Gamification in Logistics - Increase Employee Performance Through Fun at Work

arvato Systems develops an exciting game set for logistics. This gamification approach adds a new dimension to employee performance improvement and increased results.

Formula 1, Bundesliga Soccer or Tour de France – focusing on popular sports, arvato Systems has developed a game set that leads to increased fun and improve motivation in logistics. "Gamification is a business approach that seeks to connect with the human being's natural instincts for play. Employees can be encouraged to perform their jobs with more fun while at the same time working with greater precision and speed", explains Bernd Jaschinski-Schürmann, Manager Supply Chain Consulting at arvato Systems. "Above all, logistics is predestined to use gaming elements, because despite increasing automation, often manual activities are still predominate."

So, for example, with order picking: The operational, manual processes are repetitive, often rather monotonous, but still must be carried out, day after day, with a high degree of accuracy. According to Jaschinski-Schürmann, "With our gamification modules, order-picking activities are turned into a game through setting and achieving of goals or by receiving rewards in the form of points and rankings. This ensures variety and improves employee motivation.” The completed game options "Formula 1" and "Bundesliga Soccer" – as well as the new "Tour de France" option, which will be available from September – were independently developed and programmed by arvato Systems. It is also possible to design and simulate other types of sports. "In their design, logic and didactics as well as in their playing and scoring, the games are unique. New variations, therefore, have to be designed from the ground up each time."

"With our gamification modules, order-picking activities are turned into a game through setting and achieving goals or by receiving rewards in the form of points and rankings. This ensures variety and improves employee motivation."

Bernd Jaschinski-Schürmann, Manager Supply Chain Consulting

Technically speaking, the games are designed to be compatible with SAP and all other business software systems (ERP, scanning systems, WMS, etc.). Jaschinski-Schürmann: "To install the Game Center licenses are required. Important prerequisites are that picking is executed with scanning systems such as Pick2Voice, Pick2Light or similar systems, because the solution requires the assignment "pick to employee" and "order in real time" to be able to display the points systems and high score rankings." Also, error rates and other indicators can be integrated individually – but more in the sense of fair play rankings. For score rankings, this data plays only a minor role, because it cannot be accurately displayed in real time like productivity data can.

If a company decides to use the "Formula 1" race option in its warehouse, it is possible to complete the technical implementation of the game in three to five weeks. "It really depends on the number of sites and the statistics required", says Bernd Jaschinski-Schürmann. There is no limitation on the numbers of participants, but a suggested minimum would be at about 20 people. We can easily scale the system to accommodate higher numbers of participants."

Once everything has been put in place, decisions can be made about how the game is to be played. For the Formula 1 game, for instance, the employees in order picking are allocated to their respective racing teams. Mercedes, Ferrari or McLaren then act as the so-called avatars during the game. The dates and times for the qualifying heats and races for the season are then decided in advance. To ensure comparability between teams, a productivity target is determined for each team before the season begins. The countdown for the start of the race is displayed to all the employees in the warehouse. The progress of the "race" can be followed via a live ticker, depending on the requirements and equipment used by the employees in the picking area – be it computer, tablet or Smart phone. Once the race has been completed, the rankings are calculated, the top 3 winners announced and, after all the races have taken place, the winning team is proclaimed at the end of the season.

"Getting feedback on the results is an important game mechanism, because it ensures the order pickers receive recognition for their achievements during the game", says Jaschinski-Schürmann. Material rewards aren't the focus when using the gamification approach. However, that being said, the winning team would most certainly be happy to receive tickets to a real Formula 1 race. For Jaschinski-Schürmann, the important that further similar measures are introduced so that the teams' motivation doesn't fizzle out: "We deliberately chose a variety of sports with different options for implementation. A Tour de France race, which runs over a period of three weeks, could, for example, be launched to handle seasonal peaks, while the Bundesliga Soccer option is a perennial favorite. Based on the seen success of the games, it is our desire to develop further, complementary games."

About arvato Systems GmbH

As global next generation IT systems integrator arvato Systems focuses on "Digital Transformation Solutions". We use the technology talent and expertise of over 3,000 people at more than 25 sites throughout the world. Being a part of the arvato network and belonging to Bertelsmann, we have the unique capability to create entire value chains. Our team creates integrated, future-proof business infrastructures that help make our customers more agile and competitive, and enable them to deliver new standards of service to their customers. We create streamlined digital processes that support innovative business models. Moreover we provide operation and support services. arvato Systems offers an exceptional combination of international IT engineering excellence, the open mindset of a global player, and the dedication of employees. We also ensure that all our customer relationships are as personally rewarding and long-lasting as they are successful.