Thursday 27th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Five point plan for success through diversity

Women in logistics, which now has some 1,000 members, has set out a five point plan for a successful diversity and inclusion programme which can bring real business benefits to logistics.

While 46 per cent of the national work force are women, for logistics the figure is only 22 per cent, so at WIL’s meeting last month speakers presented  best practice case studies from a range of businesses highlighting the five key themes:

1. Get leadership buy in from the line. Senior sponsorship is essential to embedding the change within the organisation and ensuring that D&I is taken seriously as a cultural norm.

2. Get clear on the business case. Business benefit of an effective D&I programme comes from a number of areas including maximising and retaining internal talent through improved engagement and retention, attracting a greater pool of strong diverse external talent, as well as general reputational benefit. Successful D&I programmes usually start small and with minimal budget.

3. Share the vision. All the success stories shared at the Women in Logistics session had a clear and compelling vision. Clarity and communication of this vision at the start of any D&I programme was seen as a key success factor for making the initiative live within the organisation.

4. Measure and recognise success. The old adage “what gets measured gets done” applies as much to D&I as any other initiative. Best practice businesses have functional D&I objectives in place, with performance objectives to make people accountable. Alongside clear objectives, recognising and celebrating success is key.

5. Diversity and inclusion is a journey and even the best have lots more to do. The best in supply chain and logistics are making a real difference, but there is still a long way to go. Without exception, the boards of the UK’s 350 top companies are all dominated by men: not a single one of them has more female directors than male ones and almost half feature no women at all.

These findings came from presentations of case studies by Pepsico, DHL, Ceva Logistics, Global Diversity Practice and experts from Cranfield University.

Jane Burkitt, supply planning director of Pepsico, gave the example of its vice president of operations, Walter Todd chairing the diversity and inclusion council, to demonstrate leadership buy in.

She also pinpointed the image of the industry as a factor in the apparent lack of diversity. “As an industry we’re not very good at explaining ourselves to young people. There’s a bit of a PR job to do.”

Asserting the values of diversity and inclusion doesn’t have to be expensive either, simply networking proactively can widen the range of recruitment candidates considerably, she said.

The meeting concluded that despite their compelling case studies, diversity and inclusion is still a burgeoning concept within logistics and supply chain.