only 17%, and decreasing. What are the persistent obstacles to this feminization? 

 

Anicia Jaegler: “Historically, logistics originated in the military world. Then, it was implemented in the industrial world and associated with transport and storage. This explains its masculinization. The supply chain, which is more recent, is slowly becoming more feminine, with very significant differences depending on the activity and sector”.

 

Salomée Ruel: “The operational functions of logistics – transport, handling, etc. – which make up the bulk of the troops, have less than 10% women. Conversely, in customer services, more than 9 out of 10 employees are women, but these profiles weigh little in the overall workforce.

 

The digitalization of the sector, which is pushing companies to recruit more “mathematical” profiles, does not seem to be conducive to the feminization of the sector, particularly in management positions, which are predominantly male.

 

This is related to the fact that it is a male world that has difficulty making room for women, but also to image problems generating a lack of attractiveness for some women”.

 

Marie-Laurence Deruaz: “The supply chain is often reduced in people’s minds to its “logistics” part, which is historically considered to be a man’s job, physical, with a lot of travel and staggered hours, considered to be very restrictive.

 

These stereotypes apply to recruiters, but also to female candidates, who tend to censor themselves. Fewer in number in training courses, they find it harder to take the plunge when applying.

 

My own team of about 60 employees who perform operational supply and package preparation duties includes six women”.

How can we make these jobs more attractive to women?

 

Anicia Jaegler: “The first action is the promotion of professions in industry, transport, e-commerce, etc. The supply chain is everywhere and its professions are very diverse. Several initiatives are moving in the right direction: a book for primary school children, a card game for high school girls, etc”.

 

Salomée Ruel: “We need to work on the image of these jobs. We must make it known that these jobs, considered as very manual and requiring muscles, have been largely facilitated by mechanization, which also relieves the men.

 

It should be noted that beyond logistics, the sector now encompasses a wide range of functions, around the management of the supply chain.

 

As a teacher, I insist on their transversal and strategic dimensions. We need more female teachers in logistics. At Kedge Business School, the Superior Institute of Industrial Logistics, where I teach, and the Msc “International Transport” are run by women. We have an educational role to play by training our female students in negotiation and leadership and by trying to change the way students view their colleagues.

 

This image work must be led by companies, but also by journalists and public authorities. 100% female events such as the “Global Women Supply Chain Leaders 2020″, organized by B2G Consulting, are starting to be set up.

 

Finally, in the locker room, change also means strict enforcement of the law that prohibits posters of naked women, which is considered sexual harassment. It may seem like anecdotal evidence, but it’s not always.”

 

Marie-Laurence Deruaz: “We also need an active HR policy on gender equality. At Suez, this means communicating to all employees about the stereotypes and discrimination that women may be subject to.

 

It is important that communication also highlights successful women and career opportunities.

 

Recently, we set up a women’s network to give them more visibility, to allow them to share experiences, but also to decipher codes and remove barriers that they sometimes put on themselves.

 

When I set up my team, I made sure to give both men and women a chance: two out of five site managers are women. On a daily basis, I encourage the teams to be open to this type of recruitment. We have some of the best female warehouse staff.

 

But these changes are not always without difficulties. It is also necessary to support the teams, as some members have difficulty recognizing the legitimacy of women managers. This requires open discussions with these employees to help them take a step back from what they are saying and what they think, but also support for the manager.

What are the benefits for a company to have a more active gender diversity policy?

 

Marie-Laurence Deruaz: “Diversity in the broadest sense of the word is an asset for the company. It is the variety of experiences, skills and points of view on the same problem that will make a team more efficient. And diversity is part of this. As long as you know how to agree to cross the views. I have noticed that teams with women leave more room for communication.

 

Anicia Jaegler: “The research conducted made it possible to link the presence of women and financial performance, sustainable performance and diversity.”

 

Salomée Ruel: “Women are more sensitive to issues of well-being in the workplace and to compliance with Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) rules.

 

They are also more sensitive to the respect of suppliers’ codes of conduct; a key dimension at a time when consumers do not hesitate to boycott a brand that violates ethical rules. Finally, research has shown that in supply chain audit situations, teams led by women perform better and uncover more disputes and compliance issues.

 

Generix Group North America helps distribution & manufacturing companies achieve operational excellence with their WMS & MES  Supply chain solutions. We invite you to download our WMS Decision Making Guide  here.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission. 

supply chain

Health Crisis: The 4 Challenges Facing the Supply Chain

The health crisis is putting the logistics chain to the test in particular. Reduced visibility, need for flexibility or even international disruptions… The challenges facing logisticians for this new year are numerous and it will be necessary to be particularly vigilant to meet them properly. Here are our ideas for making 2021 the necessary rebound year.

1 / A lack of visibility that needs to be filled

Since the start of the health crisis, the entire supply chain has faced a lack of visibility. Many activities are slowed down or even stopped, directly or indirectly impacting all players: from the manufacturer to the customer, including distributors. Companies also have to face a regulatory environment that is both blurry and shifting. Result? It is almost impossible to plan medium to long-term actions, especially when it comes to international trade. A situation that is all the more complex as the measurements fluctuate over time and across countries. At present, it is therefore difficult to predict which suppliers or customers will be able to continue their activity and, therefore, to prepare for them.

