Win the War for Talent with Greater Workforce Visibility

To win the war for talent, supply chain managers need visibility into labor data.

Robert O'dwyer

Today we face unprecedented workforce management challenges. The industry’s talent gap continues to grow while the pressures of today’s fast-paced, global distribution environment, seasonal fluctuations and shifting customer demands all contribute to a workforce crisis and challenge organizations’ abilities to run at a competitive pace.

To win the war for talent, supply chain managers need visibility into labor data. These insights empower organizations to identify areas of their business that lack critical skills in key positions, determine which employees are a flight risk and better understand what actions are required to improve performance and engagement.

Without these insights, organizations won’t know where to focus attention or how to optimize efforts to support their goals. It would be near impossible to fully understand the complex interactions among different staffing levels, recruiting needs, employee engagement numbers, compensation structures and other metrics that would otherwise help organizations maximize their human capital investments. Leveraging workforce data visibility makes it all possible.

Optimize your workforce, cut costs and expand capacity

Workforce visibility enabled by intelligent, integrated workforce management and HCM solutions can help supply chain organizations work smarter, better and faster in any environment. For example, intelligent software can provide an accurate snapshot of what each worker is doing at any given point in the day, helping companies maximize employee resources, reach productivity goals and better manage costs.

As the highest expense for any supply chain operation, labor can be difficult to manage, orchestrate and budget. Workforce management solutions not only offer high levels of visibility, they also provide the right mix of monitoring, reporting and performance needed to improve productivity and plan more effectively. Companies can identify labor expenditures and compare activity against both established labor standards and their own historical data, enabling supply chain managers to make more informed staffing decisions to optimize efficiencies and increase employee productivity.

Empower employees with workforce technology

Today’s workforce expects on-demand scheduling and wants to self-select which shifts they pick up, when they need days off from work, or swap a shift with co-workers without having to use a personal day off. They expect these actions to be easy, intuitive, and accessible via a smartphone or tablet, from anywhere. Tomorrow’s employees will not only expect this type of user experience, they’ll assume you already have it in place.

Many companies are wondering how to recruit and engage Millennial and Gen Z workers, and technology is a key factor when attracting skilled talent in today’s market. Beyond simplifying routine tasks and empowering employees to work their way, workforce management technology has the capacity to help supply chain organizations develop processes that are more oriented toward a better employee experience. Using open scheduling, for example, employees are working shifts that align with their preferred availability, so they get to work on time, fresh and ready to be productive. Plus, if employees feel like their com­pany cares about them and has their best interests in mind, then they’re more apt to be engaged, interested and productive at work.

Transform workforce data into actionable intelligence

Armed with workforce data and using a modern platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, supply chain managers can begin to transform their data into actionable intelligence that can be used to address issues of turnover and retention.

For example, a manager looking at real-time employee attendance data may find that one forklift driver tends to call in sick repeatedly on the same day of the week but is generally reliable for all other scheduled shifts. Upon recognizing this pattern, the manager can sit down with the employee and engage in conversation around the schedule and what the issue may be. With a better understanding of the employee’s scheduling conflict, that manager may consider swapping the employee’s shift with another driver on that particular day, or possibly scheduling the shift to begin 30 minutes later so the employee can make it in on time. As a result, the employee is happier and less stressed, regularly working shifts that better align with their availability.

This is the kind of real-time intelligence needed to clearly identify when and where things are or are not going well across your workforce. Leveraging the right software, the manager in this example feels empowered to be more engaged with their team and take corrective actions immediately. Actionable insights into attendance and performance trends, nonproductive hours, overtime and outliers will help your organization become more agile in responding to workforce challenges and addressing individual employee needs.

Visibility drives everything

With deep visibility into your workforce, your management staff is equipped to elevate productivity throughout the supply chain and win the war for talent. Empowered by workforce data, managers can increase employee engagement, reduce idle time, more strategically schedule or reallocate workers onto more productive tasks, verify that customers are being accurately charged based on labor costs, and ensure full compliance with labor laws. With greater visibility, you’re ultimately getting the most out of your existing workforce, successfully able to recruit new employees, and ensuring the highest possible retention levels throughout your organization.