Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Software & Automation Can Alleviate Warehouse Labor Shortage

Posted by Neil O'Connell, SVP Technology, Innovation, & Product Development on Mar 21, 2019 4:00:00 AM

Strong economic and e-commerce growth are positive things for your warehouse enterprise. But with a scarcity of skilled labor, the complexities of order fulfillment, and ongoing safety challenges, the path to growth is a rocky one. hand-697264_640

These common concerns are a direct result of the unprecedented growth in e-commerce and omni-channel orders and the increasing demand for speed in product delivery.  Simply put, everyone is scrambling to keep up with customer expectations.

These challenges create a need for more space, more SKUs, optimization of equipment and labor, and new software technology to better manage all the moving parts.

A recent report stated the biggest supply chain issue, identified by 55% of industry professionals surveyed, was the inability to attract and retain a qualified hourly workforce — this is up 6% from last year. So, software and automation are a key part of the solution in making the most of the infrastructure and employees — especially for a facility dealing with a shortage of skilled labor.

How an optimized workforce can alleviate labor shortages

There is a substantial labor shortage across the supply chain industry. The question is, what can be done to ensure inventory is moving on schedule?

If you can’t count on being able to find more qualified labor, one solution is to generate higher productivity rates from the people you do have. Essentially, increase your throughput from every available resource, which is easier to accomplish when you use metrics to track and improve on performance across your facility.

A 2018 survey of 138 logistics and warehouse operations professionals, working across multiple verticals, found that respondents are eager to use technology to address the mounting pressures. Those who closely monitored operator performance and forklift optimization saw increases in orders per hour, safety, and overall productivity.

Gain insight that provides solutions

Where do you begin? You don’t just want data; you want a solution. Telematic data identifies where time is wasted and where it might be gained. It highlights potential issues before they become problems and tells you what to do about it. Instantly, on one screen, you gain fast facts, insight and direction.

Telematic data lets you:

  • Control activity – movement of your fleet and how trucks are optimized to accomplish more.
  • Optimize operators – Identify quality driver behavior, advanced training and operating habits, and identify drivers who are better suited to difficult tasks or routing challenges
  • Reduced idle time - The shortest path is not always the optimal one to take. Forklift routing patterns can either save time, or they can cost you.
  • Manage safety checklists – A vital part of safety and well-maintained equipment, safety checklists can be required for a vehicle to operate.

Fulfillment demands from omni-channel and e-commerce growth will continue to make the industry labor shortage more difficult to navigate. Facilities must focus on fine-tuning their methods by leveraging telematic data to identify processes changes that increase equipment and worker productivity.

Topics: inventory management, process improvement, auto scanning, cloud-hosted applications, Cloud-based ERP, cloud-based telematics, real-time monitoring, the future of telematics