With the first half of 2020 (somehow) coming to a close, our industry continues to search for solutions and best practices for moving forward in a world in which there is, for now a new normal. Essential supply chain operations, which have been keeping the country operating as normally as possible given the restrictions set forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, will need to be leaders in innovation and thoughtful action to ensure recovery and future success.
For the country’s warehouses, these are the top three KPIs to ensure supply chain success in the second half of 2020:
Pandemic or not, maintaining safe environments and promoting best practices amongst workforces is vital to achieving a successful supply chain operation. The newly implemented measures resulting from COVID-19 – social distancing, temperature checks, enhanced cleaning, etc. – should continue and evolve with the situation for warehouses to operate optimally this year.
While typical FDA and other industry standards are already stringent, bringing in a 3PL can help companies deal with increased complexity around interstate and/or governmental compliance regulations. Keeping up with changing regulations may be more difficult as states phase out restrictions at different cadences. Kenco’s shippers operate across verticals – consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, industrial goods – and state lines, and we continuously observe and report on changing best practices and regulations across both industries and borders.
The continued boom in e-commerce, fueled by the ongoing pandemic, has put additional stress on supply chains that are still dealing with increasingly high customer expectations. Now more than ever, companies must be sure not to sacrifice quality just to get products out the door. Ensuring end customers’ orders arrive on time, intact, and undamaged will continue to be the most important aspects of the customer journey as the world prioritizes online shopping.
Kenco understands that shippers want to know their products are being taken care of properly. Whether it be delicate medical supplies, products requiring temperature-controlled environments, raw materials, or consumer products, our quality management system (QMS) ensures products reach their destinations in factory-fresh form. Under our QMS, all processes are documented, storage requirements are followed, and our team members receive rigorous training to ensure handling, packaging, compliance, and shipping requirements are adhered to.
Workforce Flexibility and Engagement
Shippers have always needed workforce flexibility, allowing them to adjust labor to meet demand. The ability to effectively flex labor has become even more important over the past few months as some shippers have seen their volumes increase significantly while others have seen their business decline by 50% or more. An increased sensitivity to employee wellness, social distancing, and enhanced sanitation practices have added to the complexity of properly staffing operations to meet customer demand. Shippers expect their 3PL partners to understand these constraints and make the decisions necessary to adjust staffing based on fluctuating volumes, while keeping employees safe and achieving KPI targets.
A proven partner like Kenco brings a process driven approach to their labor forecasting, taking multiple variables into account. We work closely with our customers to understand their volume forecasts and then develop staffing plans accordingly, while realizing that adjustments may have to be made on the fly when reality doesn’t match the forecast. We leverage our relationships with established temporary services providers to add labor when volumes increase quickly. We’ll also adjust shift structures, share labor across sites, and encourage employees to take time off as other tools to ramp staffing up or down to meet customer demand.
Not only do we maintain open and transparent communication with our customers, but also with our employees. Employee engagement is of critical importance to Kenco since an engaged workforce is an effective workforce. We know that being open and honest with our employees and involving them in the process of addressing our customers’ needs helps keep them engaged and committed during unsure times.
Shippers and their warehouse management teams must set focused, strategic goals to ensure the success of their operations moving into the second half of 2020. By prioritizing safety, quality, and their hardworking employees, companies can ensure efficient operations and controlled costs while providing top-tier services for their customers.