Hold Tight to Manufacturing Knowledge: Retain and Empower Your Workforce
Published on 26 January 2022
The manufacturing industry is “eyeing growth despite turbulence,” according to Deloitte’s 2022 Manufacturing Industry Outlook analysis. What will be critical for future growth in manufacturing is business agility in the face of labor and supply chain challenges.
The Great Resignation became a topic of conversation as 4 million Americans quit their jobs by September 2021. While often discussed from the viewpoint of office workers, the quit rate in lower-paying jobs was overlooked. Bloomberg noted that the manufacturing industry was second from the top (below leisure and hospitality) for the largest quit rate. What’s more, the quit rate was more significant in lower-paying nondurable goods (mainly food manufacturing) compared to higher-paying durable goods.
With record workforce shortages and existing pressure of an aging workforce and talent gaps, future-of-work strategies are close to the top of the list for manufacturers that want to excel in the face of disruption. In Deloitte’s survey, manufacturing executives want to focus on:
- 38% attracting new talent
- 31% retention
- 13% reskilling
Attracting, retaining, and empowering workers can be supported through technology investments. As workers look for purpose in their roles, manufacturers have the opportunity to recruit and retain a generation of workers that want high-value work in a cutting-edge, digitized environment to engage and connect with.
Where does WMS fit into a manufacturer’s workforce strategies?
Modern WMS for Workforce Retention
Knowledge loss is a hidden cost of turnover and poor retention. Keeping manufacturing knowledge tight is critical to maximizing operations and growth. To do so, manufacturers need to give warehouse workers the tools and technology they need to be more productive and make their jobs easier. For the newer generation of workers who aren’t enticed by warehouse jobs, implementing a digitized warehouse can help shift perceptions of the warehouse work from laborious and manual to high-tech and meaningful.
There are key capabilities of a modern WMS that support employee retention but also mitigate people and skill shortages.
WMS automation can provide benefits that support streamlined work and maximize operational capacity:
- Automation can fill significant workforce gaps that can’t be replaced to maximize capacity.
- Automation of manual processes and monotonous tasks help workers focus on higher-value activities and improve productivity and accuracy of their work while reducing operational inefficiencies.
- Automated processes can lessen reliance on specialized knowledge from employees and streamline the training of new workers with a centralized view of the warehouse processes.
Integrated Mobile Hardware
Mobility is central to efficient and productive workers on the warehouse floor. Integrated mobile devices – such as iPads, touch screens, etc. – make workers more effective by putting the tools they want in their hands to complete a task in less time. The more physical and mental strain on workers can be reduced, the more an organization can improve the work experience for employees.
A WMS that puts end users first in its design, implementation, and experience will get better adoption and faster ROI. WMS should be functional, intuitive, easy-to-use, reliable, and enjoyable for the end-users.
Workforce Empowerment in Action
In the Food & Beverage industry, Cameron’s Coffee is an excellent example of how a highly automated warehouse enables and empowers a workforce. Before implementing Solochain WMS and MES, Cameron’s Coffee relied heavily on paper-based processes. Workers would manually check and encode items and carry pens, notepads, and clipboards while running production lines or operating equipment.
Digitizing their warehouse with Solochain WMS and MES led to 50% sales growth, 200% eCommerce growth, and a 25% expansion of their warehouse.
On top of growth and operational efficiencies, the day-to-day dramatically transform for Cameron’s Coffee workforce:
- New software and iPads reduced the time required to complete a task
- User-friendly and intuitive interfaces made adoption easy
- Automated processes reduced human error across the warehouse
- Workers had more independence with a centralized system for warehouse activities
- New employee onboarding was simplified through transparent processes in the WMS display
- The Finance team would easily understand warehouse workflows and processes and close month-end sooner with integration into the ERP
- Workers were happier and more confident in the jobs
“The WMS and MES systems through Solochain are user-friendly and very customizable. In a dynamically changing company, the system has been able to change and grow with our needs. We have found efficiencies that have allowed us to grow with minimal additional head count. And when we do have new hires, the system is easy to train and empowers employees to confidently complete their jobs."
System Administrator Cameron’s Specialty Coffee
Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.