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warehouse labor management efficiency

Tips to Improve Warehouse Labor Management Efficiency

Labor management is a complex topic in supply chain management. Warehouse labor management efficiency metrics reveal how well your workers perform against their responsibilities. In other words, are your workers successfully justifying their costs? Labor costs account for 50-70% of the average warehouse budget, reports Logistics Management. Therefore, supply chain leaders need to understand the challenges associated with decreased labor efficiency, the benefits of improve labor management and follow a few tips to drive it into turbo-power.

Challenges Associated with Decreased Warehouse Labor Management Efficiency

To avoid ambiguity, break the challenges of labor management efficiency into two parts. Warehouse labor management efficiency is impacted by the style in which labor is managed. Decreased warehouse labor productivity and efficiency are associated with a failure to recognize problems that exist. Although your organization may be happy with maintaining the status quo, the chances are good that your workers see it differently. Consider these four scenarios that adversely affect warehouse labor management efficiency.

  • Subpar wave planning. The idea of wave planning in the warehouse is nothing new. It refers to the process of holding orders as they come in and then releasing the order details to workers (namely pickers) in batches. This batch-style method of managing the warehouse creates lulls and peaks in worker performance and efficiency. At some point, workers will be standing around. Meanwhile, peak season volume will push your workers to their brink, and you will face the high costs associated with hiring a new group of employees.
  • Poor labor allocation. Speaking of waves, the inability to successfully determine how many employees will be needed for a given time will result in a dramatic deviation from warehouse labor management productivity. In other words, the distinction between peaks and lulls will become more dramatic. As a result, warehouse labor costs will increase. At the same time, customer service levels decrease resulting from tired, inefficient workers that make mistakes.
  • Inability to divide waves among individual workers. While on the topic of waves, it is also essential to consider how orders that come into the facility are distributed amongst individual employees. Directly requesting all workers take a large batch of orders sounds excellent, but it will result in redundancies and even more errors in order fulfillment.
  • Employee pushback. Making changes to labor management can be hard, and employees will push back against almost anything. This is one of the biggest challenges that warehouse managers and supply chain leaders face.

Benefits of Improved Labor Management

The benefits of improved labor management are easy to understand. Order accuracy rates increase. Cycle times decrease. Inventory carrying costs decrease as a result of improved employee performance. Essentially, cost savings from one part of the warehouse translate into the ability to invest in other areas, enabling just-in-time inventory management. Therefore, labor management improvements directly contribute to benefits in all other aspects of your warehouse.

How to Increase Labor Management Efficiency

Supply chain leaders that need to increase labor management efficiency should follow these steps for success:

  1. Encourage customer experience ownership.
  2. Enable real-time communication and collaboration.
  3. Automate inventory tracking, using lean inventory principles.
  4. Leverage voice-enabled solutions.
  5. Monitor employee performance; provide constructive criticism.
  6. Reward positive performance.
  7. Consider using wearables.
  8. Deploy a workflow-based WMS.
  9. Implement waveless picking strategies.
  10. Provide ample training.
  11. Be sensitive.
  12. Lead by example.

Boost Labor Management with the Right, Integrated Systems

Regardless of what improvements are made in your organization, labor management must top the list. Warehouse labor management efficiency depends on your ability to interact with workers and give them the tools and resources needed to improve. Shortcomings in your labor management style will result in decreased efficiency and subpar performance. As a result, supply chain leaders should follow the tips and apply them accordingly. Unlock the secrets to better warehouse labor management efficiency by contacting Veridian online today.

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