Contact us

Search
Close this search box.

Multiple Variable Standards: The Brains Behind Your Labor Management System (LMS)

Categories

Share

Multiple Variable Standards: The Brains Behind Your Labor Management System (LMS)

November 29, 2022

How to Get the Most Out of Your Labor Management System (LMS) Using Multiple Variable Standards to Impact Warehouse Output

This article first appeared in Logistics Viewpoints, in November 2022. Author: Jason Milbrandt.

You were smart enough to invest in a tier one labor management system (LMS), but is your LMS smart enough to deliver the productivity you expected?  Is your system using multiple variable standards (MVS) in your LMS? Like any intelligent system, your LMS is only as smart as the quality of content you feed it and the ability to quantify that information.

Ask yourself, are you able to gauge fluctuating factors in your warehouse, such as pick density, case sizes, slotting arrangements, and other variables? Or are you strictly measuring productivity based on cases or units per hour per worker?

The former pertains to engineered labor standards, which is just a more scientific way of saying multiple variable standards (MVS). The latter refers to a single variable standard (SVS), by which one metric, such as cases per hour, is expected to tell all.

If you’re like many LMS users, you may find the concept of MVS a bit confusing. If so, MVS is a form of work measurement designed to gauge the time it takes for a trained worker to accomplish a specific task to an acceptable level of performance. MVS uses engineered work-measurement techniques to derive fair and accurate productivity goals for warehouse workers based on variables fed from your warehouse management system (WMS). The more you dissect a warehouse task into its composite variables, the better you can test how subtle changes in a routine can create rapid improvements.

The Difference Between Single Variable Standards (SVS) and Multiple Variable Standards (MVS)

An SVS represents a static snapshot in time. You may be getting a worker to move 100 cases an hour today, but if a new line of product is introduced into the warehouse that doesn’t match the same size and weight as the cases used to set your 100-case metric, you will have to measure and input the new product data to arrive at a new performance goal. Every change in the routine requires another change in your SVS. Ad infinitum.

What’s more, because an SVS approach only accounts for one metric at a time, a host of other equally if not more important metrics are bypassed, leaving you largely in the dark. Using our cases per hour example, you would overlook travel distances involved, equipment used, or any other countless important variables involved in the task.

With an MVS, every task in your warehouse gets measured and input once. After that, regardless of what changes, your WMS has all the data it needs to inform your LMS of the expected outcomes. Work proceeds uninterrupted. You gain a running picture of performance standards in your warehouse. Your LMS suddenly becomes the smart support manager you knew it could be and serves as your platform for continuous improvement.

What to Measure

Training your LMS to be smart enough to deliver the productivity you expect can be a complex operation. Think of it like this. If your WMS is the brains behind your operation, your LMS serves as its reporter and interpreter. To operate effectively, your WMS must first learn each of your worker’s jobs in minute detail. Then, your LMS can offer intelligent assessments of warehouse activities to arrive at a fair assessment of worker output.

Give your LMS the data it needs to function optimally with multiple variable standards (MVS). That one-time investment of effort will pay dividends on your road to continuous improvement.

Related Articles

It’s time to elevate.

Discover how Open Sky Group
can help you reach new heights
of supply chain efficiency.

Jeremy Hudson

Vice President of Client Services

Jeremy’s focus is on the products and services clients need to stay competitive. Open Sky Group’s mission is to deliver technology-enabled solutions that allow our customers to achieve more while having the flexibility to adapt to change. Jeremy lives the core values and mission by bringing the best experience possible to our clients. He is an essential member of implementation teams, working alongside clients, and encouraging them to use innovation and best practices instead of customizations for success.

Jason Yantiss

Vice President of Client Services

Jason provides leadership to a variety of teams focused on implementation and integration. With 27+ years of experience holding operational and technical management roles in transportation, billing, and warehousing across a vast array of industry verticals, Jason is adept at driving multiple complex projects, understanding customer needs at all levels of the operation and providing viable solutions. Jason’s resume of 150+ implementation projects include Warehouse, Labor, Transportation, Yard Management and multiple AR/AP Freight Pay and Customer Billing systems. 

Eric McPherson

Vice President of Client Services

Mac works to oversee implementation and integration projects. A former Marine officer and military police officer, he brings over 27 years of supply chain experience, including 11 years at Blue Yonder in both delivery and service sales. Mac is a dedicated, team-oriented professional with a background in business management, professional services, customer service, and supply chain technology. His specialties include sales support, supply chain execution systems, project management, fulfillment operations, distribution operations, and GSA contracts.

Shannon Caflisch

Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Shannon is responsible for the strategy and management of all sales, business development, and marketing programs. With over 25 years of sales experience and 15 years focused in the supply chain space, Shannon focuses on building strong relationships with clients and partners and strives to deliver the right software solutions to help conquer supply chain challenges. Shannon believes in learning by listening to understand clients’ goals, struggles, and what is important to their business to build lasting, successful relationships.

Alan Prillaman

Senior Vice President of Client Services

As Senior VP of Client Services, Alan oversees all consulting services and account management at Open Sky Group. Possessing over 30 years of combined industry and consulting experience, Alan leverages his unique background in IT, logistics, quality management systems, manufacturing and distribution operations, and facility and strategic account management to provide clients with creative resolutions to complex challenges. His core philosophy and passion are to deliver tangible value for and establish long-term trusted partnerships with our clients.

Mike Noble

Senior Vice President of Technology

As Senior Vice President of Technology, Mike leads Open Sky Group’s Managed Services, Software Services, Infrastructure Services, and Information Technology teams bringing 35+ years of experience in Supply Chain Execution and Information Technology. Mike and his teams ensure we maintain the highest levels of customer service in a secure and reliable environment, constantly reviewing and evaluating new technologies, their appropriateness and applicability so we can safely and securely transact our own business – and help our clients accomplish the same.

Chad Kramlich

CEO

Joining Open Sky Group in 2015, Chad, served as Chief Revenue Officer for three years prior to his appointment to CEO in 2022. With over 25 years of experience delivering results for high-growth software and consulting organizations, Chad is leveraging his background in building efficient and effective implementation teams, establishing high-impact services operations, achieving revenue growth, and deepening executive-level client relations to help propel Open Sky Group into a very successful future.

Skip to content