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How Technology Can Help End Labor Pains

By Peter Schnorbach,
How Technology Can Help End Labor Pains

In an earlier article we covered the reasons for the current warehouse labor shortage. Today, companies are dealing with less experienced workers and higher turnover. At the same time, the growth of ecommerce – resulting in smaller orders and faster delivery times – applies constant pressure and requires greater efficiency from your workforce. To truly get the most from your people, you need access to labor data and the means to leverage it.

How Technology Can Help End Labor Pains

Warehouse efficiency can be visualized as a pyramid with three levels
  • The base is formed by establishing repeatable processes, consistently performed by all workers in the distribution center.
  • The second level is labor management, which measures how employees are performing the processes compared to other measurements.
  • The third level is employee engagement, which allows supervisors to interact directly with workers to improve performance.
  • Labor information powers productivity

In order to maximize throughput, operations need to be able to measure what people are doing against what they should be doing. Without a labor management solution, warehouse managers are forced to make educated guesses on how long tasks should take and how productive the operation is. That lack of information usually limits a distribution center to function at about 65% efficiency.

How Technology Can Help End Labor Pains

The greater the access to labor management data, the greater the opportunity to draw comparisons, find flaws and make improvements
  • Analyzing warehouse output against historical average data allows an organization to increase efficiency by around 10%.
  • Paired with reasonable expectancy data, that number increases to 15%.
  • Include engineering standards and efficiency goes up 30%.
  • Add to that data to create incentive programs – and higher wages – and efficiency increases by as much as 45%.
  • Engaging the workforce

Access to different types of labor management data is helpful. But to make the most of it, supervisors need real-time information that allows them to interact with employees in the warehouse and make immediate improvements.

The most advanced warehouse management system (WMS) features an interface that integrates labor information and WMS workflows. It allows managers to easily view warehouse performance and using those insights, interact with workers to offer praise, provide coaching and solve problems.

The right tools to improve performance

To keep up with growing demands, DCs need all the tools they can get to boost throughput. Manhattan Associates has solutions that give you access to labor management data and ways to use it. Benchmarks and the creation of incentive programs can help boost productivity and employee retention.

In addition, technology that empowers supervisors to use real-time performance data to interact with workers on the warehouse floor, proactively increasing efficiency and solving problems.

In today’s warehouse, all operations are working harder. The best ones are also working smarter. Next article, we’re digging deeper into Manhattan’s revolutionary technology called Unified Distribution Control that empowers managers like never before.

Start building your labor management capabilities today with the Warehouse Management ROI Calculator.

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