The importance of business ethics in the logistics industry

Jim Berge

By Jim Berge Business Development at King Solutions

Recently, our team announced our achievement in being awarded a 2016 Minnesota Business Ethics Award. The award reflected King’s commitment to exemplify the highest standards of ethical conduct within business practices.

As we celebrated this honor, it got us thinking about the practice of ethics in business and what it truly means for companies within the logistics industry to implement ethics within their own businesses.

Ethics as a practice
For individuals, ethics is simply the practice of using moral judgement to determine right from wrong. As a company practicing ethics, there’s a few additional layers of complexity. Decisions are usually made by a group instead of just one individual. Their decisions can consist of anything from choosing shipping routes to submitting a proposal to a new potential partner.

This decision-making group’s outcomes shape the culture of the company, as their actions can lead the company in, sometimes, many different directions. For example, the group could reject a route that would lead to the biggest short-term profit, when the alternate would lead to better long-term profitability for the shipping partner.

While either choice could be seen as right or wrong, the final decision will shape the partnership, and in-turn the company’s ethical standpoints as a whole.

The business ethics movement
While the practice of ethics within businesses has been documented for centuries, the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, formalized and jump started ethical business practices around the U.S. This piece of legislation prohibited discriminations within the workplace, as well as the general consciousness and compliance for equal opportunity.

Layering in social responsibility
For businesses striving to go above and beyond standard compliance when approaching ethical practices, social responsibility should be incorporated into strategies. Social responsibility takes the needs of society into account when making ethical decisions. Essentially it’s making the choices that are most socially “fair.”

If we use the example noted above with determining shipping routes, the social responsibility aspect comes into play when making the decision that benefits the shipping partner rather than the logistics company.

Is your shipping partner acting ethically?
Adhering to ethical shipping practices is something every logistics company should take seriously. Companies should be able to tell if the logistics company they’re partnered with isn’t acting with their best interests in mind.

In fact, there’s a few tell-tale signs that they may not be:

  • A general lack of regular communication.
  • Rising costs, beyond those associated to fuel charges.
  • High employee turnover within their company.
  • Frequent missed or delayed shipments.

At King Solutions, we strive to bring ethics into all our interactions both with customers and within our own internal business practices.

We try to bring these values into our every day practices:

  • Integrity: responsibility, honesty and respect
  • Excellence: quality in all we do
  • Innovation & Creativity: passion for creating a better way
  • Safety: occupational safety and health management & service provider responsibility
  • Giving Back: employee recognition, volunteerism, philanthropic non-profit alliances

Want to learn more about how we implement these practices with our shipping partners?

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