Though the unemployment rate was significantly lower in May 2022 than at its April 2020 peak of “14.7%, organizations across transportation and logistics and many other industries struggle to hire,” according to Moss Adams accounting firm.
Many employees in this industry are 45 and older. The question at hand: Who’s going to replace retiring employees in an industry struggling to bring a younger generation into their workforce? Logistics companies find themselves looking for ways to make their career opportunities more appealing to the emerging workforce, while also enhancing their work environment for their current teams of employees.
Adding digital tools to your operation will promote the retention and recruitment of your employees by providing the modern technology that many younger generations are accustomed to, decreasing repetitive/draining tasks, and demonstrating your company’s dedication to prioritizing continued growth.
Leveling Up Technology to Fit the Digitization Seen in Our Daily Lives
With smartphones, voice control, and even the exact location of their food delivery orders at their very fingertips, younger workers are used to the efficiency and convenience that technology can bring to people’s lives.
The logistics industry may be slower to fully adapt to the digital tools now available, but their workers and worker prospects can see the automation capabilities around them daily. When it comes to their jobs, they shouldn’t be taking a walk through the past when they step into their place of work.
Younger generations will be less willing to join a company that is unwilling to improve with modern innovation or one being left behind in an industry that is being disrupted by digital-first thinking competition. It comes down to not only the full efficiency potential that digital tools can bring, but also the importance of workers not being left behind in the digital skills/experience they need to grow in their own careers.
Discouraging Burnout by Reducing Repetitive Tasks
According to global consulting firm McKinsey & Company, “More than 40 percent of employees spend at least a quarter of their time performing manual and repetitive tasks.”
Without the use of digital tools now available to freight forwarders, many operations team members will continue to spend time on draining and tedious tasks. Forwarding operations that are handling their processes with manual strategies like keeping hard documents, repetitive data entry, direct communication of visibility data, and other laboring tasks can burn out even the best of employees.
“Put tools into the hands of the staff, that they will enjoy and have a better work experience with, and then their retention rate goes up. And they don’t lose that money on that employee churn, new hires, losing people, or starting over. I think that’s a really important aspect” Holly Scott, Orange Lime Consulting director.
Implementing the right digital tools can foster a work environment that not only increases productivity but shows your employees you value their time and strive to give them the opportunity to direct their focus to higher valued tasks in your operation.
“The second most important thing [to employees] was getting access to new tools that could make their job easier,” said NEOLINK Director Sean Crook, about the priorities for workers after, firstly, a salary increase.
Operations members of your freight forwarding team are also generally the main touchpoint for shippers/BCOs as their shipments are handled by your company. Happy, productive employees will provide service that produces happy, returning customers.
The industry may go through waves of complications from outside factors like the congestion in ports and competing disruptors in the industry, but having digital tools in place to take some of the load off your team will make sure that your business continues to move forward through the storms.
Demonstrating Your Company’s Prioritization of Continued Growth
Complacency with old technology within your freight forwarding operation undermines the belief by staff and prospects from younger generations that your company has a desire to excel and adapt – which is crucial to continuing to compete for market share.
Digitization is happening in many aspects across the logistics industry and whether you offer a business that will thrive in these new waters is up to you, but don’t expect your employees to stay if you let your ship sink by refusing to adopt digital efficiencies.
“Folks want newer technologies. They want to interact with these digital technologies. They want to be part of this sort of wave of technology. When they find it there, they’re much more likely to stay and they’re much more likely to contribute to that next level of growth and adoption for the rest of the staff,” said Holly Scott.
So you’re ready to enhance your operations with digital tools – how do you leverage this as you continue to recruit new employees and foster your current team?
Strategize what digital tools will touch on the most inefficient aspects of your current operations. Then make plans to start targeting solutions for each of those, prioritizing what will make the most immediate impact for your business and team. Customer experience-focused platforms like Logixboard are a great place to start immediately lessening the load on the shoulders of your team, enabling each team member to be more productive with their work time from the date of integration.
Reevaluate the skill sets you are looking for from prospects and start making sure those qualifications match where your company is going with operations, not where it has been in the past. Critical thinking, people skills, adaptability, a willingness to learn set SOPs, and an eagerness to master digital tools could be important qualifications that shape the ideal candidate for entry level positions.
Discuss the other side of digital tools with your sales teams – differentiated services and superior customer experience. Adding some automation to your customer experience offerings (updates and visibility data) will also give your sales team’s tools to stand out against competitors when pitching your company’s services, making their jobs easier.
The future of success in the logistics industry is elevating the workers within it with digital tools that will pair the power of human touch with digital efficiency, but that can’t happen without people.