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5 Ways a WMS Can be Used to Overcome Workforce Challenges

Warehouse Skilled Labour Shortages: 5 Ways a WMS Can be Used to Overcome Workforce Challenges

April 22, 2024

A shortage of skilled labour impacts businesses across all industries. Warehouses, however, especially struggle to meet their manual workforce requirements. This workforce unavailability negatively impacts productivity and customer satisfaction while struggling to manage the growing demand for efficient order fulfilment.

In this blog, we will better understand skilled labour shortages and how they can impact businesses. We will also discuss how Warehouse Management Systems can help warehouse managers overcome this problem and streamline workflows.

Understanding Warehouse Labour Shortages

A recent study reveals that the demand for labour in the operations and logistics sector is 19%, while the average global shortage is 77%. This difference is largely caused by various factors, such as:

  • Demographic changes: The ageing population decreases the workforce, as fewer individuals are of working age. This demographic shift poses a significant challenge by limiting the available labour pool.
  • Technological advancements: Development in the technological sector is reshaping the required skill sets at a pace faster than the workforce can adapt. This rapid technological evolution creates a widening gap between workers’ skills and those demanded by the industry, making it difficult to find talent that matches the technical requirements of today’s jobs.
  • Economic factors: Shifts in consumer behaviour, globalisation trends, and economic downturns further complicate labour availability and workforce participation. These changes can lead to fluctuations in job demand and affect overall employment rates.
  • Impact of the pandemic: The pandemic has fundamentally changed work models and personal priorities, pushing many to exit labour-intensive sectors like warehousing in search of less demanding roles.
  • Shift in Expectations: Another factor is the shifting expectations from jobs among younger generations, such as Millennials and Gen Z. These generations seek jobs that offer work-life balance and a sense of purpose, making traditional warehouse positions less appealing.

The Impact of Labour Shortages in Warehouses

Labour shortages can have serious consequences on warehouse operations.

Some of them are discussed as follows:

  • Slow Order Fulfillment: Fewer workers constrain the output from the warehouse. This results in a gap between what the business requires to fulfil customer demand and what the operations can deliver.
  • Increased Operational Costs: To address the labour shortage, companies often offer overtime or bonuses to motivate their existing staff. While necessary, this approach increases operational costs. These increased labour costs place additional financial pressure on warehouse operations, affecting their financial health.
  • Operational Problems: These disruptions can range from delayed shipments to complete halts in production, causing a ripple effect throughout the supply chain. Such interruptions can affect immediate operations and damage relationships with customers and partners, leading to long-term reputational harm.

5 Ways WMS Can Be Used to Overcome Workforce Challenges

Automation of Routine Tasks

Adopting a warehouse management system can significantly increase efficiency by automating monotonous and repetitive tasks such as picking, packing, and sorting. This automation not only optimises operations but also helps reallocate human workers to more strategic roles.

WMS and robotic solutions can handle physically demanding tasks, improving warehouse safety and working conditions. By automating the monotonous tasks, employees are freed from repetitive daily routines, which enhances job satisfaction and retention rates. This strategic use of technology streamlines warehouse operations, making them more efficient and employee-friendly.

Labour Tracking and Optimisation

Labour tracking and optimisation through a warehouse management system involve real-time monitoring of labour activities and performance. Warehouse management systems software enables businesses to get data that can be used to make informed decisions regarding scheduling and labour allocation. Just as WMS uses real-time data to maintain optimal inventory levels, it applies similar principles to labour management.

Automated systems assess workload and worker availability to match tasks with the best-suited employees, optimising the workforce without overstaffing or understaffing. This strategic approach minimises manual intervention, streamlines operations, and boosts productivity, ensuring that labour is allocated where it’s most needed.

Enhanced Task Prioritisation

Warehouse management solutions can intelligently rank warehouse tasks according to their urgency and resource availability. This ensures that the most important tasks are addressed first, and no time is wasted on tasks for which resources aren’t unavailable. This dynamic assignment of tasks helps totask assignment helps warehouse management to adapt to fluctuating demands throughout the day.

By aligning tasks with available staff and resources, businesses can maintain high productivity levels, meet deadlines, and improve overall performance. The prioritisation boosts efficiency and optimises the workflow, preventing hurdles and facilitating smooth operations.

Training and Onboarding Support

The support warehouse management system providers offer when it comes to training and onboarding the staff is invaluable. They provide complete training modules resources, materials and interactive learning tools so workers can quickly adapt to new technologies and processes. This cuts down the learning curve and improves productivity.

This continuous opportunity to upskill with evolving technology also supports employee career growth and skill advancement, which contributes to higher job satisfaction and workforce retention.

Streamlined Communication and Collaboration

Warehouse management system software facilitates instant information exchange and decision-making. Using mobile devices and messaging or alert features allows efficient task management and coordination across various warehouse sections. This approach ensures that the whole team is on the same page, reducing the errors and delays in the process. This empowers staff to respond quickly to the changes in demands and operational challenges, promoting an agile and responsive work environment.

Conclusion

Utilising a warehouse management system is essential to combating skilled labour shortages, helping companies meet today’s customer demands with a smaller, more focused team.

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