Daily Archives: March 9, 2008

Fallacies of Logistics Productivity Management

Manufacturing & Logistics IT recently ran an article on The 10 Fallacies of Logistics Productivity Management that noted that productivity management often represents the lowest hanging fruit for companies interested in reducing supply chain costs. It also noted that the failure to implement advanced productivity management systems may be related to a number of misconceptions surrounding productivity management system processes, technology, and impact. I’m betting the authors are right … because I know similar fallacies prevent many companies from adopting modern strategic sourcing support software.

The top 10 fallacies outlined by the article are the following:

  • My current WMS / ERP does productivity management.
    Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) manage your warehouse with respect to inventory, what’s coming in, what’s being stored, and what’s moving out. They don’t optimize your logistics. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are even worse – they just tell you what you need to acquire to produce your products
  • Productivity management represents an unenlightened way of thinking about employee relations.
    Advanced productivity management systems emphasize such elements as management/supervisor engagement, detailed training on the best method to perform each job, and consistent employee feedback.
  • Productivity Management Systems reduce morale and increase employee turnover.
    The reverse is almost always true because employees want to know how well they are performing when measured against fair and objective feedback.
  • Productivity management benefits are primarily for the DC manager.
    Productivity Management provides a broad set of benefits that supports multiple organizational objectives by way of cost reductions and quality improvement.
  • Productivity management increases complexity and risk.
    The reverse is almost always true as it generally dramatically reduces operator variability by way of the increased training requirements.
  • Productivity management doesn’t add a lot of value.
    It’s true that engineered standards deliver results, but without productivity management, the extent of the results delivered will often be limited.
  • A new “system” won’t provide much incremental benefit when high quality DC supervision is in place.
    Good management is good – but precise, discrete goal time calculation and detailed feedback is better.
  • Productivity management requires too much time for data collection and administration.
    Companies with WMS and/or RFID systems already have the data collection infrastructure in place to support productivity management systems.
  • Productivity management is unnecessary in an incentive environment.
    Advanced productivity management systems offer benefits beyond incentive systems by way of discrete standards that precisely determine the specific goal times of each task.
  • Productivity management won’t fly in a union environment.
    It all depends on how you sell it … are you trying to ram it down their throats, or are you introducing it with increased training and a new incentive program based on the new, objective, metrics the system will capture?