What's the difference between being good and being world-class? "Companies are starting to understand that people are their greatest asset," says Danner. "Technology is only as good as the people who are operating those systems."
At the same time, an increasing number of companies are experiencing labor problems, in the form of shortages of skilled workers, and an aging workforce closing in on retirement. "It's becoming more and more difficult to get the labor that we want and need," says Danner.
A comprehensive labor-management program incorporates a number of elements. In its original form, it meant applying best practices against engineered standards, and installing software that tracked workers' behavior down to the minute. Over the last decade, however, the concept has broadened to include an emphasis on executive performance management. Today, says Danner, it's about "taking the management team and giving them the tools they need to properly coach and counsel employees on the floor."
Organizations need to take the savings they've realized from labor-management programs and reinvest them in programs that improve the working environment. It's important, says Danner, to have a base wage that is competitive, with built-in incentives for employees to improve their performance. Training is another critical element to be included in the mix.
"The key is investing back with your associates," says Danner, "and building that team culture." When it comes to drawing from a limited pool of skilled and motivated labor, employers that offer attractive terms for workers get the "pick of the litter."
World-class companies understand the need for a vigorous labor-management effort, Danner says, but many companies aren't there yet. They're looking for bottom-line savings and a quick return on investment.
When they get past the first phase of implementation, however, "they start to understand [the need for] a different approach to business. Sometimes it takes a good 12 to 24 months to go all the way through that."
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain planning, warehouse management, warehouse labor management, warehouse labor standards, supply chain jobs
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