Workforce Management is a set of processes that was developed for call centers in the 1980s. The goal was simple: ensure that the call center has the correct number of agents to answer the calls that come in within the target wait time. The execution can become very complex. The expected number of calls can vary day to day or even within a day and can be impacted by events such as promotions or adverse weather. The amount of time required to answer an individual call can vary and decrease the availability of agents to assist additional callers. Callers have differing needs and agents have differing skills. Call center agents are people and need to take breaks or take vacation or call out sick. Today, Workforce Management Software manages this execution complexity by collecting the relevant data, forecasting, and accounting for variability to produce schedules for the call center to ensure that it has enough staff to meet its targets as efficiently as possible. Workforce Management Software is virtually ubiquitous in call centers that have more than just a few agents. These businesses recognize that their reputation and their customers’ satisfaction is on the line and their call center organization needs to perform effectively.
Logistics and manufacturing businesses are subject to much of the same variability and complexity as a call center. Take an e-commerce fulfillment business, for example. Particularly in today’s environment, that business’ customers have high expectations in terms of on-time delivery. Additionally, fulfillment businesses are subject to tremendous order variability, caused by seasonality within the year, order patterns within the week, or other reasons. A fulfillment business has many tasks to complete in processing orders such as picking, packing, shipping, or unloading and restocking inventory. Workers want to take PTO, sometimes they get sick, or sometimes they want to swap shifts. Yet unlike the call center, most e-commerce fulfillment centers don’t have a dedicated system to manage this complexity, it is often managed by a spreadsheet.
These spreadsheets can be time consuming to create and update each day, typically involving downloading data extracts from multiple sources and creating complex functions that span many tabs. These spreadsheets can be difficult to understand, and are often only understood by a single employee, creating a significant key-person risk for the business. Planning on spreadsheets can lead to inconsistencies that can result in overstaffing or understaffing which can result in higher costs or late delivery. In the current environment where customer expectations and pressure to maximize margins are high, using spreadsheets to plan labor can introduce a lot of risk.
Veryable created the Workforce Management (WFM) tool to allow Manufacturing and Logistics businesses to plan their labor without the need for complicated spreadsheets. WFM uses your data to automate most of your labor planning tasks so that planning is executed consistently and effortlessly. Performance tracking in WFM allows you to visualize the performance of your teams or individuals so that you can know who your top performers are and who might need additional coaching. Your Operations, HR, Finance and workers all have visibility to labor plans through WFM, so that everyone can be on the same page. PTO, sick days, VTO, overtime, shift swaps/changes, and even performance are taken into account by WFM when creating your labor plans, to minimize surprises. Your contingent labor and on-demand labor are also included into WFM to give you a complete picture of your total workforce. AI Forecasting allows WFM to give you more predictability, so you can be ready to face future challenges as you grow or enter a busy season.
Essentially, WFM improves on everything your spreadsheet does, but also offers you a lot more. It increases your bottom line by optimizing your labor cost per unit, it reduces risk around misallocating labor, and it saves you time in your day to focus on more important priorities that can’t be automated. With the increasing pressure to perform and operate efficiently, manufacturing and supply chain businesses need Workforce Management.