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How to Make Your Logistics Strategy Better With Gamification

July 15, 2022
Learn how gamification can create a more effective logistics strategy with these real-life examples that keep employees engaged and eager to improve.

Gamification has influenced everything from fitness tracking to ongoing learning programs. Some people are also investigating how it might result in a more effective logistics strategy. The professionals overseeing logistics management and strategy decisions must evaluate numerous aspects and ensure their respective companies uphold various values related to timeliness, safety, high-quality training and more.

Gamification alone can’t create and implement a better logistics strategy, but it could become a significant element. Here are some possibilities to explore.

Identify Areas for Improvement in Logistics Management and Strategy

A good starting point is for leaders to pinpoint the aspects that are not quite where they should be within the current logistics strategy. Those could be prime targets to improve with gamification systems. If people don’t have a clear vision for what they want to accomplish, the results may not be as obvious, and it could be harder to get everyone on board and working towards a collective goal.

Do specific processes need to get finished faster? Have there been too many safety risks associated with a particular logistics team or shift? Knowing which areas of logistics management and strategy to target through gamification is essential because participants need clear expectations to encourage them to stay engaged. Most game-based incentive platforms allow people to earn points linked to certain desirable outcomes. When individuals know precisely what’s expected of them, it’ll be easier for them to stay motivated and excited.

Once logistics leaders determine the most appropriate ways to use gamification, it’s useful for them to choose metrics to track. Doing that will show whether the company is on a path to a more effective logistics strategy or if it’s necessary to perform additional tweaks for optimization.

Using Gamification in the Logistics Strategy to Increase Productivity

Tennessee-based Kenco Logistics deployed gamification in the warehouse side of its business. Doing so has brought a 3-5% improvement in productivity within areas of the operation that didn’t previously have real-time performance statistics.

People working in the brokerage arm of the business track call volumes and deals with a fantasy football-type system. That setup inspires friendly competition between teams, especially because everyone can see which team is in the top spot. The winners get rewards, such as a pizza party. That approach caused a 10-15% boost in productivity.

Staying abreast of metrics helps logistics leaders see what’s working well while showing them when it might be time to make adjustments. Plus, the statistics could help decision-makers justify further investment into gamification later.

Make Personal Improvement a Central Part of the Gamified Logistics Strategy

All major logistics improvements are team efforts. However, it’s also important that employees continually evaluate what’s within their control to improve. That might mean encouraging drivers to improve their on-time delivery metrics. Statistics show that 81% of consumers track their parcels at least twice before the goods arrive. When shipped items arrive when expected, such experiences increase customer satisfaction and trust, making it more likely they’ll do business with companies again.

A logistics strategy should ideally focus on the things within a driver’s control to influence without penalizing them for things like traffic backups or road construction. It’s also useful if logistics team members can go into an app and see how trends change over time. Those insights can help them drill down into precisely which factors made them more or less successful during a given day or week.

Recruiters are also more frequently using gamification to find candidates. They find such approaches particularly useful for attracting Millennials, many of whom have grown up around and love gaming platforms. Once a person gets hired at a logistics firm, a human resources manager might put them on a learning and development plan featuring gamification. The new hires are then more likely to feel excited about the future and believe career growth is within their sphere of influence.

When a home food delivery company began using gamification to improve customer service training, the results were impressive. For example, 93% of people using the program to learn felt confident in their knowledge after completing the curriculum. Some parts of the food delivery company’s service area showed 10% increases in so-called “perfect” interactions. In those cases, the combined scores for the key performance indicators (KPIs) measured by the company totaled 100%.

Tie Gamification Efforts to Company Growth

Numerous things can compel logistics leaders to pursue a more effective logistics strategy. However, it’s common to look for optimization opportunities when sustainable growth is a primary goal.

Decision-makers at Toll Global Express—the logistics and transportation division of freight company Toll Group—decided to gamify the employee learning experience and support hiring managers with onboarding. They also aimed to scale the educational programs nationally for maximum effectiveness and reach.

Managers identified a strong desire to create a repeatable and robust training program for the more than 300 people working as sales representatives at the company. Once leaders found a suitable gamification solution, using it quickly paid off. There was an 88% adoption rate among employees within the first three months. Since then, the employees have collectively completed more than 8,000 modules. There was also a 10% increase in the time-to-market speed for new employees.

People can earn points as they rise through the gamification platform’s ranks, then earn prizes. There’s also an easily accessible leaderboard, and people get updates on team members’ performance through ongoing informational sessions. Those details keep everyone engaged while ensuring they get the knowledge necessary to succeed in their roles. Connecting gamification to the aspects that support a company’s current or future growth is an excellent way to strengthen the existing approach to logistics management and strategy.

See How Simulations Might Fit into an Effective Logistics Strategy

Succeeding in logistics management and strategy means being ready and able to respond to any situations that arise. Gamification can improve a logistics manager’s preparedness. Some games simulate running a trucking company while responding to real-life conditions. Players can try different scenarios to get the outcomes just right.

An effective logistics strategy also requires ensuring people have the training they need to work safely every time they’re on the clock. Combining simulations and gamification can make safety training more interesting than if people merely read textbook chapters or watched presentations.

One option is to use virtual reality simulations to help people become more familiar with the risks posed by certain environments. Having people go through the simulations exposes them to situations they cannot safely recreate in real life. Some of them provide 360-deg. views of actual warehouse environments.

However, gamification projects need not be so advanced to get excellent results. Researchers developed a videogame-like system to reinforce forklift safety. Participants viewed video clips from a machine operator’s perspective. Each one stopped at points where the screen showed potential hazards. People earned points for correctly identifying the hazards. The results showed that participants more accurately found occupational threats as their game-playing time increased.

Gamification in Logistics is Worth Consideration

These examples offer valuable food for thought about how decision-makers might use gamification for better logistics management and strategy outcomes. Keeping employees engaged and eager to focus on continual improvement is vital. They’ll then remain valuable assets to the company. There are more ways to implement gamification in logistics than those described here, but these real-life cases show what’s possible.

About the Author

Emily Newton

Emily Newton has eight years of creating logistics and supply chain articles under her belt. She loves helping people stay informed about industry trends. Her work in Supply Chain Connect, Global Trade Magazine and Parcel, showcases her ability to identify newsworthy stories. When Emily isn't writing, she enjoys building lego sets with her husband.

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