As experts in the field will agree, the key to running a successful business in the shipping industry is to embrace change. However, despite this being a known fact, many fail to do so on account of this being a time and energy-consuming process. This leads us to the concept of change management. The history of consumerism teaches us that the two main motivations behind a purchase are defect-free products and high-quality customer service. However, in this efficiency-based era, shippers cannot afford to rely on the sale of defect-free products anymore. Therefore, they find themselves forced to adjust their processes so that they reflect productivity increases. Luckily, they can rely on a variety of change management value increase models. Here are some of these models, which constitute the main goal of third party logistics providers (3PL).
Tip no. 1: Identify your needs
In order to make a change, you first need to make an assessment. In other words, you need to find the glitches in your current shipping processes and then develop change management strategies accordingly. However, remember there are a number of rules and regulations you must abide by, such as the ISO ones, for instance. Also, remember that your needs will vary in nature. You may need to make some changes as far as the training opportunities and resources you provide for your employees are concerned too. Also, you may need to improve your marketing strategies and accessibility to info about your business. All these assessments and solutions will be provided by the 3PL. Therefore, it is important that you build a solid trust-based relationship with your third party logistics provider. Finally, you need to consider your employees' views as regards the changes you intend to make.
Tip no. 2: Explain the concept of change management
Secondly, prepare yourself to face some scepticism from your employees with regard to your initiative to partner up with a third party logistics providers. Therefore, you will most probably need to explain the principles of this partnership to them in order to get their support. In the end, it is all about outsourcing a fraction of your practices to stand up to your competitors and increase your profits.
You can start by training your employees on the benefits of partnering up with a third party logistics provider and thus on their ability to increase company productivity while relieving them from some of the pressure. At the same time, it is important that your employees feel confident about their jobs. Therefore, you need to clarify the fact that their positions within your company will either remain unaltered or change so as to serve the best interests of the company. Present them with any opportunities your company may offer them in the event of their duties being lessened as per your collaboration with a third party logistics provider. Thus, your chances of them supporting your change management initiatives will increase. However, make sure your change management plan is specific and that communication between you and your employees is clear, regular and meaningful at all times.
Tip no. 3: Draw a realistic change management plan
Many business owners operating within the shipping industry wrongly believe that teaming up with a third party logistics provider will result in an immediate improvement of the return on investment and an increased efficiency of their business practices. Do not fall into this trap too. Go through the changes you intend to make together with your 3PL and your employees, whatever they may be, from shorter dead times to increased shipping capacity to improved inventory management solutions.
In addition to this, it is important that you delegate more than one person to handle the communication problems within your company. It may happen that your employees learn about your intention to partner up with a third party logistics provider before it ever materialises. Such situations may impact the pace at which changes are implemented within the company as well as your employees' adaptive behaviour. Consequently, proper communication within the company will be even more relevant.
Tip no. 4: Ensure the transparency of your business practices
Transparency plays an essential role in the development of a rewarding business relationship with a third party logistics provider. Despite what some executives, managers or employees may think, you should reassess this aspect in order to be able to implement a successful change management plan. In the end, it all comes down to trust and the reasons behind the decision to withhold various pieces of information regarding your company's activity. They may have to do with proprietary information, layoffs or anything else. Whichever the case, you should take note of the fact that failure to address the right questions and disclose information regarding your everyday business practices will jeopardise the efficiency of the change management planning and affect the return on investment.
Tip no. 5: Structure your change management plan properly
It is true that the amount of information associated with the concept of change management can be quite intimidating. However, it is imperative that the change management plan be structured properly in order for it to stand a chance at being implemented successfully in partnership with a third party logistics provider. Naturally, structures may vary among organisations and may be based on either innovative or existing models. The secret is to be sharp and draw a clear structure.
The concept of logistics is quite paradoxical. Although simple as a concept, its impact on the employees of a company is complex. The change management strategies you choose will impact your partnership with the third party logistics provider of your choice in terms of both the return on investment and accuracy. Their clear communication and reinforcement is bound to cause an increase in productivity, so make sure you are incisive in your endeavour. In other words, whatever your change management plan may be, make sure it is clear and methodical and that you keep a balanced level of enthusiasm and vigilance.