Increase Workforce Safety and Productivity With Labor Management Software
March 25, 2021
Pre-COVID, attracting and retaining a qualified workforce regularly sat atop nearly every list of challenges faced by distribution center (DC) operators. These resourcing issues became even more acute after March 2020, as competition for available labor increased in lockstep with exponential spikes in e-commerce adoption.
Simultaneously, many DCs faced the types of demand peaks historically reserved solely for seasonal holidays. The usual solution — staff up with temporary labor by as much as 20 percent— was stymied by the increased risk of introducing illness outbreaks from outside resources. Further, for the safety of their essential employees, DC operators also implemented new protocols for contact tracing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing. Yet balancing all these constraints while still maintaining productivity remained a challenge.
The solution? Labor management software (LMS).
With a proven history of helping organizations optimize labor costs through increased visibility and predictive planning, LMS platforms can also incentivize employee engagement, lower attrition rates, shorten fulfillment time frames, and reduce direct labor spend. As for 2020’s labor management challenges, LMS has further demonstrated its ability to address employee safety and well-being concerns.
How LMS Enhances Productivity and Safety
By leveraging three fundamental LMS capabilities that have been traditionally focused on workforce productivity, the same platform has proven effective in increasing worker safety. Here’s how:
- Influencing employee behaviors. Beyond the usual pay-for-performance incentives, an LMS can monitor compliance with safety protocols, including distance between pick locations, adequate time spent between shift transitions, or use of PPE. The LMS documents infractions and assigns variables to help determine bonus awards or opportunities to improve. Over time, these incentives can help to engrain desired behaviors into the workplace culture, creating a self-regulating mechanism for continuous productivity and safety improvements.
- Tracking results. LMS platforms are based on engineered standards that provide a performance baseline upon which DC managers can monitor and measure key performance indicators (KPIs). With LMS performance data, DC managers can better assess the impacts of safety protocols on individual actions, while giving employees productivity goals that are realistic and achievable within the health safeguarding standards.
- Driving employee engagement. LMS ensures that employees are treated fairly and given achievable performance expectations within the constraints created by the new safety protocols. Further, any associates who recognize that putting forth extra effort to exceed baseline standards will be evaluated objectively — and rewarded commensurately — may be more willing to do so. In addition, LMS can help DC managers to identify individuals who are struggling to meet performance targets or adapt to new safety measures. This allows for quick intervention via personalized coaching sessions.
Empower Your Safer, More Productive Workforce
A confident, healthy and empowered workforce is essential for creating a DC culture that is both productive and resilient to today’s market uncertainties. In this recent On The Move article, learn how Honeywell Intelligrated can help your DC operations maintain peak productivity levels while fostering a culture of engagement in which your employees can thrive today and in the future.
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