The first challenge for the actors of logistics management is therefore good to gain visibility on their activity, and not only in the short term. To do this, several avenues are possible:

-strengthen communication, transparency, and collaborative work with the various players in the supply chain;

-work in synergy with companies in the sector in order to have more weight vis-à-vis public authorities and regulatory decisions adopted

-acquire new tools to better anticipate risky situations (reporting, automated alerts, predictive software, etc.).

2 / A need for elasticity and greater flexibility

The current crisis has highlighted one of the main pitfalls of the supply chain: its lack of flexibility and adaptability. For companies unable to quickly adapt their activity to the reality of the situation, the consequences have been serious and varied: stock shortage or increase, shortage of raw materials, volume of labor unsuited to the volume of activity, inability to fulfill orders, longer delivery times, etc. These logistical difficulties have not been without consequences on the financial health of companies. Many have had to deal with a decrease in their cash flow, order cancellations, but also an increase in the cost of storage and transport.

Faced with these constraints, companies have a duty to improve the elasticity of their supply chain. Although the challenge is great, it can be met step by step.

-Adapt the activity: reduction in the number of suppliers (or even single sourcing), reduction of the workforce, limitation of empty transport, local procurement, creation of new services (click and collect, express delivery, etc.) … So many possible avenues for the activity to better respond to current constraints and challenges;

-Develop logistics practices: the supply chain must also become more flexible and, to do this, several avenues can be investigated. Just-in-time work with a view to limiting working capital requirements, cross-docking to reduce stock, cycle counting to facilitate inventories or even optimization of stock management:

-digitization of counting;

-Stock in real-time;

-centralization of data;

-collaborative systems, such as the VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory);

As Isabelle Badoc, Product Marketing Manager for Generix Group’s Supply Chain Execution solutions, points out, some companies have thus chosen to “set up an order preparation organization that is adapted to the flow of ‘greater finesse (more orders with fewer items per line) driven by transport plans ‘;

-Speed ​​up decision-making: as the situation changes rapidly, supply chain players must also be able to act much faster than in the past. The challenge? Adapt all facets of the activity to immediate reality, whether in terms of cash flow, labor or even investments, for example.

3 / A delay in digitization to catch up

The health crisis has considerably accelerated the digitization of practices. With the closure of physical points of sale, restrictions on travel, and fear of interactions, many end customers are turning more to e-commerce. The same goes for B2B buyers, who had already started adopting digital purchasing behavior for a few years. The urgency of digitization is moreover all the more significant as several digital B2B distribution platforms are developing exponentially, like Amazon Business and Alibaba, thus unbalancing the balance of power with distributors ” traditional.”

+ 15% This is the annual growth of B2B e-commerce in France over the past 3 years 1.

Faced with these new behaviors, the players in the supply chain have no other choice but to go digital on a forced march. To achieve this, several projects must also be prioritized.

Develop digital opportunities: in addition to the creation of digital media to meet the expectations of B2B and B2C customers (e-commerce platform, mobile application, etc.), it is also necessary to offer new services, which have become essential at the time of the health crisis (click and collect, knowledge of product availability in real-time, live delivery monitoring, etc.);

Provide “live” management: these different services are only possible if the company is able to manage its stocks and its activity in real-time. This requires in particular the centralization of all information (goods receipts, exits, orders, delivery, etc.) within a dedicated software, directly interfaced with business software, such as aWMS (Warehouse management system) or one TMS (Transport Management System).

-To reinforce customer support: adopting digital practices also requires rethinking its customer relationship. It is indeed necessary to transform the services in contact with customers (sales, after-sales service, etc.) in order to adapt their operation to the current situation while responding to the uncertainties arising from the health crisis. More than ever, the need for education and support must be obvious.

4 / A relocation requirement in Europe

The health crisis has finally shown the limits of ultra-globalization. In fact, current constraints have considerably complicated the exchange of international flows, whether in terms of regulation, supply or transport. It must be said that the health risk is all the greater with long-distance exchanges, the latter involving more players throughout the distribution chain. A situation far from trivial since the logistical risks are stronger than ever: shortage of products, inability to renegotiate contracts, dependence on suppliers, closure of borders, etc. The cost of transport for flows that have shifted to e-commerce has also increased. As Isabelle Badoc reminds us, “ shipments are generally made through couriers or expressions. Reduced to the article, the cost is, therefore, higher than in the case of a full truck charter ”.

To overcome these various constraints, the relocation of the supply chain, in France or at least in Europe, is therefore affirmed as a necessity. Although the site is colossal, different levers can be activated to move towards this ideal:

-determine the positions that can be relocated to France or Europe (suppliers, after-sales service, etc.);

-rely on sector synergies in order to limit the financial impact of relocation;

-request the support of the State in order to be accompanied in the relocation of the distribution chain.

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1 2020 e-commerce key figures – e-commerce and distance selling federation – 2020

This article originally appeared on GenerixGroup.com. Republished with permission.