He may need to adjust work week periods from Monday through Friday to Sunday through Thursday to take advantage of Sunday’s remote data for Monday’s picks. The work hours may also need to be adjusted to picking at night, requiring the warehouse manager to oversee a second shift.
For the route driver, the old model required a broader skill set. The driver had to manage truck and machine inventories. He had to manage merchandising and processes to service each account efficiently. He had to address customer service issues such as refunds, and product requests as well. To be successful, he needed a skill set that included inventorying, merchandising, and customer service and logistics management.
The toughest aspects were inventorying and merchandising skills.
Motivating an “old model” driver is key to helping improve KPIs and the PNL. Hence, the commission-based program which incentivized drivers to be efficient, grow sales and retain customers. In the old model, the difference between a good and bad driver was huge and could make the difference in keeping or losing an account.
New model simplifies driver role
Like all other positions, the sense of urgency for maintaining data integrity is critical when introducing the new model. Especially at the driver level. The machine level data is the foundation on which all other aspects rely.
For the driver, the new model narrows the skills needed to be successful. The inventories are managed from the back end via the pre-kits. Spoilage can be reviewed and managed by the supervisor with the driver’s assistance.
Merchandising can be reviewed and managed from the back end as well. However, the driver can and should still be involved with the merchandising. Keeping drivers in the loop keeps them as part of the sales generating team.
The new model should take into account analytics from the software and include input from the driver. The driver remains the company’s customer-facing individual on a day-to-day basis.
For the driver, dynamic scheduling can be a great opportunity and a challenge. It requires patience and flexibility. Typically, drivers are most comfortable with a routine, so a new routine based on software can create anxiety.
But if a driver can adapt and work within this new model, his productivity will improve, and on a commissioned-based compensation program, the driver shares in the upside.
As companies contemplate the new model, driver compensation is a hot topic. Experience shows that some drivers “get it” and some don’t. The best drivers may have been doing a pretty good job of organizing their routes and filling machines, but the rest (80 percent) probably have not.
The new model, which relies heavily on software, hardware and clean data, is like car racing. You can buy the greatest and fastest car. But if you do not have people with the right skill sets and focus on keeping that car going and the right driver to capitalize on its speed, you probably will be heading for a wall and not the finish line.
It is imperative that at every level you provide the proper amount of training. If there is one aspect of the new model companies consistently fail at it is proper training! This is the most common reason why ROI falls short of expectations.
People are still a company’s greatest asset. People drive systems, systems do not drive people. Make sure you have the right people at every position and you will be successful in the new model and make it safely to the finish line.