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Fleet and Labor Management FAQ

iwarehouse - fleet and labor management system

Labor Management System
I have a Warehouse Management System. What can a Labor Management System get me that I can’t already get from that?

Warehouse management systems (WMS) are designed to track product, its locations, and processing orders. It is not designed to track labor. Some WMS have limited reporting on labor. This is typically in the form of units per hour for an employee. WMS reporting is typically limited to only those people who scan. Pulling data from a WMS often still requires significant manual manipulation to get usable data to take action on. A Labor Management System (LMS) will pull in data from a WMS, but is not strictly units per hour. It will also look at multiple other variables in regards to employee analytics (locations, weight, travel, etc). And a LMS can pull in additional data sets, especially timeclock, in order to manage employee utilization.

I already have a Labor Management System, but I don’t use it. Why should I care about getting a new one?

It all depends on why they are not using the system…Our system will give you a current, operationally aligned tool. It’s often more expensive to reinvigorate an old product, so the customer should consider other options in regards to their future use of LMS. If labor standards are out of date, our LMS has a modeling tool to enable the site to update their standards without the use of engineers. Engineered standards, if done using external providers, can be cost prohibitive (ex: sometimes $100-250k, depending on the size of the operations and # of standards). Our Labor Management System is focused on tracking 100% of labor, not just those scanning with WMS scan guns. If there is concern about the effort to maintain the system, our systems is much easier to make simple adjustments over time because it doesn’t necessarily require engineers or software developers.

How do you measure Cost-to-Serve? Can you get cost to complete each process? Do you need to further break out costs even more granular that that?

Our iWarehouse system has very robust cost-to-serve functionality. We know who did the work, what process they worked, how productive they were, how long it took them, and how much they’re paid. As such, we can calculate the cost to perform a task.  We have the ability to flag activities by other factors in order to “slice and dice” the costing to a very detailed level (customer name, product type, etc).

Sites need to know whether they’re winning or losing, not just at the facility level but at each individual process. This helps determine whether we need to renegotiate pricing (ex: 3PLs), where to focus a kaizen event, process improvement, technology investments, etc.

Do you have labor standards today? How were they developed? Do you think they’re up to date? Do your standards take in multiple variables?

Labor standards are critical for a labor management system. They help understand how an employee is performing as compared to where they should be. There are typically one of two types:

NOTE: Single Metrics typically fail when you have “yeah, but…” scenarios, where an employee will attempt to explain how their performance was impacted by an unmeasured variable.

Do you now, or have you ever considered incentive-based pay/pay-for-performance?

Incentives can help improve corporate culture and keep your best employees. Using them can demonstrate that a LMS is not just an accountability tool.

Traditional bonus structures are based on averages over longer periods (weeks/months) and potentially team-focused (vs individual). And, a traditional bonus system requires a facility to set aside a large amount of money in preparation for pay-out.

Our system looks at the individual employee at the daily level. This allows for an employee to start fresh each day. We see daily “lock in” periods drive productivity more than weekly or monthly incentive.

Our system is “self-funded”, meaning we pay out bonuses at certain performance thresholds, where we know we’re paying out a fraction of actual and measurable savings.

Do you have employees who complete work in your facility but don’t necessarily scan within your WMS or ERP? Do you have people who change functions throughout the day? Are there areas in your facility that you have little to no visibility into time on task or productivity?

It is important to track all employees on all tasks. If you have functional areas or specific people that are not being tracked, you’re acting on a limited data set.

I have varying systems, some may be developed in-house. Can your system integrate these disparate data sets?

Yes, we can usually take any data that can be pushed to us. Files do not need to match each other in format nor come from “approved” systems. We ensure this flexibility exists in our system so that we can capture as much activity via systematic means versus manual tracking.

How do I get savings out of an LMS?

How hard is it to implement?

Based on our “Logic Writer” technology, we typically do not need to involve IT developers for custom code. It affords us the opportunity to create and implement rule sets on how to differentiate the data on the fly.

The biggest lift for the customer is to push us data (we don’t reach into their systems). Once we are receiving the data, integration can be done in as little as a few days. We come onsite for roughly 2 days to ensure we understand the operation and that Labor Management System is configured to align with that operation. Professional Services works with them over the first few months to ensure they understand the system, how to interpret the reports, and to drive value through a phased approach. Typically this requires a small fraction of the effort than other LMS providers.

What do you need from us from an integration perspective? What data sets do you need?

We do not force the customer to have their data fit a pre-defined format. We usually say “give us everything”, meaning all the transactions and associated transaction data. We have the customer push us transaction data and time clock to the cloud at minimum once every 24 hrs, but as frequent as they would like. Other than that, almost all remaining integration is managed through our configuration tools.

We are going to be changing systems in the future. If we implement now, what does it look like when these new systems come on line?

Unless the change is eminent, we typically suggest a customer to move forward with the integration and we simply note the anticipated change and plan for the update. With Logic Writer (our integration and configuration tool), adding an additional data feed or swapping it out for another is quick. There is typically no additional cost if we know about the change up front. If there is a charge, it’s minimal as compared to everyone else out there.

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