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  November 30th, 2015 | Written by

Playing Games With Logistics

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  • Arvato Systems develops a game set for logistics workers.
  • A gamification approach adds a new dimension to employee performance improvement and increased results.
  • Arvato Systems games are designed to be compatible with SAP and other business software systems.

Focusing on popular sports, Arvato Systems has developed a game set that leads to increased fun and improve motivation in logistics.

“Gamification is a business approach that seeks to connect with the human being’s natural instincts for play,” said Bernd Jaschinski-Schürmann, manager for supply-chain consulting at Arvato Systems. “Employees can be encouraged to perform their jobs with more fun while at the same time working with greater precision and speed. Logistics is natural to use gaming elements, because despite automation, manual activities often predominate.”

With order picking, for example, the manual processes are repetitive, often monotonous, but still must be carried out with a high degree of accuracy.

“With our gamification modules, order-picking activities are turned into a game through setting and achieving of goals or by receiving rewards in the form of points and rankings,” said Jaschinski-Schürmann. “This ensures variety and improves employee motivation.”

The completed game options Formula 1 and Bundesliga Soccer—as well as the new Tour de France option, which will be available in September—were independently developed and programmed by Arvato Systems. It is also possible to design and simulate other types of sports.

The games are designed to be compatible with SAP and all other business software systems.

“Important prerequisites are that picking is executed with scanning systems such as Pick2Voice, Pick2Light or similar systems,” explained Jaschinski-Schürmann, “because the solution requires the assignment ‘pick to employee’ and ‘order in real time’ to be able to display the points systems and high score rankings.”

If a company decides to use the Formula 1 race option in its warehouse, it is possible to complete the technical implementation of the game in three to five weeks. “It really depends on the number of sites and the statistics required”, says Jaschinski-Schürmann. “There is no limitation on the numbers of participants, but a suggested minimum would be at about 20 people. We can easily scale the system to accommodate higher numbers of participants.”

Once everything has been put in place, decisions can be made about how the game is to be played. For the Formula 1 game, the employees in order picking are allocated to their respective racing teams. The dates and times for the qualifying heats and races for the season are then decided in advance. To ensure comparability between teams, a productivity target is determined for each team before the season begins. The countdown for the start of the race is displayed to all the employees in the warehouse. The progress of the race can be followed via a live ticker, depending on the requirements and equipment used by the employees in the picking area, be it computer, tablet, or smartphone. Once the race has been completed, the rankings are calculated, the top three winners announced and, after all the races have taken place, the winning team is proclaimed at the end of the season.

“Getting feedback on the results is an important game mechanism, because it ensures the order pickers receive recognition for their achievements during the game”, said Jaschinski-Schürmann. “Material rewards aren’t the focus when using the gamification approach. However, the winning team would most certainly be happy to receive” a prize.

For Jaschinski-Schürmann, the important that further similar measures are introduced so that the teams’ motivation doesn’t fizzle out: “We deliberately chose a variety of sports with different options for implementation,” he said. “A Tour de France race, which runs over a period of three weeks, could, for example, be launched to handle seasonal peaks, while the Bundesliga Soccer option is a perennial favorite. Based on the seen success of the games, it is our desire to develop further, complementary games.”