- Expanded use of mobile devices will enable supervisors to act on LMS insights in real time
- AI will bolster the data analytics capabilities of the LMS and provide actionable suggestions for improved labor management
- As automation increases, warehouse operators will see importance of an LMS in optimizing performance of remaining employees who work with the technology
As we move into 2024, TZA anticipates an accelerating pace of innovative technology adoption in the labor management space. These rapid changes likely will significantly impact the utilization and efficiencies associated with the human workforce. Here are the top five labor management trends TZA projects for 2024, as well as how warehouse operators can best take advantage of them.
- Applying LMS insights in real time. The expanded use of mobile devices for labor management will help warehouse managers track worker productivity and task execution as it occurs. Real-time utilization of the labor management system (LMS) will expand in 2024 as warehouses look for ways to improve efficiency, productivity and employee engagement while reacting to alerts before they become major problems.
As supervisors receive more actionable real-time alerts from the LMS on handheld devices, they can engage associates on the floor as the work is being done. By addressing performance issues in the moment, supervisors can increase productivity and keep small problems from turning into big ones.
- Adding more robust training support to LMS tools. Warehouse managers will increase spending on employee training and associate coaching/development programs. While some of that training will be done by outside consultants, the best, most cost-effective place to start is by leveraging the LMS to provide training observations and regular coaching insights to increase associates’ knowledge acquisition and retention.
Increasingly, LMS providers are adding training modules and content to their offerings, enabling warehouse managers to fully integrate LMS data into computer-based, self-directed training and coaching programs without having to build them from scratch. As the LMS provides more robust training support, that evolution will help associates stay up to date on the latest technologies and practices even while fostering a more engaged and productive workforce.
- Improving LMS data analytics capabilities with AI. Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities will be added to the LMS, improving analytics and labor planning process, the maintenance and refinement of labor standards, inventory slotting, and human task management. Managers will begin receiving real-time alerts from the LMS to act, with AI-suggested directions for resolving issues. For instance, if the data shows systemic productivity issues in the first hour of shifts, the AI-powered LMS will offer concrete steps to address those issues based on an analysis of the specific operation.
The smarter use of data analytics will improve supply chain, facility, team, and individual performance. As AI becomes embedded in LMS business intelligence tools, supervisors will be able to focus more on events that require intervention. In addition, an LMS with integrated AI capabilities will be able to find potential efficiencies in the labor planning process and inventory slotting.
- Recognizing an LMS’ critical role in automated warehouses. When warehouses adopt automation and robotics, they typically eliminate work hours in the process. But optimizing the performance of the remaining associates is more important than ever. That is because maximizing the value of automation depends on humans working up to the capacity level of the automation. As a result, there will be growing recognition of the synergy between an LMS and successfully deploying automation.
While automation and robotics improves overall warehouse productivity and throughput, achieving peak performance requires companies to optimize their remaining people’s performance via an LMS-enabled labor management program (LMP). An LMP that includes incentive-based pay programs, rewards and recognition as part of a performance-based cultural transformation will be seen as a key driver of employee retention in increasingly automated warehouses. Warehouse operators also will expand their use of advanced labor planning and dynamic labor scheduling as part of the LMP.
- Leveraging the LMS to improve worker safety and ergonomics. Warehouse workers are at risk of injury due to repetitive tasks, lifting heavy objects and working near machinery. Warehouse managers will increasingly leverage LMS labor standards, and performance data to enhance worker safety. That will be in addition to investing in ergonomic equipment, providing training on safe lifting techniques, and implementing fatigue-management programs. The best part of this trend: capabilities already exist in the traditional LMS to help warehouses monitor, measure and improve safety.
Operations can easily add safety-related components to their user-defined employee observation programs and ask safety questions during employee interviews. That information can then be pulled into their production dashboards. Soon, AI-powered LMS tools will make suggestions for safety improvements.
These are just a few of the top warehouse labor management trends for 2024. As the warehouse industry continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative labor management solutions emerge in the years to come, all supported by a best-in-class LMS.
To learn more about the latest LMS innovations that can improve warehouse retention and productivity while reducing labor costs, please contact TZA to set up an introductory call.
Author: John Seidl, Director, Partner Programs, TZA
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