15 Oct 2015
South Brunswick, New Jersey, a rapidly growing e-commerce distribution centre in the United States, has recently hosted the LogistXGames. Conceived in 2007, these are a challenging, competitive and entertaining annual series of games held in various logistics hubs throughout America. The event culminates in a grand finale, or “Global Games”.
Showcasing the Future
The inaugural LogistiXGames were hosted by Louisville in Kentucky to showcase the town’s emergence as a foremost centre for distribution and logistics and to highlight the critical importance of this sector to future business growth, especially in the ever-expanding e-commerce sector.
The games attract some of the largest companies in the industry. They pit their staff against the workforces of other organisations in a series of demanding, fun and ingenious challenges. For example, one competition, the Pallet Puzzle Sprint, requires a team of three to assemble and place 32 differently sized boxes on wooden pallets. The team with the quickest assembly and packing time wins. This is followed by several further rounds which reach their climax in the Box Put, a fun challenge which involves a team member throwing a package with fragile contents (which the team has prepared in previous rounds) as far as possible without damaging the contents.
The top three finishers in the games receive awards, while the outright winners take home the Golden Pallet to signify their supremacy. The benefits, however, run much deeper and last much longer than the awards ceremony.
Participants, of course, enjoy the team-building exercises, which reaps dividends in terms of morale-boosted productivity. The difficulties and challenges of their work are highlighted, and their daily considerations, such as speed and safety, are thrown into sharp relief.
Logistics and distribution companies benefit not just from having their names associated with high-profile games. They also get to show off the crucial importance of their role in the commercial chain. As the CEO of a major US company pointed out, manufacturing, marketing and sales are routinely and popularly credited with being key to business growth. Their efforts, however, would be to no avail without efficient and cost-effective distribution channels. He added that the games also emphasised the significance of relatively anonymous aspects of logistics and distribution. The humble wooden pallets, for instance, unlike many industrial innovations, receive few if any accolades for their contribution to successful commerce. The games illuminate the sheer importance of these units to distribution and logistics.
The host towns are the other beneficiaries, not only in terms of visitors and revenue generated by the games themselves, but by showing the role of location in establishing successful distribution centres. Many of these towns have previously suffered industrial decline and have had significant areas containing empty premises. With convenient and strategically important locations, these areas are ideal for expanding logistics businesses. It’s fair to say that many cities and towns throughout the United States and elsewhere have enjoyed a renaissance thanks to the e-commerce-related rise of the distribution sector.
Fun and entertaining but with a much deeper significance to participants, the LogistiXGames are playing an important role in the growth and development of the sector. Companies, their customers and their employees will benefit from this in the years and decades to come.