As Manhattan Associates rolls out its new unified cloud-native Warehouse Management System, MHD explores the challenges to effective warehouse management and the benefits of the global leader’s latest offering.
Global supply chains have been experiencing unprecedented demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more
Chevin Fleet Solutions has announced the appointment of thirteen new team members across Australia, Europe and North America.
Laura Jones, joining as financial controller, will be responsible for managing the company’s accounts across the entire global operation.
Darren Trueman, Neil Robinson, Michael Kowalewicz and Cristian Tobol have been appointed as software developers alongside product developers Arun Purewal, Sam Hufton, Athanasios Kaloudis. Bringing young talent into the team, Alex Bright and Jay Smith take on the roles of IT apprentice developers.
Chris Cooper has joined as a junior business analyst and Simon Haley as a Project Manager. Audrey Guillet joins the marketing team as Marketing Executive on a six-month internship from France. Audrey’s role will support communications activity across the company’s French operation.
“We are very fortunate in being able to bring onboard such experience to the team. The company is entering another exciting growth phase following recent contract wins and these new appointments will support the existing teams in helping drive the business forward. I am delighted to welcome them to the team,” Ashley Sowerby, Managing Director, said.
Volkswagen Financial Services is further expanding with the 60 per cent acquisition of Fleet Logistics, Europe’s largest fleet management company operating in more than 70 countries.
According to Volkswagen, the goal is to create a complete range of products and services for the customer in which travel and fleet management are combined.
The completion of the transaction is subject to merger control approval by the relevant antitrust authorities. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
“This strategic partnership enables us to deliver significant added value to our fleet customers. We have resolved to transfer the existing business model to intermodal mobility. To this end, we will be able to offer additional services from the joint venture in the future. We have also agreed to retain the brand neutrality of the vehicle portfolio and the independence of leasing companies,” says Patrick Fruth, CEO Mobility Division TÜV SÜD.
FleetLogistics was founded in 1996. The company employs around 360 people worldwide and operates in over 70 countries. Its clients include large national and international fleet customers. With a total portfolio of around 200,000 vehicles, FleetLogistics is one of the world’s largest independent providers of fleet management services. The spectrum of services is divided into three main areas: fleet management, fleet consulting and fleet reporting.
Patrick Van Hull
The supply chain team of the future will look very different from the one we’re familiar with today. In some cases, the team will need radically different skills and capabilities. Many of these skills fall outside the traditional realms of functional supply chain expertise.
It almost goes without saying that people are one of a supply chain organisation’s biggest assets. Although investment in talent is a top priority today for many supply chain leaders, this hasn’t always been the case.
Rewind just a couple of years ago. A 2016 Gartner survey of 261 supply chain leaders revealed that talent development was a top investment priority for only 28 per cent of respondents, a mere 12th on the list of other competing investment buckets.
Supply chain has been, and always will be, an ongoing balancing act of competing priorities. Can supply chain leaders really afford to continue to devalue talent in favour of the functions they serve? In the many conversations Gartner has had with the supply chain community over recent months, the answer is increasingly a resounding “No!”
A number of external factors have contributed to this urgent realignment and prioritisation of expertise and capability development. First is the growing complexity of business and the level of agility required to meet increasing customer demands, which requires increasing excellence in execution.
Then there’s the elevated role of supply chain within the wider organisation as a creator of value, rather than just a service function or cost centre. This demands a broader understanding of the business through all levels of the supply chain.
Acting as the ‘glue’ between multiple parts of the business — as well as with customers, suppliers and other external partners — requires a shift in skills beyond pure functional supply chain expertise to less tangible social skills around communication and influence. This draws on analytically minded, problem-solving skills to make more effective business decisions, as well as keeping assembly lines running and delivery promises to customers.
Finally, the explosion of new technologies enabling the automation of previously manual activities and the augmentation of other human-led capabilities, have given rise to a new of era of digitalisation requiring new levels of skills and new ways of working.
Once harnessed, digital technologies provide opportunities to deliver innovation in both product and process for the benefit of the customer. They’re also putting pressure on organisations to develop new capabilities and lead the existing workforce through a period of uncertainty.
Now’s the time
These demand drivers for talent realignment and prioritisation are being met with pressures from the supply side of the equation. Supply chain leaders are challenged to develop their existing talent to align with the changes in competency profile. Where gaps on their benches are identified, they must bring in the expertise required.
