Three workforce demands to consider when comparing WMS
Today’s technology looks significantly different than that of the 1990s, and it’ll look different from the workforces of these periods too. We often want a system that we can set up and start using now that will have no foreseeable expiration date. While that is important, it can miss the business need to ensuring that your systems match your teams.
A disconnect between workforce and the tools they use can lead to efficiency declines, revenue declines, and high turnover rates. In the warehouse, every slowdown harms your business. So, here are three things to keep in mind when you’re looking at the wide range of WMS options available to businesses of any size.
Knowledge and expertise with tech
Younger workers are more familiar with technology in many cases, but that technology has a specific look and feel to it. You’ve seen it when you go to the grocery store and all the point-of-sale systems look the same. Your work PC and home PC, phones, email, and much more all build off a familiar user experience and interface.
Consider that UX and UI when looking at a WMS. Does the system match what your staff is used to seeing? Is it intuitive enough for older and younger workers to feel comfortable with the new system? Does it build off your existing efforts or is it very different?
If your WMS doesn’t match the expertise of your workforce, you’ll either need to hire new members or spend a significant amount on training. Your staff’s capabilities to use the platform are just as important as the capabilities of the platform itself.
A changing workforce
There are thousands of articles that talk about the generational differences and similarities of each group you’ll see in business, including within your warehouse teams. The workforce is moving younger in many places, but the jump is creating knowledge and experience gaps in an era where middle management was often shown the door.
Take time to determine information and experience gaps in your team. Think beyond tech and look for relationship skills, leadership, and more. Next, look for a WMS that can help support some of this work as you need new employees to step up into new roles.
Can your WMS forecast trends and make recommendations to increase inventory levels based on historical, seasonal trends in your operations? Does it have a platform that studies the routes your team takes and makes suggestions to improve efficiency?
Technology can’t fill a skills gap in many cases, but there are opportunities for it to provide the data and decision-making support your new management or team leaders need to feel confident in their decisions.
Individual-level tracking and metrics
There are opportunities to use your WMS to achieve other company goals and meet a variety of workforce needs. Tracking and reporting on the activities of individuals and teams in your warehouse is a smart place to start.
Reports can help you tie recognition with facility performance on an individual or group level and show your staff how they are impacting your bottom line. It’s an effective way to encourage people to perform better and to know how to reward them when they reach new heights.
You’ll also see areas where someone or some team may be struggling, and you can use that data to determine the best training opportunities to keep valuable staff satisfied and improve operations.
Labor costs pressures are expected to continue to drive warehouse innovation and changes. The smarter your WMS, the better you’ll be able to respond to pressure with the right move for your company.
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