The lockdowns and restrictions on movements that followed the appearance of Covid-19 have sparked an interest in the work from home topic. Jobs that were previously thought to only be doable in a physical office are now being efficiently done in the comfort of home.
What roles in logistics and supply chain can you do from home?
- Customer Service: The customer service team needs to be able to respond to emails and calls quickly. They can work from home effectively if they have a good VPN Internet connection and a quiet place to take calls. Most customer service teams also meet daily to plan deliverables for the day, these calls are very effective when done in person but are not necessarily ineffective when done over teleconferencing.
- Supply & Demand planning: In many multi-national companies, you almost never talk to demand and supply chain planners face to face. These teams are often very preoccupied with a daily avalanche of emails they receive from supply sites, business and customer service. Definitely a role that will transition well to a home based environment.
- Trade compliance: The Trade compliance team can work effectively from home. However, a trade compliance professional also spends a considerable amount of time doing documentary audits and attending meetings with external agencies. Documentary audits can be managed from home if the site being audited has access to a reasonably fast and high quality scanner. The trade compliance professional should also have access to the necessary tariff books in order to do basic tasks like HS classification.
- Logistics & Control Towers: It may seem counter intuitive but logistics executives can easily make a seamless transition to working from home. In most companies, logistics executives are primarily involved in coordinating and monitoring shipments through email and phone communications.
- Procurement: Procurement may be able to work from home, however a big part of a procurement executive’s job is vendor management which is best done face to face.
- Data Analysis: Some data analysts will do well working from home. However in many companies, a data analyst also has to do extensive data entry. Most of these documents are in the office
What is needed for supply chain employees to work from home?
Many small enterprises are not able to work from home efficiently because they have not invested in tools that reduce dependency on face to face communication and/or office equipment
- If your email client allows you to set-up meetings with colleagues based on free slots on their calendars, there won’t be a need to individually check with each team member on their availability before scheduling a meeting.
- If you have an Adobe Acrobat Pro license, you won’t need to use a scanner to manually add signatures to PDF documents.
- If you have remote VPN access to corporate Intranet resources, employees won’t need to physically be in office to access them
- If you have the license to use a good teleconferencing tool, employees can have effective group discussions from home
So, in addition to a laptop, a few other basic necessities will allow employees in supply chain roles to work from home:
- A quiet place to take calls, or noise cancelling headphones & mic
- VPN access to company Intranet resources
- Good teleconferencing software
- Good email management tools
- Microsoft office or it’s equivalent
- Adobe Acrobat Pro license (if necessary)
- Access to a shared drive to upload and store back up information