When looking to optimize the operations in a warehouse, one of the critical elements that need to be addressed is how to institute warehouse labor planning. This may sound foreign, but it has a major impact that cannot be understated. When the labor planning is not done correctly, you may find yourself having too many or too few warehousing employees. Both of these states increase the chances of the business failing either due to overspending or burnout of employees. Having too few employees also increases staff turnover rates which increases the cost of getting more staff to replace the ones that have left, as well as the cost of training them. In addition to working with professional staffing firms to develop custom warehouse labor planning policies, there are other best practices you should consider including:
Use Forecasting to Handle Volatility
Warehouse labor needs can fluctuate wildly due to many events such as holidays. This creates a volatility in the labor needed to keep the warehouse running smoothly. It is critical to develop a method of forecasting when the need for more labor will increase or decrease, and then use this to plan on your labor needs. For instance, you could hire temporary staff to manage the extra work when the labor demands increase during times when business is brisk. This way, you can have the exact number of staff members for the duration you need them, reducing how much you spend on them. This optimizes the bottom line on the business. In addition to seasonal trends, other things you can use to forecast labor needs include day of the week sales trends, marketing information and year to year sales information. If you are just starting out, you could consult a warehousing staffing services provider to help you develop such plans and policies as well as providing you with the staff members you need when you need them.
Listen to your Current Staff Members
Many times, warehousing staff members will give you honest opinions on labor demands if you give them the opportunity to. If they are afraid of losing their jobs, they may end up providing substandard work due to burnout and other issues, simply because of the fear. Encourage your permanent staff members to provide feedback on their experiences when working as well as suggestions on how to make labor management easier. This way, you will get the best out of them and increase business volume.
Learn about Market Standards
If you are new to warehousing, you could also consider finding out what other warehouse owners do in terms of labor management best practices. This will give you an idea of what you need to focus on. The information you get can be tailored to the specifics of your own warehouse’s needs.
Keep Assessing the Efficiency of your Best Practices
Once you have enacted best practices, you should keep tabs on the effect it has on the business. This will give you an idea of how to keep tweaking it depending on the circumstances. It can also help you use newer methods of labor planning for better effect.