The area of logistics, human capital management is a strategic factor, which for a very long time has been classified as a cost component. Today, as the sector is gaining more awareness of its importance and responsibilities, the approach is changing in many realities, but all too often there are instances of excessive pressure of labor costs to the point of – if not certainly beyond – legitimacy. Unlocking a vicious cycle that harms not only the people directly involved, but the entire social and economic system.
This is why it is important to tell valuable stories that show how a win-win approach to HR can also be adopted, able to ensure benefits for both the customer and collaborators, as well as for the entire supply chain. Just as at an important operator in the publishing world, it chose to rely on Adecco Group to re-engineer its warehouse human resource management processes to meet the profound changes affecting the sector. Simone Ghiazza, Startup Manager at Adecco Outsourcing, tells us about the project details.
It all starts at CeDi located in Lombardy, run by an independent operator specializing in the distribution of books and publishing products. One central repository receives titles from client publishers and organizes their nationwide distribution. At the beginning of 2020, this reality managed an outflow of approximately 13,500 volumes per day, thanks to the collaborative staff work of a total of 21 resources used.
To improve operations, in particular picking, the warehouse is equipped with automation: a cylindrical conveyor system that transports orders in preparation from picking to the cargo area.
The desire to better support its growth and the need to react to shifts occurring in the publishing market led the distributor to search for new HRM hubs that would allow both to have new available resources. Qualified and professional, to share and define development programs together to support business growth. After a tender was launched, Adecco Outsourcing Solutions identified it as the ideal partner to make a real evolutionary leap in the organization of work in the warehouse.
Adecco accepted the challenge at the beginning of 2020, starting with taking charge of all the resources already active in the distribution platform and introducing a dedicated site manager. Day-to-day activity, managing the work organization in the best possible way and, on the other hand, crafting a plan to support growth.
In March 2020, everything suddenly changed: the onset of the epidemic and subsequent closures led to an unexpected increase in the volume of sales of editorial products. On average, book sales in 2020 grew by 11 million (+31% compared to 2019 – the AIE number), and the Lombard distribution platform found itself facing an increase in flows more than doubled, with a peak of over +200%. “To respond to this surge, already in April we increased the resources used by 50%,” explains Ghiazza, “and at the end of 2020 there were 40 permanently active collaborators on the site (+100% compared to the start of an order).”
Happy ending and a new beginning
Currently, there are 80 suppliers who are permanently operating in the distribution platform. How could this rapid growth have been made sustainable? “Adecco’s strength, compared to a local operator such as a cooperative, lies in its ability to draw both on the specific capabilities and skills of the individual branch, and on the expertise of the group,” Ghiazza is keen to stress, “so we have been able to introduce new resources in a timely manner, suggesting qualified and selected staff drawn From our constantly updated databases. Having a dedicated site manager for each request allows us to know the client’s needs in real time and with utmost accuracy.”
Transparency between client and contractor
“In the face of drastic change and far beyond the expected growth plan, Adecco’s transparent approach proved successful,” explains Ghiazza, “that allowed the client to see with the utmost accuracy the costs they were facing and the productivity that could be obtained by working on processes that respond to the increase in volumes.” Transparency is today the main theme of Logistics Procurement, “It will continue this way until there is awareness that lack of transparency costs more because there are no guarantees, no possibility of control, and no prospects for sustainable growth. There is often deferred debt behind the lack of transparency”, Which can also translate into production blocks, strikes or accidents.
A work written with four hands
In his speech, Adecco acted not as a simple supplier of labor, but as a partner involved in redefining its internal processes and operations. “Labour cost management is fundamental to profitable construction site management, but it must pass from evolving organizational and planning dynamics and must be based on the full sharing of data and objectives.
“The rapid and unpredictable growth meant that the design and hardware part, as designed, could no longer respond effectively to the change that was taking place. So we redesigned the picking area and end of the line, simplifying operations. The client invested themselves in expanding automation in order to ensure the best working conditions “.
Adecco’s intervention allowed the distribution platform to have the right number of resources, properly framed, working in optimized teams through a mix of full-time and part-time contracts, both horizontal and vertical. This way we respond to changes in volumes with a workforce that is always properly calibrated, and have flexibility that respects workers. Respect guaranteed by transparency allows for a fruitful dialogue with all trade unions. It is the uncertainty and lack of guarantees in this sector that generate critical issues: transparency is an advantage for all, Ghiaza concludes.
- The warehouse operating plan response is the algorithm developed by Adecco, which allows simulating the exact composition of the contract team even on construction sites with high organizational complexity, analyzing daily peaks and reversals and in the medium-long term.
Excerpt from the article published in full in the April 2022 issue of Il Giornale della Logistica
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