Workforce planning, now more than ever, is top of mind for warehouse and DC leaders as they continue to deal with the fallout of the pandemic and the downstream effects that are still being felt. When it comes to investing in automation technologies, AI can play a critical role. In fact, a recent market study by Lucas showed that among the biggest benefits that organizations expect from AI-based software implementation are improved safety and increased workforce retention.
This week in our Fast Start Opportunities for AI blog series we are revealing specific ways companies can begin their AI journey in the area of workforce. As labor is typically the largest operational cost of a DC, workforce management plays a key role in cost-effective operations. Optimal allocation of workers to meet anticipated demand with each shift/day/week is essential to eliminate overstaffing and understaffing and reduce overtime, while ensuring that orders get out on time.
For example, during a shift, a supervisor may need to make a series of decisions related to shifting personnel from area to area in order to meet shipping deadlines associated with a wave of orders. Good decisions along these lines mean the supervisor will need a variety of near-real-time data in order to be alerted to and be able to process that data in a way that leads to good decisions.
This is where an AI-based solution to workforce planning comes in. Machine learning can be applied at multiple levels, including predicting travel times between locations and predicting when waves of work will be completed by area – given the remaining work and current staffing levels in each area. With those predictions, the AI solution can then run near-real time simulations to determine how to best allocate workers to complete the remaining work to ensure shipping deadlines are met.
With AI based intelligent workforce planning software, it is not uncommon for an operation to increase throughput by 5-10% and realize a 50% improvement in overtime costs while improving customer service levels and reducing penalty costs. After implementing a configurable, multi-modal voice-directed mobile application which included unique AI-based optimization, Lucas customer Resnick Distributors experienced an 80% reduction in overtime, a 30% reduction in labor costs and reduced errors by 60%. Moreover, the solution helped reduce turnover dramatically and brought a “fundamental cultural change” in the organization.
Our Fast Start Opportunities for AI blog series will continue next month, when we review AI-based performance management and its potential to reduce implementations costs by 50% as compared to engineered labor standards (ELS).
Make sure you catch up on our first series post, where we introduced three key starting recommendations for DCs as they evaluate AI opportunities. To get a more in depth understanding of AI and the benefits it can provide in your operation, check out our Achieve Your AI Potential white paper, and stay tuned for the rest of our Fast Start Opportunities for AI blog series.
About Lucas Systems, Inc.
Lucas Systems helps companies transform their distribution center operations and continuously adapt to changing market dynamics. We dramatically increase worker productivity, operational agility, and customer satisfaction.
Our solutions are built on 23-plus years of deep process expertise and smart software using AI and voice technologies. Our solutions feature Jennifer™, the brain, voice, and orchestration engine that drives performance improvement gains. Make the smartest moves at the lowest cost with Jennifer™. For more information, visit www.lucasware.com.