Labor Optimization In a Global Crisis.
With widespread business closures and layoffs, it would have seemed far-fetched to think that in a global pandemic, industries are still feeling the pressures of a tight labor market. In some instances, as in warehousing, there has been a skilled labor shortage for years.
Labor optimization is not a new concept for the US jobs market. Even prior to Covid-19, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. economy has added jobs for more than eight consecutive years. However, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the labor pool for supply chain and warehousing has not changed. The stagnant labor force does not bode well for supply chain leaders given the drastic boom in demand over the recent months. Many frontline workers have not returned to work, even though the economy has bounced back and the demand for labor continues to climb.
Looking at this industry demand, some of the more critical roles in need are operations managers and supply chain planners. These employees are responsible for orchestrating all of the resources, equipment, and managing outbound volume within the four walls of the distribution center. This position would traditionally help alleviate bottlenecks and reallocate work to existing employees – a linchpin role as the logistical challenges in the supply chain continue to mount in advance of the holiday season. Unfortunately, the demand for operations managers remains unmet as labor optimization needs continue to grow. This, despite ratcheting up hiring tactics like referral bonuses, as well as sign-on bonuses, and increased pay and benefits.
Therefore, to surpass these hurdles in the labor market, companies are refocusing their efforts on adapting and aligning to the present. As companies look to train and hire as quickly as possible, many are utilizing visibility tools to reduce the stress of labor shortages within the operation. In addition, by leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the operations manager will receive guidance on what will happen in the next 1 hour, 3 hours, or by the end of the shift. CognitOps is at the forefront, helping companies by providing plain text-guided recommendations.
CognitOps can dynamically forecast and plan the operating rhythm of the building, providing guidance to resources across all areas from receiving through shipping at the right times and with the right number of people. Operations managers and team leads will spend less time analyzing spreadsheets and reports, and more time guiding their frontline workers. The applications can be configured to any operation through a digital twin and based on the company’s rules and regulations on labor staffing.
Questions that arise surrounding the company’s labor dogma may include:
- What is the recommended staffing across my functional areas to achieve the remainder of today’s SLA?
- Do I pull forward volume-based or let people leave early?
- How do I split volume between shifts and across functional areas, so that my next shift can start out productive?
Answering and providing recommendations to these key questions will not only optimize and uplift the existing warehouse associates, but will allow operations managers to lead their employees and empower them to perform better with data-driven guidance. This will shift the focus to answering more qualitative questions such as:
- How can I improve employee retention?
- What incentive programs can I implement?
- How can we improve the safety and well-being of our employees?
As the current pandemic continues to bring fear to the workforce in returning to the office, it is more important than ever to have tools to provide real-time visibility, predictive analytics, and prescriptive guidance on how to run the operation effectively and efficiently. As complexity continues to grow within and outside of the four walls, CognitOps is committed to being there to help companies build a strong backbone in operations management.
Find the resiliency your operation needs with CognitOps. Get in touch here.