Recruiting is becoming increasingly difficult for logistics service providers. The difficulty applies not only to drivers, but also to warehouse employees. What happens after they find the right people? Efficient personnel deployment is crucial to remain competitive in the industry. But what do you need to plan your workforce effectively?
The importance of data
In order to have the right person in the right place at the right time, you need to have the right data. This data should be readily available and accurate. In simple terms, it should help you answer the following questions:
For which processes are employees trained and suitable? How do they score in productivity? One person may be better at collecting orders. The other may be more suitable for dispatching.
Who is certified to operate (rolling) equipment? These include forklifts and reach trucks, as well as machines that may be used in the packaging process.
When are my employees available? Monitor whether they can work on certain days or times, and keep track of hours worked. This is especially important when work is done in shifts. You want to make sure people meet their work hours.
How much work is there? A good estimation of the workload is important for accurate planning. You should strive to be as specific as possible, even if you constantly deal with unpredictable volumes.
Understandably, keeping track of this without software is difficult, if not impossible. That is why organizations typically rely on a system to support the planner.
The big picture
Efficient personnel planning can provide significant cost savings within a single operation. If there are multiple operations at stake, the profit to be gained is much greater. Look at the big picture.
Logistics service providers make extensive use of temporary workers. Those temporary workers are relatively expensive. With insight into the availability of employees across departments, you can make the most of your own workforce, before hiring external workers. Permanent employees already know the ins and outs of your business, and are therefore more efficient than temporary staff.
Find the optimal deployment plan for your own employees. If one of your best order collectors is available for more time, do not assign that person to packaging. Find out if you need order collectors in another operation. The right person in the right place, that is what you should strive for. Once you have an optimal plan for permanent workers, you can start looking at temporary ones. This will help you map out where you actually need additional or temporary talent.
Workforce Scheduling In practice
- Van Zaal Transport uses a workforce scheduling system to plan drivers and warehouse staff. The system keeps track of existing services, but also of driver preferences. By linking desired capacity and available contract hours, Van Zaal knows exactly how many additional workers they need to hire. The corresponding driver shifts are automatically and optimally generated, even for temporary workers and charters. These driver shifts are then automatically incorporated in their route planning system.
- KATOEN NATIE is another large logistics service provider. They use a clever workforce scheduling system for planning unpredictable volumes. Schedules are now clear and comprehensible for all parties involved. The system acts as a communication platform for department planners, HR staff and on-site employment agencies. With an accompanying app, employees can view the schedule themselves on their mobile phone or tablet and, for example, make requests for leave. These requests can be digitally reviewed, approved and fed back into the system.
The benefits at a glance
To sum up, what can you achieve with optimized personnel planning?
- More insight and more control. Better coordination, both internally and with external parties, such as employment agencies. Deploy the right number of people, with the right skills in the right place. Get real-time monitoring of working hours and qualifications. Make it easy for planners to adjust and intervene in various operations through a complete overview.
- Less cost. No unnecessary hiring of temporary workers. Get higher productivity by deploying the right people in the right place. Save time on planning and communication processes.
- Happy employees. When your employees can do what they are good at, they have more fun in their work. More insight also means that you can deploy them more easily for a different activity if they appreciate change.