By Jeremy Hudson, July 30, 2019
Workforce Management System Benefits – What are they and how does it work with other systems?
A company’s workforce is their greatest asset – it is also their largest expense. As we learned in Part 1 of this series, automation can help by simplifying the work and making processes more efficient, however, turnover is still a challenge. What can you do?
In Part 2 of this three part series, discover the Workforce Management system benefits and how it can help you offer your workers flexibility and give you the visibility you crave. It will even help with compliance and safety issues.
Workforce Management System Benefits in the Warehouse
While a warehouse worker might leave for a job down the street for .25/hour more, pay isn’t even in the top five things a warehouse worker is looking for in a job. Workers are looking for flexibility in scheduling and feedback. Self-service is becoming huge in the warehouse world. When it comes to your search for a Workforce Management system (WFM) to manage those workers – flexibility, visibility and feedback capabilities are critical. Here’s an example of a common situation:
– Two people from receiving call in sick. That’s going to affect put-away and picking and outbound and orders. Being able to fill those slots by posting those schedules that are open, allowing qualified workers to select the now open slots, giving people the flexibility to easily choose and view things on their devices, relieving pressure from your managers who have 50 other things to do. All by giving your workers an app to interact with to handle scheduling.
Where does a Workforce Management system fit in with other systems?
Workforce Management (WFM) is not new. It came from retail and food service where it was only connected to a point of sale system. In the warehouse we can use data feeds from many more sources including HR, WMS and Labor systems.
Data feeds from HR
Data from an HR system – who your employees are, the skills they have, etc. can help you determine exactly how much an employee is costing from the workforce management system and that can be fed back into payroll.
Data from WMS and Labor systems
WMS and Labor systems can take information from and feed information back into the workforce management system. With that data pool, you’ll know exactly how many case picks, each picks, kits, work orders an individual did last week, last month, last year for Christmas. You’ll know what the peak season was and what the buyer trends were. You get all of that data and then you can make intelligent decisions using that data. It can help you predict how many people you need in your warehouse. It can take historical information and say, “Yes this data lines up.” Or, No, this doesn’t line up.” and then adjust those shifts and availability accordingly. Workforce management answers how many people are needed in the warehouse. In addition to that, you can leverage your Labor software. For example, a labor system is useful for grading your users. Labor says “your users are performing well at 104% or they’re not doing so well at 60%.” Workforce management can help you look at that Labor data and say, “Who do I want to give these shifts to? I’ve got 5 shifts open, I need 5 extra pickers. I’ll start with my A performers and then if I can’t fill the shifts after an hour with my A’s, I’ll go to my B Performers.” Workforce management allows you to leverage a lot of intelligence and then use that to offer flexibility and empowerment at the user level.
It’s a significant change for us in the warehouse and it’s taking staffing to the next level. Feeding information to and from WMS, LMS and HR systems and being able to make intelligent choices regarding staffing your warehouse. How much is that worth to your business?
Are you subject to SOX audits? Workforce management gives you a data trend/data audit to turn over to SOX auditing to show that all interactions have resourceful reasons – some are systematic reasons, changes within management, etc.
Workforce Management System in action
Here’s what might happen when you put workforce management to work for you:
An employee reports in sick. A manager can fill that shift systematically by pooling “preferred” or certain skill set workers who are available and solicit them for the open shift, employees accept or refuse via app. Employee requests for vacation, accruals for vacation time, hours worked – all done from an app and all visible within that app.
Compliance and safety
Workforce Management safeguards compliance for the manager when it comes to scheduling, particularly with compliance to international labor laws as well as to unions, individual states, countries, etc. Managers are over-taxed with compliance and safety related issues. You want a platform to take into account whether or not you have the right people with the right skills. You want a system that takes your user roles and responsibilities, as well as safety into account when scheduling.
Staffing agencies send bodies but they don’t really care about the productivity of those individuals. You need a platform that takes everything into account so that you can manage the staff that comes to work for you. Right people. Right roles. Right time. Right conditions.
While workforce management is not new, it could be the solution to the warehouse workforce challenges that your company is facing. It integrates with HR and Labor software, while maintaining compliance and safety information to help companies manage employee schedules to local labor laws and other applicable regulations. This tool benefits employees, making them feel flexible and empowered, while assisting the company with forecasting, visibility and employee retention. Learn about workforce management’s impact on the future of the warehouse industry in Part 3.