Warehousing and fulfillment - it's increasingly a people thing
Worker quality and numbers have long been among the trickiest aspects of finding and properly utilizing the people in the DC, but the global pandemic has made the labor market even more challenging.
So, it’s not surprising that Amazon has raised the bar in the race for workers by increasing its average starting wage to $18 per hour (potentially rising to $22.50). Not only that, it plans to hire more than 125,000 warehouse and transportation workers in the US alone for its 350 new logistics facilities it has opened this year and to help the rollout of one-day delivery for Amazon Prime loyalty club members.
Retailers generally are scrambling to hire hourly workers in this stretched-to-the-breaking-point labor market and have even been offering benefits and joining bonuses to attract them, with Walmart also planning to hire 20,000 workers at its supply chain division ahead of the manic holiday season.
But baby boomers, which have traditionally made up most of the DC workforce, are rapidly approaching retirement age and younger generations are less willing and available to replace these roles in the warehousing industry.
The current labor issue has also highlighted the stark differences between manually operated DCs and those that have integrated automated process solutions and have been able to keep up with rapidly growing e-commerce and quick delivery demands.
At SnapFulfil we are working with customers to help them meet this labor crisis head on - by way of real time data and warehouse planning - to optimize both space and resource, so that business as usual can be maintained in these exceptional circumstances.
In fact, it’s at times like this where technologically advanced cloud-based WMS comes into its own.
When labor is at a premium and self-isolation is a reality, coupled with a rapid change in orders, then having the very latest data to boost the effectiveness of the available workforce, their picking and packing performance, plus available space– underpinned by highly efficient receiving and put-away activity – is vital.
We’ve dubbed it SnapData, and it gives customers a holistic view of the DC by amalgamating data from various sources and locations into a single RAG-based central dashboard. The data can be drilled down to produce granular documentation such as shipping reports, warehouse heat maps, as well as order, delivery and location maps, plus operator tracking and picking performance – useful at the best of times and critical during and post pandemic.
What’s more, it allows for remedial measures to be quickly and inexpensively enacted, because highly configurable WMS software means every aspect of the e-commerce fulfillment process can be automated, streamlined and made intuitive for floor staff and management.
SnapFulfil customers typically benefit from efficiency and productivity improvements of up to 30%, which basically translates into the ability to do more for less with the same resources – something we are all craving during these hugely uncertain times.
Advanced, digital technology is now absolutely central to tackling new world order challenges and best utilization of premium fulfillment center space. It is also key to satisfying more demand, staying competitive, plus managing all important labor optimization.