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wms labor cost reductions

WMS Labor Cost Reductions: How to Reduce Costs Despite Peak Season

The peak shopping season represents the most significant opportunity for failure in managing labor. As shopping volume rises, current workers simply cannot keep up with demand. Meanwhile, the industry still suffers from a warehouse labor shortage. Due to the need to move warehouses further from urban areas, warehouse workers become even more scarce. As a result, labor availability has become a central point in making management decisions,  from building factories, through preparing for peak season, explains Supply Chain Quarterly. Fortunately, WMS labor cost reductions can help alleviate these concerns, and supply chain leaders need to know why.

The Challenges of Labor Management During Peak Season

Labor management challenges during peak season are significant. Workers may not be available in the area. Preplanned activities may lower the availability of your internal staff to work overtime. Increased e-commerce growth will undoubtedly push activity levels for 2019 higher than in 2018. This is the ironic part of the upcoming peak season. While it will be slower going than last year, it is still set to increase by 1.6%, explains Logistics Management. As a result, labor will be even more valuable.

A WMS Enables Better Labor Management

The use of a WMS enables organizations to manage better picking through shipping, as well as replenishment strategies. Since supply chain management begins with procurement, your WMS labor cost reductions must start there. Procurement technologies, including automated conveyors and put-to-light systems, can streamline the workflow for employees. As a result, labor costs decrease. Moreover, combined labor management functions, including performance measurement, help managers evaluate and encourage growth among employees.

How to Maximize WMS Labor Cost Reductions

Achieving WMS
labor cost reductions should follow a few critical practices, including:

  • Connecting your WMS with existing scheduling and labor management systems. This may require integration beyond the off-the-shelf capabilities of the software vendor.
  • Using new technologies, including wearables, to eliminate hassle during picking and fulfillment. Voice and vision picking technology can help workers reduce inaccuracies in orders and speed time to market.
  • Considering your whole supply chain. This includes distribution centers, brick-and-mortar stores, buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS), and business-to-business opportunities. By building omnichannel communications and collaboration strategies, supply chain leaders can reduce labor costs across the spectrum. Thus, higher profitability allows for better pay and lowers turnover rates during the busy season. 
  • Automating as many processes as possible. Automation naturally reduces labor costs and simultaneously increases accuracy, notes  Modern Materials Handling. Moreover, automation is the natural precursor to the deployment of robotics and artificial intelligence within your supply chain.
  • Starting from the ground up by implementing and integrating your WMS with all existing supply chain systems. Integration is a critical component of effective labor management as unreviewed, and untapped data lacks value.

Augment Your Peak Season Labor Strategy With the Right Systems and Partner

Your peak season labor strategy must include a strong focus
on proactive management of your workers. Remember your company’s reputation hangs in the balance, and since your employees may also be your customers, failure to treat employees fairly and properly will only increase risk. More importantly, the demand for faster, better performance could easily backfire, so it is essential to back up any assertions with facts and data.

Strategizing for peak season is a common need among large-scale businesses, including the big three carriers in the U.S., and it sets the tone for understanding underlying demand and improving performance. Of course, WMS labor cost reductions will also depend on your marketability and basic business processes that fall outside of the warehouse. The warehouse is the virtual store. Ensure your customers get what they want, and build a sustainable labor pool to meet whatever challenges come your way this peak season by requesting a consultation with Veridian online now.

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