Infor has announced general availability of Infor SCM Labour Management, a new, integrated warehouse and labour management solution that provides real-time workforce performance feedback to help improve warehouse operations and reduce labour costs.
Labour Management extends the capabilities of Infor SCM Warehouse Management to manage all aspects of labour in the warehouse, from planning to tracking and reporting.
Gavin Kilfoil, sales director of Softworx, says that the Infor SCM Labour Management solution will be of great value to any supply chain operations, especially in South Africa. “Labour management in South Africa is at least as difficult, if not more difficult than anywhere else in the world. This announcement therefore adds another valuable component to the already extensive Infor supply chain offerings."
Labour costs are typically the largest expense in the warehouse, and in many operations, such as third party logistics providers, it can account for up to 50 percent of a warehouse’s total operating costs. Many companies plan for and track workforce schedules and actuals through spreadsheets, a manual process prone to errors. This process does not generate an accurate, real-time view of tasks in the warehouse or allow management to identify inefficiencies.
Labour Management, integrated with a company’s warehouse management system, can reduce these costs up to 30% by identifying areas of high performance as well as the comparable inefficiencies.
With the fully integrated Labour Management, operations can now pinpoint unproductive time, such as idle time between tasks, meetings and repair work. Direct activities are also tracked, in which all users can be measured against expected standards, and each other, to prove and showcase good performance, while also identifying areas for improvement and corrective action.
“You cannot improve what you cannot measure,” says Mark Humphlett, director supply chain: global solutions marketing at Infor. “The warehouse has traditionally been an area of high costs and companies have not had visibility into the labour productivity that drives warehouse operations. Infor SCM Labour Management provides a simple, graphical way to direct, track, measure, and report employee productivity. This gives you a better understanding where labour time is being used, where productivity could be improved, and places control of warehouse labour in the hands of the company.”
Labour Management provides realtime monitoring of performance feedback against established labour standards. One way to capture this information is via a user’s radio frequency (RF) device on a task-by-task basis. For example, the solution identifies the time required for an employee to perform a task, or tasks, associated with a pick, putaway or other operation, and compares that to the company’s established standard. Labour Management will report to the user’s RF device in real time how they are performing their tasks throughout the day. Previously, this information was only available during shift changes or breaks. Now, management can make changes in real time and can implement performance improvements dynamically.
The new Labour Management solution’s flexibility reduces deployment time and in-use complexity. Companies have the option of deploying discrete engineered labour standards or the option to use reasonable expectancies if one wants to reduce the time and investment required to establish engineered standards. Deployment time is also reduced by leveraging the visualisation of the solution to get a picture of the warehouse, the locations, the equipment and flows associated with specific labour tasks.
Deployment time is further reduced by leveraging the Labour Management visual data validation tools. An interactive warehouse viewer renders a two-dimensional drawing of the warehouse locations based upon the xyz location coordinates. Users are able to interactively select origin and destination locations from the visual warehouse map, and specify a labour task type and an equipment type.
Based upon these selections, the warehouse viewer then visually renders the travel path and travel distance based upon the warehouse and labour management configuration. This visual representation of the labour task allows the user to easily validate the configuration data, saving time during the initial data setup phase. An additional benefit is ensuring the accuracy of the data. Accurate data setup prevents potentially costly mistakes in warehouse operations where employees are compensated based upon their performance against established labour standards.
With the labour scheduling functionality of Labour Management, managers are able to develop and execute tactical labour plans that balance labour needs across the facility based upon actual labour demand. Labour scheduling takes into account expected workload, operational throughput standards, user details, and work schedules; and provides managers with a graphical schedule tool to finalise schedules down to the specific user, role and work zone level.
“Businesses are looking for ways to maintain a competitive advantage, maintain profit margins, and specifically better utilise labour resources, adds Humphlett. "Infor’s Labour Management can help drive these initiatives on a consistent basis across your warehouse enterprise.”