Logistics companies are under extreme pressure today. Faced with trucker driver shortages, rising customer expectations, high turnover, possible wage hikes, new and fierce competition, and a strict regulatory environment, many carriers struggle to maintain sufficient capacity to take on new business.
To overcome these challenges, logistics companies must do all they can to ensure that they have the right number of employees in the right places at the right times. It becomes a tricky balancing act where they need the right number of employees to best respond to omnichannel demands, but must still manage labor costs to protect razor-thin margins and the bottom line.
All of this may seem intimidating, but there is an effective way to make these goals more accomplishable: workforce management technology. More specifically, innovative, next-generation workforce management solutions can help logistics companies improve employee engagement and retention and free managers to focus on more strategic initiatives. In turn, these improvements help the entire organization increase shipping volumes, improve delivery times, and meet customer expectations – all of which contributes to a stronger bottom line.
Making the work-life balance easy with mobility
Why focus on workforce management? For the simple reason that being an employee shouldn’t be a difficult experience. Yet without an automated, device agnostic workforce management solution in place, many logistics companies inadvertently make common work processes much more difficult than they need to be. This means there’s a real opportunity to help employees work their way by spending more time on the actual work at hand, not time-consuming tasks such as punching in/out, requesting scheduling changes, determining leave balances, managing benefits, and more.
Workforce management solutions consist of time and attendance, human resources, payroll, employee scheduling, absence management, labor analytics, and other applications. This technology streamlines processes by automating common tasks and by giving employees fast, easy self-service access to their own workforce-related information to save time, eliminate errors, and increase overall productivity.
New innovations, new results
Now new innovations in workforce management technology are further empowering employees and managers to work smarter and work their way – however they prefer to work.
For example, workforce management applications are now available on a user’s preferred mobile device. This mobile access gives employees much more visibility, input, and control over their own work information and processes. This is especially valuable in areas such as scheduling, which is a predominantly paper-based process in the logistics industry today. For example, if something comes up unexpectedly in an employee’s life – such as the need to move an appointment or attend a meeting with a child’s teacher – employees can use a mobile device of choice to quickly post a shift to an internal shift-trade board.
The whole process is fast and easy that it requires little to no training. The technology also offers one-click actions that offer improvements over paper-based approaches or traditional workflow steps for approving timecards, calling out sick, submitting time-off requests, swapping shifts, and other work-related processes. It’s all designed to let employees interact with their workforce management system in the same way they would order an Uber ride or make a single click purchase on Amazon. The experience saves valuable time and effort (for both the employee and the supervisor), but more importantly, it promotes employee work/life balance and contributes to improved employee morale and engagement.
Such an emphasis on mobility also means that supervisors don’t have to remain trapped behind a desk or confined in a back office. Mobile workforce management applications let them manage daily processes from anywhere, at any time: on the floor mentoring employees, delivering customer service, or focusing on a new strategic initiative. With a device-agnostic solution, managers can also easily move from the desktop to a tablet or a phone – all without giving up any features or functionality.
Additionally, these next-generation workforce management solutions now offer technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, embedded analytics, and more. With cutting-edge capabilities such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, daily time-consuming decisions are more automated and streamlined, allowing managers to make quicker decisions for instances such as scheduling in the face of last minute time off requests from drivers, which as a result optimizes productivity and reduces labor costs.
On top of that, embedded analytics provide logistics companies with valuable, real time insights into their workforce operations. This level of information plays a significant role in minimizing compliance risk, especially in an industry such as trucking that is stacked up against heavy regulatory challenges. With Hours of Service (HOS) regulations straining capacity by limiting driver productivity, carriers must ensure their service levels are met while staying in compliance with these restrictions to avoid penalties.
Transform the workforce into a competitive advantage
To overcome challenges they face each day, logistics companies need to do all they can to engage employees while also empowering managers to focus on high-level business initiatives. New innovations in workforce management technology are ready to deliver – the time-savings, productivity tools, offering critical insights the entire organization needs to transform the workforce into a competitive edge.