(14-Nov-2011) This time of year, distribution center managers often find themselves bringing in temporary workers by the dozen to meet peak season order fulfillment demands. Although that has the potential to be a headache and a half, there's a way to minimize the hassles: by using workforce management software.
Workforce management software automates the task of planning, scheduling, and tracking employees. Although these solutions have been used in the retail, manufacturing, and health-care sectors for a decade, they haven't really caught on in the distribution and logistics space. That's starting to change as more companies discover their potential for helping manage labor. Distribution centers "are turning to workforce management software solutions to help minimize costs associated with non-productive time or unnecessary overtime," says Malysa O'Connor, director of the logistics practice group at Kronos, one maker of this type of software.
In addition to Kronos, a number of other vendors offer workforce management solutions. They include such well-known supply chain software developers as Red Prairie and Infor as well as specialty players like WorkForce and Dayforce. As with most software solutions these days, users have the option of purchasing a software license and installing the program on their corporate servers or accessing it over the Internet on a software-as-a-service basis.