Chiming with your LSP: 6 ways to strengthen the synchronization

Not everyone may like dancing, but you know what, it’s really fun and energizing, especially after you’re married! Note: It is best to dance together, instead of dancing to the tune of the other. It is said that dancing is great for relationship development!

Alas, unlike bathroom singing, drawing-room dancing is way less popular. This privy dance form is a joyous act done to indulge the self and family. I would strongly recommend you to dance with your family often. You need not be a perfect singer/dancer to perform the daring manoeuvres. And there is an added bonus- dancing keeps you physically fit.

After one of my recent classified dance sessions at home, I could enumerate…Inconspicuous but significant six lessons I learnt from the act/ art of dancing !! Extending these joyous moments to work is not unfathomable. I invite you to ‘dance’ with your logistics partners too. Here are the 6 dancing lessons for you to try replicate at work:

Lesson 1: Loving to dance

Share and align company/ function goals with the LSP (logistics service provider) with greater transparency. It helps to share the internal constraints (temporary or otherwise) where you need the LSP to put in the extra effort. Teamwork principles apply to the extended team (LSP) as well.

Lesson 2: Practice… Persist… Excel

Continuously invest in capabilities, processes, IT to gain a competitive advantage in cost, service & inventory. This is a joint exercise to be led by you, and operational benefits to be amplified by LSP. Work with your LSP to phase out investments in planning and execution.

Lesson 3: Trust- A lesson in surrender

Once you have identified a good partner, commit for a long period (contracts). LSPs will share the benefits arising from economies of scale… For example, return load opportunities, lane consolidation, customized vehicles/ solutions, industry bench-marking, warehouse operation solutions (incl LSPs own software) et al.

Lesson 4: Respect- A lesson in responsibility

LSP to participate with you beyond the mandatory ‘cost control initiatives’, and be an active partner in revenue generation. Logistics can generate revenue by:

• improving freshness of the products reaching the shelf

• delivering wider range to all distributor and retailer formats

• help in reducing distributor inventory through an effective CRS (Continuous Replenishment System)

• servicing small-town growth

Lesson 5: Vigil- A lesson in staying ‘awake’

By virtue of handling the last mile (and first mile for raw materials), LSPs are the farthest nodes of our supply chains, yet, closest to the customer/supplier. Through this high frequency and intensity of interaction with suppliers, customers, market & service providers, our LSPs sense a lot of information. We do not tap it back to our analytical centre, this could be a big aid to demand-supply integration and our supply chains’ ability to quickly respond to demand variations.

Lesson 6: Enthusiasm- A lesson in creating connection!

Partners play together and celebrate together. Do remember to send a celebratory cake to your depot/ warehouse when you achieve the stretch goals.

This article by Shammi Dua, Lead – Supply Chain CSL, Distribution at Unilever originally appeared in the SCM Spotlight segment for the June 2021 issue of Logistics Insider magazine. All views expressed in the article are his own and do not represent those of any entity he was, is or will be associated with.

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