Collaborative Onsite Outsourcing

In response to the article in LinkedIn: 5 Smart Reasons Employers Should Stop Hiring for Full-time Jobs written by J.T. O’Donnell,  I wrote that companies must utilise all forms of employment including full-time, part-time, outsourced and contracted. Only this will allow companies to get the best ROI from the available and seemingly diminishing pool of Supply Chain talent (I have included my original response below).

Today I find a paper published  by C.H. Robinson stating a similar fact. Their paper “Collaborative Outsourcing: How to gain value from a strategic onsite logistics resource” is focused on Logistics and how outsourced suppliers may need to place some of their own resources on site with their customer.

Not only is this good reading but is a good guide to what and how companies can optimise their requirements.

My original response to JT’s article: There many facets to the concept of “employment”, the problem as I read it, the author seems to be extreme one way and many of the comments extreme the other way. In reality there should be more project driven roles (contract) but this does not detract from the fact that there also needs to be a large part of the organisation that remains permanent. Companies should be utilising the best people for the particular task/function in the most appropriate manner. Some tasks/projects are always better to be managed by either outsourcing or having a person contracted for that project, remembering this can be a short term or long term/extended contract, other roles should nearly always be done on a permanent basis in-house (full-time or part-time). Aside from the perceptions of individuals many companies do not analyse their requirements correctly, too many focus on an immediate requirement or need and hire to an outdated expectation for example: “THIS should be a permanent role and we will have to hire a temp for THAT one”. Also: Project driven roles should not be considered “Temps” – there is too much negative stigma attached to this title, call them Project Contractors, for that is what they are. There are far too many people not being allowed to be the best they can, or to give the best they can to the company they work for, in any capacity, due to so much inaccurate and inconsistent thinking about what a “job” is.

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Using Customer complaints to improve your supply chain

Marketing talk about the “better mousetrap syndrome”, it is not a bigger, better, faster mouse trap that customers want – they just want to be rid of the mouse, so too with Supply. Customers just want what they order, when they expect it (or told to expect it).

Many times the message will be heard that customers want a faster more reliable delivery service. So the Distribution Manager will call for a meeting with the Carrier asking they address the problem – now. But by drilling down it is found customers are receiving their orders anywhere between 4-25 days with a gazetted delivery of 6 days.

In fact after talking to the customers, all they really want (as an example) is to get a guarantee that their orders will arrive on day 6, every time and this actually happens.

To achieve this will not entail just talking to the carrier and setting KPIs and exception reports etc, there will need to be a proper Root Cause Analysis carried out.  You may find that aside from the Carriers own issues there are delays throughout the process, for example the time it takes to receive and enter an order, the picking schedules in the warehouse, the collection schedules, the availability of stock etc.

There are many ways a company can improve their own Supply Chain without the need to rush out and purchase new systems or equipment. Often it is seeing the big picture, then following some basic steps:

1-       Map the Supply Chain

2-       Identify the bottle necks

3-       Identify a few, appropriate KPIs

4-       Put into place an Exception Reporting process (to trigger Root Cause Analysis & Corrective Actions)

5-       Use your ‘CAR’ system to record and monitor issues, both operational and systemic.

6-       Communicate with all stake-holders: suppliers-staff-customers

Like the Mousetrap, investing in bigger, faster processes and products may not be what is required, it might just be to stabilise what you have and set appropriate customer expectations.  A targeted approach such as this will cost less, retain customers and will probably reduce ongoing costs.