Pallet Games highlights skills of workers in growing logistics industry

WHITESTOWN, Ind. – Close to 350 workers in transportation, distribution, and logistics competed in an event that builds relationships and the culture among coworkers. The workers made up 22 different teams from 18 central Indiana companies.

The four-hour event was designed by Mavpak, a packaging distribution company, to showcase the skills of workers in logistics.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. said Indiana has a strong workforce in truck transportation, warehousing, and freight rail subsections, with each ranked in the top 10 by employment across the country.

“The logistics and manufacture warehousing is the largest driver here in our economy," said Laura Hayes, the director of Mavpak U, a branch of the company that focuses on helping employers cut wasted resources.

The industry is expected to grow, but many warehouses struggle to fill all the positions and keep employees on staff. Hayes said Boone County has roughly 800 openings and Plainfield has another 2,000.

The Pallet Games allowed companies to show off the work of some of their best employees, a decision that some managers found to be a must to keep talent.

“Most people think, well how can you afford to let team members come out and have 20 representatives here at a game," said senior director of operations at Geodis. "Well, we cannot afford to not do it.”

Employees took notice in management's decision.

“We get to come out here and have fun," Rachael Harmon, an operation supervisor over inventory control at Geodis said. "Not all the other places get to do that. There are other warehouses around here and right now they’re working. I know my management team is investing in me as an employee by sending me here.”

The day ends with a lunch, where managers wait on their workers at the table. It's also where awards for the day are handed out.

The winner of the "Golden Pallet" this year was NAPA Balkamp of Plainfield.