The speed of change within the business, coupled with the explosion in the need for expertise in digital technologies, is met with the reality that those skills take time to develop and aren’t always readily available from the marketplace. At the same time, a strong competitive market for supply chain talent prevails.
Now’s the time for supply chain leaders to lead the charge on talent strategy and execution by developing winning talent strategies and innovative battle plans. Companies already taking the lead on this are developing strategies that embrace the entire supply chain organisation, from hourly associate to the most senior level executive.
The goal is to build an agile team equipped to face the challenges of tomorrow, starting today. The good news is that Australia has a relative abundance of supply at all hiring levels, indicating a healthy talent pool countered by a tightening of suitable employment opportunities.
Agility is the new watchword for talent
Building out organisations requires a balance of planning for long-term requirements and change management processes, at the same time responding to more short-term needs, such as emerging digital technologies.
A one-size-fits-all approach to strategic workforce planning will no longer work. Develop a talent roadmap for the future.
“Develop connections, both formal and informal, between different parts of your organisation to enable broader exposure to the business and facilitate collaboration across functional teams.”
With a clear business strategy in place, harness this to develop career pathways and roadmaps for existing employees who may need to alter their skill sets with your support to meet the future needs of the business.
Take care to minimise any change-related anxiety that may lead to decreased levels of motivation and workforce effectiveness or even loss of key talent. Where appropriate, consider working with outside providers to fill in capabilities in key areas — blockchain is a good example.
Don’t compete with the ‘cool’ brands – build your own
Competition for talented supply chain professionals is on the rise, with high-profile brands like Amazon, Google and Apple with ‘cool’ value propositions posing a real threat to other companies offering more traditional career pathways. Moving forward, companies will be compelled to sell themselves more overtly as ‘destination employers’ to attract top talent their way.
Create a unique talent brand that establishes clear on-boarding and development paths for new employees, as well as programs to develop existing employees at all levels. Building expertise internally will likely be much more cost-effective than buying new skills.
Take a global view of the talent market landscape
Talent has become an increasingly critical component of overall supply network planning. Take into account the differences in the talent supply market across geographies, when considering where to position teams that require colocation. Could global centres of excellence be located in markets with a richer seam of qualified supply chain talent?
Equally, be prepared to embrace a flexible approach to remotely based employees where supplies of local talent are in short supply.
Develop strong internal ‘glue’ to keep your supply chain organisation integrated and robust
The connections developed between people in your organisation create a glue that holds the parts together. Develop connections, both formal and informal, between different parts of your organisation to enable broader exposure to the business and facilitate collaboration across functional teams.
Likewise, building connections between different levels of the organisation through initiatives such as mentoring, can connect less experienced people with those more tenured and facilitate successful knowledge transfer in both directions.
Similarly, although diversity initiatives may run the risk of neglect during challenging times, they can prove a useful tool for both filling talent gaps and enabling a more inclusive and cohesive workforce.
Patrick Van Hull is a research vice president at Gartner. He provides insights into the key challenges and trends affecting global supply chains, across industries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com/supplychain.
Simon Popley and Kim Winter
Year after year organisations invest large sums in an attempt to improve their leadership capability as a means to create organisational cultures that deliver for customers and shareholders. Whether the organisation operates within upstream or downstream, manufacturing, resources, operations, logistics or the wider supply chain, in the majority of cases, many of these leadership development interventions deliver none of the intended promised changes in performance.
In recent years, leadership development strategy and programs have begun to find traction in the resources sector and throughout the Australian supply chain industry, however, poorly designed, deployed and executed, the failure of leadership development programs can actually result in increased organisational cynicism and a further decline in employee engagement, as employees perceive management wasting money they have been asked to cut or save.
Leadership development begins to be perceived as a waste of time, where leaders are seen to indulge themselves in management ‘love-ins’ and ‘off-sites’ in stylish hotels. The leaders who attend leadership development programs that fail to deliver can also be left feeling helpless, as despite completion of such programs they are still unable to cope with the demands their leadership roles expect of them.
When the promised changes do not eventuate, and when employees do not experience the change in leadership behaviours promised, cynicism and resent are natural and predictable responses. If you want to understand how leadership development is viewed in your organisation, ask someone who is not privy to it. If the results of such programs are not visible here, it is likely they are not creating the change you seek.
New research from the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne, funded by the Australian Federal Government, on the state of Australian leadership, was published recently. The findings point to mediocre leadership capability being a systemic issue leading to poor business performance across Australian organisations. Many of these organisations are global brands. Without too much of a stretch of the imagination, it is likely the findings might be similar for organisations in other countries as approaches to leadership development, globally, are not that diverse.
