Confident Solutions for A Confident Workforce: Increase Worker Productivity and Reduce Turnover in Distribution Centers

Confident Solutions for A Confident Workforce: Increase Worker Productivity and Reduce Turnover in Distribution Centers

Everything Begins with Qualified Workers

As e-commerce demands grow while shipping windows shorten, the supply chain becomes more complex and the need for labor increases. Yet finding and retaining qualified labor has become the biggest challenge for many distribution center (DC) leaders. To address this challenge, many DCs are taking steps towards developing and attracting new talent.

The bottom line is that your organization’s success depends on the well-being of your workforce. Learn how to address key labor issues to create a safer and more productive workforce. 3

Labor Shortage Reaching A Critical Point

Distribution center (DC) workforces are aging. Fifteen percent of the DC workforce is composed of supervisors and managers, and 25 percent are older than 55. Yet millennials either lack or have a poor perception of logistic careers and are becoming increasingly difficult to recruit. Add to this a lack of qualified and experienced labor — along with unemployment rates that are at an all-time low,1 and the result is a much-diminished labor pool.

Better Workers Require Better Pay

The labor shortage also impacts costs. DC workers are highly sought after and subsequently require higher pay, which can significantly increase operating costs. For example, in a typical warehouse with 500 employees, increasing average hourly wages by only $1 would raise annual labor costs by more than $1 million USD.2

These incessant demands for higher wages from DC workers have serious cost implications and put additional pressure on DCs that are already cash-strapped. Combined with a diminishing workforce, high labor costs make it all the more critical that you focus on training — because retaining your valuable workforce begins with their well-being.

Better Training. Better Workers

High turnover rates currently plague distribution centers. Between 2016 and 2017 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an increase of 25,000 warehouse resignations. This turnover, along with increasing demand, creates a continuous influx of new workers.

Additionally, seasonal demand surges — such as the holidays — force many distribution centers to bring in part-time labor. From fresh and energized to less than enthusiastic, this temporary workforce is extremely variable.

No matter the type of worker, transforming your workforce into productive employees begins with quick and accurate training processes.

Key takeaways:

  • Help your employees acquire and develop skill sets that empower them to undertake a great variety of work. This makes them flexible with diverse demands and engaged while completing different tasks.
  • Think about training goals before you start, so you can measure success and ensure you can meet your larger goals. Research shows that 40 percent of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year.
  • Keep in mind that proper training can increase the confidence of your employees and can help reduce their stress.

At Honeywell, there are way to help you worker work smarter.  For example:

Guided Work Solutions. This device-independent software solution supports Android and iOS and empowers workers through audio instruction on various workflow tasks — from picking and packing to stocking and replenishment. Compatible with a range of hardware options, including rugged and ergonomic mobile computers and headset options, Guided Work Solutions enhances productivity, accuracy and safety.

Nearly one million DC workers use Honeywell voice-directed solutions to achieve:

  • 35% Productivity Gains
  • 50% Error Reductions
  • 30% Fewer Safety Incidents

Mobility Edge. By ensuring a common user experience across your mobile enterprise, this unified mobile computing platform, for hardware and software, helps optimize business and worker performance. All it takes is one easy certification to deploy it across all your devices.

Inspire Confidence in Your Workforce.

A recent study indicated 52 percent of working adults believe that businesses are not doing enough to support the physical and mental well-being of their employees — across travel, transport and logistics industries. These workers are subject to a unique set of risks, including shift work, long working hours, isolation, fatigue or sleep deprivation, and more.

Worker well-being is critical to improving workforce productivity efficiency, and reducing attrition. That’s why Honeywell understands ergonomics and well-being are not simply a matter of comfort and happiness, but also employee security, safety and retention.

DC managers need to focus on relieving workers of error-prone, repetitive tasks and reduce wasted time — ultimately freeing labor to address more rewarding and high-value jobs.

Good ergonomic design can prevent injuries, for example. The equipment your workers use daily and repetitively must be comfortable and should enhance how they execute their tasks. Honeywell equipment is designed with the individual worker in mind. Our equipment is lightweight, intuitive and ergonomic. For example, our 8680i Wearable Mini-Mobile is worn on one hand with a clear, two-button interface that can improve scanning times by five seconds per transaction.

Confident Workers Delivery Exceptional Results

Both training and worker well-being have a great impact on employee productivity. However, with an increasingly competitive environment — not to mention SKU complexity — the right hardware and software products can further enhance efficiency. The following are the some of the Honeywell solutions that Distribution Centers rely upon to achieve their desired results.

  • Vehicle-mounted computers provide workers with real-time information and instruction to help optimize complex workflows.
  • Rugged handheld Granit scanners such as 1980i with a VM1A improve productivity with fast, accurate scanning, plus efficient task management and damage recording.
  • Wearable computers, like Honeywell’s 8680i Wearable Mini Mobile Computer , free up hands and shave up to five seconds on workflows.
  • Honeywell’s Operational Intelligence  software tracks mobile assets, ensuring devices remain up to date, operational and properly allocated.

Success Begins with A Strong Partnership

Honeywell customizes solutions by working closely with clients to identify their unique needs, challenges and goals. Along with offering more than 100 years of industry expertise, our team of innovators solves real problems and drives breakthrough results through better data insights and connected technology.

Learn more at about Honeywell solutions for the Distribution Center or call a knowledgeable representative at 1-800-934-3163.


1 https://www.supplychainbrain.com/articles/27549-strategies-for-todays-distribution-center-labor-challenges

2 https://marketplace.honeywell.com/apps/228377/guided-work-solutions-for-sap-businessone#!overview

Barry J. Ewell

Barry J. Ewell is a Senior Content Marketing Communications Specialist for Honeywell Industrial Automation. He has been researching and writing on supply chain topics since 1991.