TLIU2012 – Implement performance improvement strategies Copy
Element 3: Implement performance improvement strategies
3.1 – Organisational plans to improve environmental practices and resource efficiency are followed
Logistics’ sustainable strategies and techniques
The logistics industry has many different options for implementing strategies and techniques to help reduce its impact on the environment. Organisations should look to research and improve on their strategies for sustainability.
Logistics’ sustainable strategies include
- Manufacturing strategies e.g. sourcing, forward stocking and packaging
- Distribution strategies e.g. optimising networks, method of distribution, route and capacity management.
Sourcing – sourcing products and materials locally means a shorter journey to retrieve them and lowers emissions and fuel costs.
Forward stocking – where items are made and transported in bulk but are then customised near to the customer e.g. different features, paint colours, patterns etc. This means the customer has more choice of product, but the company saves effort, reduces stock and ton-kilometers.
Packaging – techniques such as packaging elimination, light weighting and alternative materials. Making packages smaller and making snug fitting packaging means less packaging is used. This also means that more can be stored and transported at once.
Optimising distribution network – This can be difficult because an organisation usually has to have either; a large number of warehouses, or longer journeys (and more emissions) to deliver goods. To overcome this, organisations could come together to create consolidation centres and multi-user warehouses, cutting down on both warehouse costs and emissions.
The method by which you distribute items is also important. Cost, speed and sustainability are all things organisations have to consider when choosing a method of transportation.
Shipping tends to be cheap and has a high level of CO2 efficiency, but it is slow.
Air transport is expensive and has a low level of CO2 efficiency but is fast.
Rail transport is next fastest (after air) and has the next CO2 efficiency (after ship) but it is also the next expensive.
Road transport is the next cheapest (after ship) but is not as CO2 friendly as ship or rail and is not as fast as air or rail.
Often organisations will use a combination of these depending on where their warehouses and delivery locations are.Route management is another important factor. Routing software can be used to ensure vehicles do not travel more than needed. Software can calculate the most efficient delivery routes taking into account traffic jams, detours, instant orders and most efficient delivery route, helping couriers to work more efficiently.
Capacity management strategies are important as many containers used for transporting goods are not full or totally empty, but still carrying an environmental cost with them. Companies have to try and balance longer loading time with fuller loads.
To help achieve fuller containers organisations can:
- Make personnel responsibilities clear to increase backloads
- Provide training for dispatchers to optimise their capacity of containers
- Install real-time information tool to monitor vehicle availability.
There is also legislation in place to encourage higher capacity utilisation – for example, road usage charges, vehicle tax, congestion charges and carbon taxes.
Follow organisational plans to improve environmental practices and resources
You will need to identify any environmental and/or resource efficiency issues and act on them to allow for improved practice.
Organisational plans may include:
- Documented policies and procedures
- Work plans to minimise waste or to increase efficiency of resources such as a green office program, supply chain program for purchasing sustainable products or an environmental management framework
If the organisation has plans in place to improve on environmental practices and resource efficiency, it is important that you follow them to help uphold the company’s reputation and to also do your bit for the environment.
Such plans may be discussed with you during your induction or may be written in your manual/work order but they may also be introduced throughout your time with the organisation so always keep up to date with the latest procedures by attending meetings, training and reading any notice boards that may be placed around the work site.
For example, if your organisation uses vehicles to transport goods, it may have plans to reduce Co2 emissions. You would have to follow the procedures in place to reduce emissions.
For example, when driving:
- Avoid unnecessary braking and fast acceleration
- How to reduce drag e.g. load management
- Cruising speeds that balance schedule needs and fuel consumption
- Using optimum gear (some vehicles will inform a driver when to change gears for optimum results)
- Which situations to turn off engine/leave it running
- When to use air conditioning and when to open windows
- Ensure correct tyre pressure – regular checks.
This is just one example of a set of procedures; there are many potential policies and procedures and work plans that you may need to follow.
3.2 – Suggestions are made for improvements to workplace practices in own work area
When you wish to make suggestions for improvements to workplace practices you could either; consult your supervisor, suggest it in a meeting to your work group, or fill in a suggestion form. Consultations are good for working through and testing ideas with others. Suggestion forms can be good if you want to place a suggestion anonymously as names and contacts are not compulsory.
Suggestions include ideas that help to:
- Prevent and minimise environmental risks and maximise opportunities
- Reduce emissions of greenhouse gases
- Reduce use of non-renewable resources
- Improve energy efficiency
- Increase use of renewable, recyclable, reusable and recoverable resources
- Reduce waste
- Increasing the reusability/recyclability of wastes/products
- Reduce water usage and/or water wastage.
