Lessons From The NFL Draft: Building a Strong Logistics Team
Aug 14, 2023
9 mins read
The NFL is one of the most competitive and rewarding sports arenas of all time!
We’ve heard the inspiring stories of many legendary players in the National Football League – Lamar Jackson, Josh Jacobs, Dornell Docket, Jimmy Graham, Michael Oher, and many more!
The tactical combination of perseverance, hard work, talent, mental toughness, and luck helped them reach the pinnacle of their careers.
But also let’s not forget that the NFL draft got the right players at the right moment and changed the destiny of their respective franchises and themselves.
The NFL draft process teaches every delivery business critical lessons on ensuring optimal order fulfillment and winning customers. Let’s find them out now!
5 Best NFL Draft Practices That Can Be Used to Create Last-Mile Excellence
1. Get Potentially Great Players Who Are Cheap – Focus On Unit Economics
Ask any NFL draft experts like Mel Kiper Jr. or Daniel Jeremiah – they might have had costly misses and hits during various seasons. But they all know that the NFL draft isn’t about getting great players. It’s all about getting great players who have been undervalued to build a winning team.
Similarly, logistics optimization isn’t merely about maximizing the number of deliveries or finding shorter distances. It’s more about maximizing every delivery’s profitability and minimizing its costs after considering all the real-world constraints. This is where thinking about unit economics makes a big difference.
It doesn’t matter about the scale of delivery fulfillment your business undertakes in a day, like 100 deliveries or 1,000 deliveries. If your average revenue comfortably exceeds the costs per delivery, then your business is making all the right decisions in dispatching. Else, it needs a severe rework in optimizing the unit economics of its delivery operations.
Read Also: Unit Economics in Last-Mile Delivery
2. You cannot improve what you cannot measure – Make the Use of Analytical Insights
NFL scouts look for players with elite quality and character that differentiates them from the rest of the regular players. They have a belief when they talk about a player they find can make it big for the franchise. They have honed this instinct through years of experience.
At times however, these judgments can be misleading because opinions that are not backed with data, and biases can play in for various reasons.
This is one of the reasons why the NFL has beefed up its investment in predictive analytics in the past few years. With data collected from recently-launched tracking devices on players like their height, weight, and speed, NFL drafters can make optimal decisions on whether the player is the best fit to play at a particular position like quarterback, offensive lineman, linebacker, and so on.
Similarly, logistics teams need analytical insights into their delivery performance, like cost per mile, First Attempted Delivery Rate (FADR), On-Time In-Full (OTIF), time under the roof, route deviations, SLA adherence, mileage, and fleet capacity utilization. These real-time execution data help them identify the inefficiencies in the dispatching process and eliminate them.
Say, there have been more delivery delays from 9 am to 11 am in some service areas. Due to these delays, customers either cancel orders or make higher Where Is My Order (WISMO) calls. Your business tries to decode the reasons behind this delay using the real-time data collected using a dispatch management platform. After a few looks into the dashboard, reports, and metrics in the platform, the fleet manager finds out that frequent occurrences of traffic are delaying the deliveries around those few areas.
With this insight, your business can make operational or strategic decisions like adding micro-fulfillment centers or adopting electric vehicles. These informed decisions would help your business maximize operational efficiency and win customers. Every data collected has an insight, story, and opportunity hidden in it. So, whether it’s NFL or logistics, data helps your business find out values in players or situations others don’t see.
3. Everything Starts With a Quarterback – Get Your Route Planning Right
A Quarterback is the face and the leader of the attack for any team in the NFL. The plays a quarterback makes for the team decides if they win a championship or go through a disappointing season.
In this 2023 NFL drafting season, 14 quarterbacks were taken, which is the second-highest total since 2013, and it is one less than the decade-long high of 15. And this is much higher than the total number of quarterbacks selected in 2022, which was nine. In 2023, the top 10 highest-paid quarterbacks, including Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, and Jalen Hurts, have a combined contract value of more than $2 billion.
There’s no doubt that the NFL is a quarterback-driven league. So, most teams focus on getting a top-notch quarterback every season, and the bidding goes like a war during those times.