Why do leadership development programs fail?
If an organisation were a garden and you were the gardener, to which plants would you give water and attention? The new shoots, the seedlings and smaller plants, or the mature trees? One of the key findings of this research points to a huge underinvestment in frontline leadership. For every $10 spent on senior leaders, only $1 is invested in developing frontline leadership. This has negative implications for creating a pipeline of future leadership and is impacting business performance.
Again, imagine you are the gardener, conditions are harsh, and you only have limited water and resources to spare. Do you pour it over the established trees? Or do you sprinkle it over your precious seedlings that have just broken through the soil? At the moment, from a leadership development perspective, we seem to be preoccupied with watering the trees, a strategy that has not delivered the required change. For organisations to flourish, it is clear we need to think differently about where investment is focused and how the development of leadership throughout the leadership lifecycle is approached.
Many businesses in Australia and NZ tend to be very hierarchical, with most investment in the highest level of executive leadership. Treating leadership development as an elitist reward for making it to the senior ranks does nothing to move the organisation forward into a high-performing space, and focusing leadership development on so-called HIPO talent neglects the leadership experienced by the majority of employees in the organisation. Employees inherit failing, unsupported leaders, because the organisation does not consider them high-performing. This is a perfect recipe for low employee engagement, something we are all too familiar with. It is also a dereliction of a duty of care to those employees. Ineffective leadership fails to serve the legitimate aims of the organisation, and it also fails to recognise the potential and of individuals and teams.
“If an organisation were a garden and you were the gardener, to which plants would you give water and attention?”
Designed to fail?
The way leadership development programs are designed and structured is a key reason why they fail to deliver the desired change in leadership capability. Many development programs focus on what is termed horizontal development, that is, the acquisition of new skills and information. The premise being that leaders lack the required skills and information, therefore to become effective leaders they need to acquire new skills and information. This approach is actually leadership training and should not be confused with leadership development, though it does have its place. Leaders need to acquire new skills and information as thinking in the leadership space evolves. It is not this acquisition, however, of new information that builds inspiring leaders.
What fuels leadership development is exposure to real-work situations where a leader’s perspective taking capacity is challenged, and where, as a result of the experience, the environment creates in a leader an ability appreciate multiple differing perspectives simultaneously. That is to say, the leader is now able to sit comfortably with situations others might describe as paradoxical. The development experience may be described as the ‘heat’ in the experience: the leader is taken out of their comfort zone, where they are stretched into unfamiliar territory, where growth happens. Exposure to being mentally stretched in real-work situations provides leaders with the capacity to grow and develop; it is this realisation that cascades ongoing future development for many leaders. The knowledge that discomfort gives way to development and growth.
Many leadership development programs are designed without first undertaking an extensive diagnostic process that identifies the key issues within a system that limit the development of leadership talent. It is unlikely that a diagnostic process undertaken internally can deliver the required insight, the premise being that you can’t see the problem if you are already part of it. Internal politics and power relationships may also bias findings that identify unpopular issues requiring attention.
This is not to say that an external diagnostic is not subject to bias. The promise of an ongoing business relationship with a leadership development provider may be sufficient to taint the messaging the provider communicates to an organisation. The organisation is given what it wants to hear, rather than what it needs to hear. Perhaps the answer resides in a collaborative approach driven by a strong desire for authentic understanding?
Many third-party providers of leadership development programs are selling products and tools, or what some term leadership systems. The sale of these products or systems forms the basis of the intervention. It is not necessarily what the organisation needs. It is unlikely that a range of leadership products will meet the unique needs of the organisation in question. It is not to say that certain leadership development tools are not useful, they can be. It is just to say that alone, they are not the solution to all leadership woes – buyer beware.
We have all heard the adage “it takes a village to raise a child”. Well, it also takes a whole range of other people to help create amazing leaders. Leadership development programs need to involve stakeholders as an integral part of the developing a leader’s growth journey. Gaining feedback from these stakeholders on areas for development, and also progress against set goals, is a wonderful way to develop leaders and also a fantastic way to engage and build trust with key stakeholders. This is where being vulnerable builds capital in relationships.
