Warehouse Workforce Scheduling and Management Across Tasks, Waves, and Shifts

Today’s staff scheduling and dynamic multi-function task interleaving are new fulfillment requirements for both B2B and B2C orders. Task dispatch, priority, and integration with replenishment and priority waves, in addition to receiving and shipping in the warehouse require precise synchronization and control under B2B/B2C convergence. New methods and labor processes are required that are more event and customer driven than ever before. A key requirement is to plan, schedule, and automate the deployments of staff to match needs in a dynamic real-time picking and shipping environment.

Today’s leaders and Best-in-Class logistics managers are looking beyond basic process implementation and organizational structure – they are making sure that performance management at individual, group/dept., and facility levels is a priority. Table 1 takes things a step further to show the relative level of labor measurement across functional areas for direct and indirect labor and by performance class.

Table 1: Individual Performance Measures and Performance Gaps

Table 1 - Individual Performance Measures and Performance Gaps

The number following the dash illustrates the performance gap for Best-in-Class companies versus the all other column in terms of labor measurement to the individual employee. This labor measurement performance gap is a very significant advancement (Best-in-Class firms are 1.5-times to 3.5-times as likely as all others to measure across each area). Even though almost 73% of all companies state that they track warehouse transactions to specific employees, they don’t all do so with the same degree of precision (nor do they measure performance to that level in each of the areas listed above, sorted in descending rank). Even those firms that have a LMS have varying levels of its usage ranging from a high of 68% for picking to a low of 23% for indirect labor. It will also be shown that they are not at all equal when it comes to the level of automation or software they use to measure or track performance.

Managers also need to monitor and adjust workforce requirements across roles / tasks within a given workday, which requires process knowledge. A key differentiator for the Best-in-Class is that they are 1.6-times as likely as the Industry Average and 2.9-times as likely as Laggards to utilize established standards against which employees can be measured. A process of establishing standards and then monitoring actual performance is the foundation for workforce flexibility. This illustrates the principle that flexibility and detailed process knowledge are tightly linked. You need to have standards and expectations of performance, coupled with visibility of performance data to monitor, flex and direct your workers across multiple roles within the workday.

As we discovered earlier, it takes more than shared visibility to data and tracking for an enterprise to maximize the opportunity to plan or allocate and then maximize labor across functional areas, shifts, work zone and volume. The Best-in-Class companies have people, processes, technology, and superior performance as well as labor management to their credit. They are using a combination of all these tools to seize strategic advantage and contribute to superior labor resource allocations and heightened productivity, plus they’re widening the gap in overall performance.

In a series of blogs that follows we will further discuss best practices and solutions for enterprise-wide labor and workforce management (LMS/WFM).

Don’t miss my previous posts in this series – Event-Driven Replenishment and Warehouse Workforce ManagementKey Capabilities Required for Omni-Channel and Direct to Consumer Fulfillment, and Omni-Channel Commerce – Event-Driven Labor and Workforce Management.

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  1. We have a lot of upside with our solutions. Many states are imposing strict tracking and reporting. Our solutions can help solve these problems.

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