ABSTRACT: This essay elaborates on how engagement of students and logistics workers could be increased by gamification. First part concerns problems with today’s educational system, desperately in need of new challenging and active learning tools to improve students participation. While the second is mostly an analysis of gamification usage in logistics to enhance staff motivation.


 GAMIFICATION – Simulator as an active learning tool

In order to develop an optimal educational tools in logistics, a detailed knowledge of the growth of new media and their significance along with the idea of work in the field of supply chain shall be understood. Within last few years, we had a chance to notice a new trend on the programming market coming into sight- gamification, which as the main goal indicates to emphasize accessibility and user involvement.

The application of game-based elements to non-game educational systems helps to get an engagement of the users in the process of learning, as mentioned before, and brings additional interpretive effects simultaneously, which is badly needed in today’s student life, when nothing seems to be challenging anymore. Results of many studies clearly outline – people tend to learn much more quickly by playing a game than using any other traditional method, because it makes it more competitive which always is attractive.

Routine tasks; i.e. calibration of loading (cargo/fright), route planning, stock management, designing a production line, can be all gamified to increase user participation. Current teaching techniques and practices in logistics education system still primarily rely on abstract textbook explanations. The only support for that are photos, videos, and anecdotal stories. Combining logistics education with gamification would bring the best outcomes, especially using simulation games as one of the subcategories – it makes whole experience of learning much more realistic than just depending on theories and books. There is a number of already existing simulators, provided for various purposes such as training, analysis, or prediction (Warehouse and Logistics Simulator, Supply Chain Game, The Logi-Game, Littlefield Technology, Trading Agent Competition, The Fresh Connection, Supply Chain Game, Supply Chain Risk Management Game, Port Simulator 2012-Hamburg).

Example of simulation game – projects illustrating scenarios which can be used as building blocks in larger simulations [Source: Second Life].

The only problem with programming a completely integrated simulator is, that it is considered highly difficult to capture the full scale of the supply chain within the one game. Reflecting only on a transport as a part of logistic system – there is a fair amount of transportation modes, types of goods that could be transported, along with the unit load types or even transportation international/national rules and laws. The answer to that problem could be creating few small applications concerning each issue at the time.

Concluding, current approaches in logistics and supply chain education should be re-discussed in relation to the technique of active learning, which helps achieving educational improvement. Comparisons of the merits of simulation games versus other teaching techniques have been carried out by many researchers and a number of comprehensive reviews have been published – a loss of motivation for students may be overcome through gamified activities.

Traditional gamification as a staff motivation tool  

One of the domains of logistics industry that could easily use gamification as well, is to enhance staff motivation in intralogistics or, more specifically, one of its central tasks, order picking.

As automated warehouses are becoming more popular (f.e. Amazon), still manual order picking is much more frequent. It is commonly known that repetitive and intensive labour require more effort from the physical workers. The typical order-picker activities involves combining items from storage, packaging, labeling, operating forklift etc. – orders have to be fulfilled under time constraints, with as few errors as possible. Due to these challenges and the fact that order-pickers are mostly low-paid unskilled workers, it is common that staff motivation is recurrent problem for efficiency in intralogistics – employees are faced with the monotonous fulfillment of steady, recurring tasks, which leads to fatigue in the long-term. Very often increasing motivation concentrates on extrinsic monetary incentives, those are commonly considered short-term. Rotation, job enlargement, job enrichment and group work as an incentive tools are on the other hand rarely used in intralogistics.

There is a fair amount of projects that aim to implement solutions to the above-mentioned problems (f.e. GameLog). Thanks to its interdisciplinary approach combining perceptions and problem-solving methods from the fields of Logistics, Motivational Psychology and Gaming Science it is possible to contain fatigue and motivation loss among order-pickers by simply gamifying repetitive work. In such implementations might be included: missions (activities that are recorded by the system, such as f.e. orders realization), badges for completed tasks, badges for lifetime points (levels), and badges for specific roles (f.e. labelling). This increases competitiveness in the workers community, encourages healthy participation in the challenge and stimulates speed of completing the job.

Motivation is an essential component for realizing a person’s potential abilities and skills in a given situation and designing a gamification system could improve level of satisfaction among any king of logistics workers, not only order-pickers.

CONCLUSION: In general gamification might be considered an irreplaceable tool in terms of creating more compelling and engaging environment for students and logistics employees through changing the structure and dynamics of unit-level education, motivation and many other disciplines.


REFERENCES:

1. M. Laskowski, Wykorzystanie czynników grywalizacyjnych w tworzeniu aplikacji użyteczności publicznej, Instytut Informatyki, Wydział Elektrotechniki i Informatyki Politechnika Lubelska,
2. Lincoln C. Wood and Torsten Reiners, Gamification in logistics and supply chain education: extending active learning, Curtin University,
3. Yung-Chia C., Wen-Chih C., Yung-Nien Y., Hui-Cheng C., A flexible web-based simulation game for production and logistics management courses, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, National Chiao Tung University
4. Hense J., Klevers M., Sailer M., Horenburg T., Mandl H., Günthner W., Using gamification to enhance staff motivation in logistics, Technische Universität München, Institute for Materials Handling, Material Flow and Logistics.


Sumbitted by:

Justyna Więcek
Rzeszów University of Technology
Field of study: Logistics

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