Take your time
There is great pressure on leadership development practitioners throughout Australia & NZ to deliver changed leaders quickly, however, real change does not occur overnight. The industrialised world may have accelerated at light speed over the last 200 years, but human evolution moves at a much a slower pace. Human beings are slow to change, and change is hard for people to make. Leadership development programs need to be long enough to achieve the goals of development programs and embed new ways of leading. Leadership development programs that run over a few months have little chance of effecting sustained change.
“We have all heard the adage “it takes a village to raise a child”. Well, it also takes a whole range of other people to help create amazing leaders.”
There is also a need for support structures to be in place, such as coaching and mentoring programs to support leaders while they make sense of new ways of seeing the world, and embed those changes in the way they lead.
Support is a key element of success in development programs. For many leaders being experienced differently by others is a painful process, support to develop new ways of leading and these new ways of sense-making of the world is key to success. The structures created by the leadership development program need to be left in place once the program has ended to ensure leader growth continues – they should not be considered temporary structures.
Key elements of successful leadership development programs
- Ensure a thorough collaborative diagnostic process is undertaken by an external independent party, which creates a clear understanding of the systemic challenges facing developing leaders in your organisation.
- Focus the investment where it will have the greatest sustainable impact on your pipeline of leadership.
- Continually adapt your approach to leadership development, understand that any leadership development program needs to continually evolve. What might deliver success today may not deliver the same success tomorrow. Successful leadership development is contextual, always be aware of the context. Programs that adapt to changing conditions remain relevant and deliver results.
- Leadership development programs need to be designed around exposure to real work situations. Real work situations provide the context and real-world experience for developing leaders where development can be directly translated into their daily leadership roles.
- Successful programs provide differing ways for leaders to develop, depending on their individual needs and context. Not one-size-fits-all, the approach must be multifaceted.
- Involving stakeholders in the development of leaders is a key element to assist in generating insight and supporting change. It is also a great way to build relationships with stakeholders.
- Build and maintain support structures such as coaching and mentoring programs to support and embed new ways of making sense of situations and to help embed new approaches to leadership.
- Identify clearly the ROI the BU/organisation expects from the program(s), initiate related agreements, and hold all stakeholders accountable for the investment.
Simon Popley is senior partner, leadership and coaching, and Kim Winter is the global CEO of Logistics Executive Group. Logistics Executive Group is celebrating its 20th Anniversary of talent acquisition, development and deploying bespoke leadership programs from their offices throughout Australia, Asia, India and the Middle East. Contact Simon Popley at email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kim Winter on +61 411 883 368, email email@example.com.
Sydney-based logistics software company, WiseTech Global, has acquired Warehouse Management System (WMS) provider, Microlistics, for $40 million, expanding its e-commerce capabilities.
“With the impact of e-commerce and advances in automation, warehouse management is an increasingly complex and specialised part of the international supply chain,” said WiseTech Global CEO, Richard White.
“The combined strength of WiseTech’s global innovation capabilities and our CargoWise One supply chain execution platform integrated with Microlistics’ powerful warehouse solutions for enterprise, express, third party logistics and cold storage will provide significant benefit to logistics providers.
“WiseTech is uniquely well-placed to deliver the technology convergence and deep integration necessary to facilitate omnichannel, multimodal movements across the supply chain ¬– of which warehousing is a critical component,” he said.
Microlistics Founder and Managing Director, Mark Dawson, said that joining the WiseTech Global Group is a key part of its evolution.
“With the global strength and powerful innovation capability of WiseTech, and our WMS expertise, together we will accelerate development of high productivity WMS to bring significant new benefits to the logistics industry,” said Dawson.
“Microlistics will remained focused on warehouse management solutions and we can leverage WiseTech’s global reach, resources and the CargoWise One platform, which for our customers will mean the opportunity for end-to-end execution, control and visibility of the supply chain,” he said.
Microlistics will reportedly continue to develop and deliver its warehouse management solutions with Dawson at the helm to its worldwide customers, and potentially to the 7,000 logistics providers across 125 countries that use WiseTech’s integrated supply chain execution solutions.
According to the Australian Financial Review, Microlistics made $6.8 million revenue in 2016-17, and WiseTech reported $153.8 million in revenue for the same period – spending $50.4 million on research and development.
Anonymous sources have informed news site Bloomberg that Amazon is planning to launch its own US delivery service, ‘Seller Flex’, which has been designed to ease overcrowding in its warehouses and make more items eligible for two-hour delivery.
Research for the US pilot project reportedly began in India two years ago, with Amazon now in discussions with US sellers ahead of a national rollout in 2018.
