There was a time when organizational departments worked largely as silos that collaborated and shared information on an “as needed” basis. Logistics management solutions that brought all departments onto the same page didn’t exist, and most team members concerned themselves only with their own department’s activities.
Fast-forward to 2015 and the business climate demands a much different mindset. Cross functional collaboration has been shown to help develop better products and processes, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and profitability. In addition to the formation of collaborative teams, business intelligence and data must be shared across the organization to be most useful and valuable.
According to Logistics Collaboration: The Effective use of Cross-Functional Teams, the top six competitive logistics advantages that companies gain by using cross-functional teams include:
- Speed: Reduces the time to get things done
- Complexity: Teams improve the ability to solve complex problems
- Customer satisfaction: Focus on satisfying the customer’s needs
- Creativity: Bringing together people with different experiences and backgrounds, fosters creativity and effective brainstorming techniques
- Organizational learning: The team is more easily able to develop new technical and professional skills, learn more about other disciplines and learn how to work with other people who have different skill sets
- Single point of contact: One place to go for information and for focus about a project or customer
“Collaboration is the fuel of any business, whether it is between employees, partners, or customers. It is a driving force for continued efficiency among everyday tasks and a necessity for improving the outcomes of many business activities,” writes Brian Honigman in The Unexpected Value of Business Collaboration. Citing research from Clinked, he writes that 75 percent of businesses consider online collaboration tools to be important or somewhat important to their business. “Online tools and platforms have helped reinforce the benefits of collaboration as well as introduce some unexpected value to businesses.”
While many organizations do not have logistics management solutions in place to support collaboration and supply chain visibility, recent innovations such as WIN (Web Integrated Network) are closing the gap with their no-cost/no-fee, web-based transportation management solution. As a cloud-based service, WIN requires no special hardware or software, and is accessible from virtually anywhere. This web-based functionality enables employees from diverse functions in diverse locations to view the same data, fostering collaboration. With one of the biggest obstacles to collaboration removed, companies can be on their way to more efficient, productive and responsive operations.