Home Logistic Gamification: a strategy to improve logistics performance.

Gamification: a strategy to improve logistics performance.

Gamification is the application of game techniques in existing processes, with the aim of promoting strategic objectives. It does not mean simply “play a game”, it is about the integration of the game mechanics to a task to increase the participation and motivation of a certain target audience.

This can be applied in any process to increase productivity in a work environment, gain more identification with a project or increase commitment in communities and teams. It includes elements such as leaderboards, performance levels, performance measurement and obtaining rewards and recognition.

Motivation: Keys for objectives achievement.

 

The idea of gamification is to provide the target audience (consumer, employee, user, etc.) with a series of motivations to assume specific behaviors that promote the achievement of expected objectives. These motivations or stimuli can be:

  • Introduce a competitive element to execute certain tasks.
  • The addition of extra interest to mundane and repetitive activities.
  • The transformation of performance monitoring, leaving behind potentially threatening managerial practice, for one where employees feel involved, motivated and committed.
  • Provision of levels, states, prizes, titles, badges and other aspirational elements that create a sense of achievement when reaching a certain threshold of performance or goal.

 

How can Gamification be applied in Logistics?

Staff Motivation:

The logistic world, in spite of being in general quite organized and automated, still depends to a great extent on many manual processes. The workers within the different logistic activities face day to day routine tasks such as the management of inventories and warehouses, collection and delivery of orders, etc. In the long term, any employee can get to find their tasks monotonous and lose motivation. This can lead to a decrease in performance, which affects the overall efficiency of the system.

In 2012, a study focused on the use of gamification to improve the motivation of logistics personnel, carried out by Lunk, Müller-Dauppert & Jung, found that the motivation of logistics workers is much lower compared to other commercial processes.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281554582_Using_Gamification_to_Enhance_Staff_Motivation_in_Logistics

Therefore, mainly in terms of internal logistics, gamification can be an alternative to create a greater commitment of internal staff, which depend on logistics flows, the success of strategic goals and therefore, the growth of the company. Because we know that the staff is the key factor of a company, especially when we talk about logistics.

Collaboration in the supply chain. Starbucks case:

Starbucks is an example of success in the application of gamification in the supply chain environment. They improved their profit margin and delivery efficiency for the distribution of disposable items, such as coffee cups, napkins, etc. to their stores. The problem arose from the fact that the suppliers did not make the shipments of these items on time, since stores made frequent last minute orders, without planning. This behavior increased the costs of logistics, forcing the use of air transport, due to urgency.

They solved the issue by creating a gamified data center that served two purposes:

  • The members of the chain could see the performance of each one and if a member made late deliveries, it obtained bad reputation points. It worked in a competitive way for not to be “the best”, but not be left behind.
  • This data was shared among all the members of the supply chain (suppliers, distributors and stores) in real time, they self-organized and began to collaborate. This system, based on transparency, allowed the reduction of emergencies, increasing, therefore, the number of land shipments compared to air shipments, achieving an improvement in the margins of the company. One of the vital purposes of a business strategy was achieved: increase profits by reducing costs.

Staff Training: Audi case:

Audi has developed a virtual training program (Audi VR experience) for its dealers’ employees. Similar to the configuration of a videogame, employees can practice fun and challenging situations to improve their customer service.

The training program has a mood barometer, so in real time the employee can see the answers that trigger their actions and do better next game. This is a good example of rapid feedback gamification mechanics. According to Audi, more than 570 car dealers in Germany already use the Gamification training program.

They also developed a similar training program for logistics staff, teaching packaging processes through virtual reality. In this they can learn to pack brake discs and other large parts for shipping abroad. A training center that fits in a suitcase: a computer, a pair of virtual reality glasses and two controllers.

https://www.automotivelogistics.media/19936.article

Audi uses virtual reality in numerous areas of the company, from Sales and Technical Development to Production. In the same way, this same strategy can be applied in different sectors where customer service and even the relationship between stakeholders can be positively influenced. The development of gamified virtual training is a scalable solution for an effective and motivating staff training.

Facing the rise of virtual reality, we will soon see more companies betting on the creation of alternatives for staff training and assistance to end customers using gamification. For example, in a logistics environment, imagine that a warehouse manager can experiment with various storage solutions, test and better understand the impact of their decisions as well as assertiveness for their implementation in real life.

Keys to implement gamification in a business environment.

There are different types and elements of gamification that can be applied to logistics. The important thing is to design a gamified strategy that meets the requirements and objectives of the company. Imagination is the limit, however, you have to comply with certain rules:

  • Transparency of information: The gamification without masking relevant information for task development.
  • Real-time feedback: Participants must know if they are on the right track or understand why they are failing.
  • Definition of rules and objectives: Those involved must understand what is expected of them, how they can achieve it and acknowledgment when they achieve it.
  • Leeway: Motivation will not be increased without a little freedom to make decisions and do the tasks in their own way.
  • Challenges and rewards: Rewards must be for real achievements that involve a challenge. Very simple tasks should not be rewarded.
  • Planning and design: A gamification strategy has to be well thought out, robust and practical. Empowering the confidence and motivation to achieve goals, but in balance to avoid falling into toxic competition, cheating or bullying.

Customer satisfaction is the priority of any business driven by logistics. When employees are unmotivated, they can neglect and lose interest in perform high quality deliveries and to commit to the company’s objectives and values. This is a negative determinant factor for a logistics business, especially in the face of ruthless competition where there is no margin for error.

Using gamification to achieve business objectives, will increasingly be a viable alternative both for the ease of being a replicable solution as for the motivational benefits and positive impact it can have on the company. Who does not like to play? Now the game can be the competitive advantage that can help solve problems, stimulate innovation and as a result, make us more competitive in the market.

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