The sources said that through the service, Amazon will manage parcel delivery from warehouses of third-party sellers to the customer’s delivery address, a role until now performed by delivery partners such as FedEx and UPS.
Bloomberg’s Spencer Soper noted that the relationship between Amazon and its delivery partners may well continue, though the e-commerce company would gain more control over how a package is sent.
He added that this would give Amazon more flexibility and control over the final mile to customers’ doors – opening up opportunities for volume discounts – and help it streamline its warehouse inventory operations, by having external sellers store their goods in their own facilities.
“Amazon’s final-mile efforts reflect a logical extension of its model as it builds network density,” Benjamin Hartford, a Robert W. Baird analyst, told Bloomberg.
E-commerce is forcing supply chains to get smart to cope with rising demand, logistics industry veteran Ingilby Dickson told Logistics & Materials Handling.
“Online offers can’t work without slick and smart supply chains,” he said. “As such, planning has stepped up to be critical in delivering customer-driven outcomes.”
He added that cost-to-serve understanding and technology – whereby business costs are used to calculate the cost of servicing a customer – are not just enablers, but core engine room–driven processes.
“These are in strong demand for the new omnichannel and/or direct online offers, to make commercial sense and create strong customer loyalty,” he said.
Dickson’s industry expertise has been gained over a career working for various major corporations including BlueScope Steel, Goodman Fielder and TNT. He now stands on the Boards of various large organisations in Australia.
He tells Logistics & Materials Handling that his first exposure to logistics processes happened far from a warehouse. “It all started in the military, with a focus on planning-driven processes to get equipment, food and weapons to the front line” he said. “It was far more than transport, it was true end-to-end accountability.”
Over his career, Dickson has seen the term ‘logistics’ expand to encompass supply chain functions such as inventory, cost, service, and also the horizontal accountability across organisations between sales, and manufacturing and distribution. “It’s now a focus on constraint-based optimisation for the net benefit of the whole organisation,” he said. “The result is that ‘supply chain and logistics’ is now recognised as an important and necessary function in all modern business practices.”
As the logistics task has become more sophisticated, so too have the skills required to lead the business function, said Dickson. “The required leadership qualities have changed considerably,” he added. “Senior supply chain managers now need skills to coordinate and plan across a business and be able to manage internal conflict to ensure customers and shareholders win.
“As such, smart and astute leaders with strong commercial skills are needed – leaders of supply chains need to have courage to challenge across a business and lead the best whole-of-business outcomes.”
Dickson is passionate about sharing his expertise at industry knowledge sharing sessions, such as the Supply Chain Leader Insights events, held this year in Melbourne (17 October) and Sydney (19 October).
“Events like Supply Chain Leader Insights are crucial as we need our leaders to share and help others in traditionally thinking organisations see the light in order to drive supply-chain improvements,” he said.
Find out more about the Supply Chain Leader Insights events, book tickets ($57 using the promo code ‘LMH’) and see videos from last year’s event at the Supply Chain Logistics Insight website.
Manhattan Associates’ Warehouse Management Solution (WMS) has won the Logistical Innovation award at the 2017 Australian Business Awards.
“This recognition reflects both our 27 years of focus and investment in supply-chain and omni-channel commerce innovation and how our solutions are enabling Australian organisations to respond to their customers’ rapidly changing needs,” said Raghav Sibal, Managing Director – Australia and New Zealand, Manhattan Associates.
“The expectations of today’s consumers are soaring and they want their goods delivered faster and more conveniently. With our WMS and complementary solutions, such as Distributed Order Management, retailers, manufacturing brands, wholesalers and distributors are equipping themselves with flexible fulfilment capabilities. By enabling them to work their whole network harder – leveraging inventory in transit, within stores, at suppliers, as well as in distribution centres – they can fulfil orders quicker and more profitably.”
Manhattan Associations supports Country Road Group, Casella Family Brands, eStore Logistics and Jeanswest, among others.
“Today, companies are facing a highly competitive and continuously changing business landscape,” said Tara Johnston, Program Director, Australian Business Awards. “In this context, the performance of companies depends more than ever on their flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness.
“New technological possibilities have the potential to transform the way companies operate within their respective industries with long-term gains in efficiency, productivity and customer loyalty. Each year, the ABA100 Winners are recognised for their commitment to business and product innovation and for their achievements in transforming business practices and end user experiences.”
The Australian Business Award for Logistical Innovation recognises products and services that provide innovative solutions for new and existing market needs in the fields of logistics and supply chain management.