Labor shortages are the top threat to warehouse operations in 2022. Read on to see how you can combat them.
A recent headline grabbed my attention, “America’s labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic”.
For those of us working in warehousing, it certainly feels that way.
Employers are raising standard pay, offering more flexible schedules and other incentives, but is there more they can do?
And is there an end in sight?
Three causes for the current labor shortages
Current labor market problems have a lot to do with COVID, but several root causes predate the pandemic and add to the challenges warehousing leaders are facing:
#1 An immigration slowdown that began during the Trump administration, combined with Covid restrictions, has resulted in about two million fewer working-age immigrants reducing the available amount of warehousing labor and giving workers more choice with whom they choose to work.
#2 Between January 2020 and October 2021, more than 3.3 million people retired; this number exceeded pre-pandemic expectations. This is impactful because a tremendous amount of “tribal knowledge” was lost when experienced warehouse personnel retired. In some cases, it forced the wrong person into the right seat because of the unexpected vacancy.
#3 About 1.5 million fewer mothers of school-age kids are actively working compared with pre-pandemic times. The impact is to businesses with seasonality volume or weather, assortment, and other factors. Warehouses now must figure out how to flex during these peak times, without the availability of mothers that worked around school schedules.
Even with these challenges, economists are hopeful that when it becomes safer to return to work, more Americans will do so, but if your job is running a warehouse today, you cannot afford to wait for the trend to reverse itself. Now is the time to implement a Labor Management Program that positions you as an employer of choice and allows you to predict and manage your workforce in real-time.
How can ProTrack Labor Management System help attract and keep employees?
TZA has been working hard on updates to our ProTrack Labor Management System to ensure our customers can hire and retain the talent they need to run successful operations. By supplying enhanced performance visibility, motivational tools, and ways to better plan, execute and incent your workforce, you will be ready to face any disruptions that come your way.
Highlights for 2022 include:
Enhanced Business Intelligence Dashboards
How do you figure out where to focus your team’s efforts in creating a fair, sustainable, and rewarding performance culture? By collecting and managing through KPIs.
Everyone has data, but not everyone knows how to review or use it. Complex Excel spreadsheets and relentless formulas interpret data to business insights difficult and time-consuming. Business Intelligence Dashboards use graphical representation of information and complex data in easy-to-understand ways, allowing decision-makers to review essential patterns, trends, and anomalies.
Data visualizations reveal previously hidden trends, actionable data and gap intelligence, kick-starting exchanges from all business areas leading to more significant discoveries for your warehouse flow. ProTrack, with 30 years of experience, has pre-configured Business Intelligence Dashboards that enable an immediate benefit from your key performance indicators (KPI). ProTrack B.I. has the flexibility to analyze what matters to you without the need for third-party tools or developer resources.
Updated Production Boards and Gamification Capabilities
Motivation tools and rewards are a large part of becoming an “Employer of Choice.” Synchronizing your Labor Management Systems with sophisticated production boards allows for real-time announcements, recognition, and competition. ProTrack Production Boards are pre-configured out of the box. They include specific messaging and data by department and function within a facility. They can be set up for central viewing by all associates to keep them informed with important messages. With production boards in place, management can get a quick read on daily operations and decide where things stand and adjust, as necessary. Gamification takes things a step further by promoting employee engagement.
One survey showed that 88% of employees were more engaged after gamification was introduced in their warehouse.
(Spinify, 2020). Another shows that Gamification enhances employee productivity up to 50% and employee engagement by 60% (eLearning Learning).
With the latest version of ProTrack, customers are taking productivity intel from the ‘backroom’ to the floor via branded Gamification. Reports no longer need to be run to the floor as performance metrics are readily available directly via production boards every two hours. The highest performers are recognized, and overall employee retention increases.
Enhanced Employee Kiosk Functionality
How can we capture all labor activity in a way that promotes fairness and rewards effort? WMS and other host systems do not track all activity. Employee kiosks ease the complexity of the daily punch-in process and can supply updates to employees on current performance against set metrics. They also streamline supervisor tasks by allowing resources to self-declare delays or other time events affecting the process.
New ProTrack Kiosk functionality enables employees to access kiosks across multiple facilities via the Employee Security Screens.
Managers configure a home facility for each associate and choose added authorized facilities and roles. This flexibility is critical when you are short-staffed and need to move resources based on real-time demand.
Improved Labor Planning
Labor planning is an essential tool for managers to understand the skills and size of the workforce needed. It also ensures they receive correct data throughout the day and correct course in real-time due to unexpected changes. ProTrack utilizes every employee’s specific performance result against planned volume, by activity, to accurately decide not only the number of employees needed to complete the work but the specific named employees who should be assigned.
A recent ProTrack B.I. technology update while collaborating closely with our customers, achieves best labor planning and coaching, including the ability to create accountability plans that detail observations and discipline plans while detailing specific steps for improvement. Also included is the ability to use defined learning curves by activity.
Navigate Labor Shortages with a Labor Management System.
In today’s warehousing environment, there is a high pressure to keep products flowing out the door and into customers’ hands. To continue to deliver in a predictable, cost-effective manner with current staffing issues, warehouse managers need real-time visibility into performance, productivity, and costs – all things a Tier 1 Labor Management System offers. Combining this with a motivational tool and more exact labor planning will supply greater success.
TZAs Cost Savings Calculator will give you an estimate of cost savings and additional ROI achievable with ProTrack B.I. and TZAs Dynamic Labor Engineering Standards.
Call TZA and speak to our Labor Management team to discuss your challenges. (800) 229-3450.