While the logistics industry is geared to quickly hire operational skills like drivers based on seasonal scalability, Potgieter believes that this is not enough to ensure business profitability and happy customers in this highly competitive environment.
“A shortage of specialised skills that operate the technology optimising distribution of goods to customers is threatening even the best efforts at scaling operational capability,” says Potgieter.
Potgieter explains that the knowledge and skills needed to efficiently use logistics technologies take some time to grasp, and is quickly lost when trained staff leave, or during planned or unplanned leave days.
A shared responsibility approach
In response to these challenges it is becoming more popular to share the responsibility of strategic decisions, as well as the daily operational management of these systems, with specialist service providers specifically trained to operate and generate insights from supply chain software.
The solution to this strategic requirement lies in a so-called “control tower”.
A control tower serves as a structure to manage the human resources and offers a depth of skills that can handle unforeseen circumstances as quickly as they arise. This negates the need for a business to employ fulltime resources for skills that might only be required on a part time or ad hoc basis.
Data based decision making
Some of the benefits associated with adopting this approach include control of strategic considerations like the number and types of vehicles needed, whether a sales or nominated delivery day driven distribution model is needed, and advice on balancing and optimising operations based on customer service requirements.
In addition, Potgieter explains that a control tower operator is less likely to get distracted by operational details and inherited inefficiencies, as their decisions and advice is primarily based on data generated by technology and best practice.