In a recent 2016 Third-Party Logistics study, the millennial generation can look forward to a 25 percent growth in supply chain jobs over the next decade. The global supply chain is already facing significant shortages in labour, which will only increase as older workers reach retirement.
Warehouse workers are expected to be amongst the worst in terms of labour shortages, according to the study. The challenges presented by labour shortages call for us to address the way we manage them.
New management strategies for a new generation
The shifting demographic that is causing the labour shortage is its own solution. As the millennial generation gains a stronger foothold in the warehouse industry, they are assuming greater responsibilities both in the workforce and in management. Having grown up being exposed to the digital technologies that drive innovation, they are better equipped to implement these technologies. With less of a generational gap between management and individuals, better communication and strategy implementation can take place.
Agility is the name of the game in innovative Warehouse Management Systems
The predominant benefit of warehouse management systems (WMS) is the way they provide greater agility in the workplace. Providing greater agility is the core concept behind addressing the labour shortage and driving growth. There are four key innovations that support agility.
Supporting mobility in the workplace gives workers the flexibility of not being tied to a workstation and allows managers the ability to swiftly respond to business demands both inside and outside the facility.
- Configurable workflows
A ‘smart configurator’ can assist in designing and identifying the most efficient workflows and methods for completing tasks, delivering better productivity with swifter implementation, increased agility, simplified process changes and better faith in a productive and organised system.
- Control towers
Employee motivation, especially among millennials, often suffers when they feel they are tied to or forced into a predefined workflow. Providing each employee with their own personal ‘control tower’ equips them to handle pressing issues in real time while still maintaining their day-to-day tasks.
- User interface
An intuitive user interface for devices used in warehouses is necessary for providing a good user experience. Intuitive UIs help new employees become productive faster and helps experienced employees adopt new applications easily.
A new culture for a new demographic
These innovative warehouse management systems address how to boost productivity in a dwindling labour force, but the issue remains that it is shrinking. Employers are having to re-examine how they recruit and retain skilled labour in order to solve the problem. Rather than relying on traditional warehouse wages and promotion structures, they are looking at advanced integrated Warehouse Labour Management solutions. This involves employing inbuilt incentive plans tailored to millennial standards, including:
Combined, Warehouse Management Systems and Warehouse Labour Management can address the problems of a shrinking workforce while boosting productivity, reducing costs and accommodating a dynamic generational shift. For more information on how to implement warehouse management systems into the workplace, contact HeadByte.