Flexing Labor Practices to Respond to Supply Chain Disruptions
Responding to e-commerce surges without compromising service levels, MD Logistics developed flexible labor solutions across its business by emphasizing four core elements.
The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the world and forever altered the way in which supply chains, everywhere, operate.
One of the many disruptions the supply chain experienced during this time was a shortage of available labor. Prior to the pandemic, due in part to the growing demand for e-commerce, the supply chain was already experiencing a shortage of readily available labor. The ensuing days of the pandemic only exacerbated that challenge as more and more consumers moved to e-commerce channels for all of their shopping needs.
This shift, coupled with the need to take time off to care for family members due to illness or the closing of schools, created a labor challenge for 3PL providers and supply chains everywhere. They were now tasked with finding a solution to respond to this influx of orders, without compromising on the level of service the consumer has come to expect.
MD Logistics operates as a 3PL within two very distinct and separate industries: Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals, and Retail and Consumer Goods. These two industries have their own set of handling requirements and quality controls in place to ensure the integrity of the product. Because these two industries are so distinctly different, traditionally, the best way to deliver a lasting customer experience would be to have separate, highly specialized teams operating within each industry.
While this worked for many 3PLs, including the team at MD Logistics, in the past, the events of the past year have proven a need for greater flexibility across all areas of the supply chain. Throughout the pandemic, as some areas of our business slowed, others got busier. We used this opportunity to alleviate a portion of the labor shortage we were experiencing by flexing labor across the business. The solution is made possible by keeping these elements in mind:
Collaboration. Cross collaboration between the facilities within our four-facility Plainfield, Indiana, campus ensures that all areas are properly staffed, flexing team members where needed.
Open communication. Consistent open channels of communication ensure that as additional staffing needs arise, they can be met and fulfilled.
Company culture. The culture at MD Logistics supports a "can do" attitude and is very much a team environment. Creating an environment which supports assistance within the organization produces a team-oriented group of individuals all with a willingness to assist where needed.
Technology. Utilizing the same WMS across the MD Logistics organization creates a more seamless transition of personnel from one operation to another.