Thinking Beyond Labor Management

Posted on: July 24, 2018

The tight labor market and finding good people is on the top of every manager’s mind right now, so maximizing productivity with labor management is a very hot topic. However, we also need to think long term because there is one thing that is constant and that is change!

There has been a lot of change the last 10 years in the supply chain industry, and I believe the next 10 years will be even more dramatic. Technology is infiltrating every aspect of our lives and business operations, and the adoption of robotics and artificial intelligence could have a bigger impact on our lives than the internet or the iPhone. Those working in logistics will need to think beyond labor and labor management.

Human labor is not going to go away. That claim has been made since the dawn of the industrial revolution. The function of labor simply changes as technological advances are made. Robots will likely take away many of the lower level tasks that employees perform, but that will free employees up to perform higher value tasks that robots cannot perform. We believe that humans and robotic systems will work alongside each other, with the robots performing the low-level, physically-demanding tasks best suited for them.

The Easy Metrics team has spent many hours discussing this topic and developing our product to meet the change we see and expect. The datafication of the supply chain with the internet of things (iOT), combined with robotics and automation, will transform the way your warehouse operates. The key challenge will be how to integrate all of this information to best run your operation.

All of these new technologies are full of data capture systems, and it will be necessary to work with that data. Lift truck telematics capture more than 250 data points a second. The warehouse will become awash in a sea of data, and you will need the ability to integrate those disparate data sets into usable actionable information.

Easy Metrics’ technology is at the tip of the spear of this information evolution occurring in the supply chain. Through Logic Writer, we are able to integrate all of this work flow data to give you true cost and performance visibility into your operations. As automation continues to be adopted, labor management analytics will move towards cost-to-serve analysis and away from classical engineered standards. From a work flow and data perspective, warehousing will start to look more like a LEAN manufacturing operation, where you are trying to maximize flow versus individual productivity. This will reduce crisis management and greatly improve efficiencies.

Every supply chain professional needs to be aware of what is coming and position both their companies and skillsets to maximize the opportunities that these new technologies will offer. We live in exciting times!

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