Similarly, businesses must invest in route planning software as efficient routes determine the profitability of deliveries. A good route planning software should factor in various constraints like traffic, time windows, and vehicle capacity to create optimal route plans.
These optimal routes ensure all types of deliveries, like scheduled, on-demand, and recurring orders, are fulfilled successfully, like a touchdown or a field goal. Also, it must automatically make dynamic rerouting adjustments when an order is canceled at the last minute or when new orders are added. This makes it easier for drivers to navigate to the destination at the right time.
4. Offensive Linemen Are the Watching Eyes – On-Ground Visibility Is Critical
The offensive linemen that include the tackles, center, running backs, and wide receivers, are the second most preferred NFL draft positions after the quarterback. Though quarterbacks win the team’s games, the coordinated efforts of this group’s position give the quarterback the time to complete the pass. The offensive linemen are the building blocks for any good offense in an NFL game.
Offensive linemen must have high intelligence and visibility into the field. They must know the assignment of the players lined up around them and should anticipate the movement of the defense before the ball is snapped. So, NFL drafting teams always focus on building a core team with strong offensive linemen.
Similarly, a logistics business must get its on-ground visibility right. It must ensure proper live-tracking of its fleet and updated status using control towers. This gives the dispatcher a clear idea of whether an intervention is required, like fixing the delivery exceptions, monitoring route deviations, or tracking vehicle breakdowns. The business can make proper decisions when there is internal visibility of the fleet movement and external visibility to customers concerning the order progress.
5. Right Player in the Right Position – Factor the Tribal Knowledge of Drivers and Their Work-Life Balance
What differentiates the best NFL teams from the rest are their ability to determine character over talent. Because of this character and work ethic, incredibly talented prospects lose their spot. There is a wise saying in team management that talent gets a player an interview, and the character gets them an opportunity. But it’s work ethic that keeps them in the team.
The team environment has a critical role in keeping the work ethic going for a player too. And most importantly, the team management must specify every player their role in the team and what is expected of them. This is what we call role management. The most successful NFL teams do it smartly, which leads them to their victories and season championships.
When assigning delivery tasks to a driver, quantifiable driver skill sets, like their on-time delivery performance and speed, are essential. But what’s more important is their tribal knowledge of that area and their work-life balance. Despite the driver being skilled, the time he spends with his family falls if he is pushed to work for long hours. This leads to a fall in productivity and efficiency standards.
Also, tribal knowledge is critical for the drivers. Assigning drivers to a service area they are not familiar with is like placing a potential quarterback player in the cornerback. NFL teams rarely make such mistakes. So, as an enterprise, it is necessary to invest in a technology that takes into account the tribal knowledge of the drivers in a service area that’s assigned to them.
Build a Robust Dispatching Team Like NFL Draft Experts Using Locus’ Customer Experience and Dispatch Management Platform
Earlier, talent scouts and NFL draft experts relied majorly on intuition-based decisions for bidding, selecting, and recruiting NFL players. But NFL teams of today are fully embracing the technological support to make the most optimal decision for selecting an excellent player who is undervalued. In the same way, dispatchers need technological assistance that can make their jobs productive, efficient, and simple.
That technological assistance is leveraging a dispatch management platform for their logistics and supply chain operations. Locus’ customer experience and dispatch management platform is one of the best logistics optimization software today. It has helped the topmost brands in the US, like Justo, Unilevel, UPS, Nestle, and Capitol Lighting, reduce their dispatch planning time by 75% and maximize their efficiency levels.
With Locus’ customer experience and dispatch management platform, your business can make optimal route recommendations for fleet drivers along with realistic Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) and scheduled breaks. It enables drivers to complete their tasks before the anticipated time and spend valuable time with their families.
As the platform intelligently clubs the pickup and delivery packages together using its capacity management capabilities, it ensures drivers complete all their order fulfillment in a single run. This enables businesses to improve their operational efficiency, increase their profitability per delivery and reduce costs.
Want to create and build a productive and efficient dispatching team? Schedule a demo!
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Lessons From The NFL Draft: Building a Strong Logistics Team
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