You will need to be able to use effective communication skills to work as part of a team, make suggestions and liaise on behalf of others.
Communication skills may include:
- Imparting knowledge.
Questioning techniques could include:
- Open questions allow other people to give a full description or expand on certain points. The best open-ended questions start with ‘when’, ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘who’ or ‘where’.
- Closed questions (that predict a yes or no answer) are okay for gathering information, but bear in mind that they give no opportunity for you to discuss things.
- Either/or questions give a person two choices but restrict the respondent to those choices – you should only use these if you are certain that the answer is one or the other
- Leading questions are suggestive and can sometimes be used to persuade
It has been said that people spend 25% of their time speaking, and 75% listening during verbal exchanges.
You will need to be able to:
Effectively comprehend information
Maintain concentration and show enthusiasm
Repeat what the other person has said, as evidence that you are listening attentively
Maintain eye contact
Resist the temptation to interrupt
Practice turn taking during discussions.
You cannot talk as well as listen. When someone else is speaking you should make it your duty to actively listen to what they are saying. This will help you to respond appropriately. Try to say less so that the person you are talking to can say more (and you can listen).
Active listening is a form of communicating; it requires the listener to feed-back what they hear to the speaker, rather than simply hearing what they say.
When listening actively, you should provide enough time for the speaker to tell their full story and offer a sufficient delay after they speak. Use this delay after they speak to think about what you will say – try to tune out any thoughts that occur while the other person is speaking.
Active listening usually involves either verbal or non-verbal feedback and is useful to demonstrate your understanding and empathy. When someone is listening to the words being spoken by another, they are also taking note of the way the words are being spoken.
Feedback can include:
- Verbal feedback:
- ‘Mmm’ ‘Yes’
- ‘I see’
- ‘Carry on’
- Non-verbal feedback:
- Eye contact
- Reacting to what the person says through facial expression e.g. smiling, looking concerned etc.
Liaising is a form of mediating – you might act as a go between for other team members. For example, if another team member wanted to make a suggestion, or if you have a few team members who wanted to speak up about an issue, you could liaise on behalf of them with management. To do this you would have to put across their opinions in a balanced, non-biased and professional way.
Communicating to impart knowledge is another communication skill which is important for making suggestions. It is useful to have information you can use to support your suggestion. Summarising this information to communicate it clearly and concisely can be a challenge.
Being clear and concise means:
Speaking at a reasonable pace, for easy comprehension
Varying the tone and place emphasis on important points
Speaking at a good volume, so that everybody can hear
Articulating your words, for general understanding
Using uncomplicated language
Paying attention to your audience
Not dominating conversations
Not waffling or repeating yourself
If you feel that you have ideas which may help improve practices and efficiency further, do not be afraid to bring these up with your supervisor. They will probably be very grateful, especially if it means helping the environment and even more so if it helps to cut costs.
Ideas for minimising resource usage
Ideas may include:
- Make it easy to recycle in the workplace, try recycling:
- Paper and card
- Printer cartridges
- Encourage staff to use crockery cups/glasses for their drinks rather than plastic disposable cups
- Create a compost bin for food waste
- Recycle electrical equipment e.g. computers, printer, fridges, microwaves etc.
- Buy products that have minimal packaging
- Remind staff to recycle through internal email or posters
- Think about restricting the ordering of stationary – create a special ordering system
- Buy laptops rather than desktops as they use less energy
- LCD screens are more space and energy efficient
- Consider EMO software to turn computers off automatically in non-working hours e.g. overnight or weekends
- Reduce margin settings so that printer uses less paper
- Consider using recycled paper
- Print double-sided
- Use electronic filing systems to save paper
- Think about utilising video conferences – instead of travelling to conferences.
Reduce toxic material and hazardous chemical use
Workplaces often use toxic material – it can be found in electrical products e.g. computers. Chemicals used in the workplace may include acids, oxidizers, poisons and solvents. It is important to think about how you can reduce the use of these substances. Some ideas can be found below:
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products (those that have been made using natural resources instead of chemical i.e. lemon juice).
- Buy natural soap for use in the bathrooms.
- Sometimes it might be difficult to eliminate entirely the use of toxic material in this case consider looking for products with a reduction.
- Use ink and toner saving settings on equipment such as printers and photocopiers.