Packing, sorting and moving boxes around a warehouse is work—but add cheer squads, music and a competitive element, and you’ve got something else entirely.
That’s what’s planned for the Indianapolis LogistX Games, where on April 27 teams from 10 local companies will compete for a prize called the Golden Pallet.
The purpose behind the fun: To build team spirit and shine a spotlight on an industry that doesn’t always get much attention.
Kevin Groves, a senior vice president at CBRE Inc. in Louisville, created the LogistX Games in 2007 to showcase Louisville’s logistics industry and its workforce, while also creating business networking opportunities for event participants.
“Louisville and Indianapolis, on a regular basis, compete for very large regional products,” Groves said. “We were trying to pull attention and promote that fact.”
Since the first event in Louisville, different cities around the U.S. have hosted their own LogistX Games. This will be the first time since 2013 that Indianapolis has organized a local event.
Companies planning to compete in the local event include Accion Performance, Best Choice Products, Guitar Center, KYB Americas Corp., Nice-Pak Products Inc., DHL, GEODIS Logistics LLC, Roche Diagnostics, Ulta Beauty Inc., and two teams from Walmart’s Plainfield e-commerce center—11 teams in all.
Some teams will bring employee cheer squads, and organizers expect about 200 people to attend the event, to be held at a warehouse on Rockville Road north of Indianapolis International Airport. The event is not open to outside spectators.
The competition includes four separate tasks, each one built around common warehousing duties.
For the first event, teams will stack a pallet with 32 boxes of varying sizes. Then, teams will use a pallet jack to maneuver their pallet through an obstacle course. The third challenge involves correctly putting the boxes into a warehouse racking system. The final challenge, the “box put,” involves tossing a box for distance without breaking the items packed inside.
The winning team returns to work with the Golden Pallet—an actual gold-painted pallet that serves as an event trophy.
“It’s meant to put a fun spin on what they do every day, and adding a little competition to the mix,” said James Dolan, director of logistics at Vincennes University’s Logistics Training and Education Center in Plainfield.
Vincennes University is one of four organizers for the Indianapolis event, along with representatives from Mavpak, CBRE and Bastian Solutions.
Dolan said logistics is a hard-to-define and low-profile industry, even though it’s an important part of the central Indiana economy.
“When you say ‘logistics,’ you can’t really put your finger on what that means,” Dolan said. “Nobody grows up and goes to school and says, ‘I want to be a logistics analyst.’”
But the logistics industry deserves attention, Dolan said, especially because of the job opportunities it offers.
The Vincennes University logistics site offers students a chance to earn commercial driver’s licenses, forklift certification, leadership training and other industry credentials.
Students in the program often land job offers even before they complete their training, Dolan said. “I definitely think there’s a need for skilled candidates out there.”