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4 Ways Data Makes Labor Management Easier

Man and woman evaluate warehouse inventory

4 Ways Data Makes Labor Management Easier

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” — Peter Drucker

In today’s demanding, pandemic-driven distribution and fulfillment (D&F) environment, balancing the need to safeguard the health and well-being of essential employees while ensuring optimal warehouse productivity rates to keep up with the exponential increase in e-commerce demands has become a dual challenge for distribution center (DC) managers. Yet with a single solution — labor management software (LMS) — both objectives can be accomplished harmoniously, ensuring optimal levels of throughput and safety.

That’s because an LMS is designed with Drucker’s aforementioned principle in mind. Modern LMS platforms are based on engineered standards that provide a performance baseline upon which DC managers can monitor and measure key performance indicators (KPIs), thereby becoming better equipped to make informed management decisions to influence employee behaviors in both areas. Here are four areas measured by an LMS that address current workforce challenges:

  1. Compliance with safety protocols. As workers attempt to incorporate new safety protocols — social distancing, device check-in/check-out, adequate timing between shifts, wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) — into their standard processes, the additional time required to do so could potentially detract from their productivity targets. By analyzing actual performance data before and after new safety protocols are introduced and comparing it to the engineered standards, DC managers can better understand the potential impact, then adjust performance goals to ensure they are realistic and achievable.
  2. Availability of labor. LMS performance data enables DC managers to achieve an ideal balance of workforce resources and safety precautions. For operations looking to adapt traditional work schedules by staggering additional, smaller shifts, an LMS gives managers the insights to staff each shift with the proficiency and skill levels needed to meet anticipated demand expectations — all while ensuring that workers can comply with requisite safety protocols.
  3. Contingency planning. Using an LMS, DC managers can proactively develop workforce staffing models that address the potential for labor outages and make contingency plans for a variety of scenarios. While it may be impossible to plan for every uncertainty, an LMS can help DC managers better predict, prepare and understand the impacts of different staffing availability models.
  4. Contact tracing. In the event of an illness outbreak, an LMS can even serve as a supplemental contact tracing data source. With the appropriate data connections between mobile technologies and the host system, an LMS is potentially capable of keeping a comprehensive record of individual movements and activities throughout a facility. While it might not replace a formal contact tracing system, it may serve as a first line of defense for DC managers trying to mitigate an outbreak.

Manage a Safer, More Productive Workforce

With a long history of driving labor productivity and workforce cost control, LMS has also proved effective in addressing employee safety and well-being concerns. Read more in this recent On The Move article about how Honeywell Intelligrated can help your DC operations implement or expand your LMS strategy to support a healthy and productive workforce.

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