SumTotal Blog

Top 5 Ways Workforce Management Adds Value to Manufacturing

July 31, 2018



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Manufacturing is enjoying a resurgence after the last recession with 94.6% of manufacturers somewhat or very positive about their company’s outlook in 2018. While there are many reasons for this optimism, a strong demand, particularly from European customers, is key according to Chad Moutray, Chief Economist with the National Association of Manufacturers.

While this is great news, it does not mean manufacturers can afford literally or metaphorically to take their foot off the pedal and remain competitive. Part of the challenge is managing an organization’s workforce. Granted technology is making huge strides to improve the efficiencies of this task; however, there is always room for improvement.

How workforce management cuts costs
Payroll is a significant expenditure for organizations. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, unit labor costs in manufacturing increased 5.2% in the first quarter of 2018, up 2.5% from last year. A robust workforce management (WFM) solution offers the opportunity to control, eliminate waste and reduce costs.

Here’s a quick overview of the many ways WFM adds value to your organization:

  • Enables a shift from manual to automated systems to optimize your process. Many organizations already have some level of automation, but few have entirely optimized its capability.
  • Increases the use and benefits of workforce analytics with productivity and employee engagement drawing more significant attention.
  • Assists in the design and creation of strategic workforce planning to address the skill shortage problem manufacturers are facing. More than ever, manufacturers need to be extremely diligent in managing their workforce.
  • Ensures employees are scheduled only for those shifts/tasks they are qualified to complete, ensuring compliance with labor laws and policies – thereby avoiding unnecessary problems.
  • A self-service system significantly reduces time-intensive and labor-intensive tasks, empowers employees, and frees up management’s time to focus on strategic goals.

WFM solutions boost competitiveness

The potential of a WFM solution doesn’t end there. Organizations in the business of production are aware that to succeed their brand or product is judged by seven criteria I like to call the Seven Components of Success: cost, quality, delivery, technology, innovation, speed, and customer care. Customers, whether other manufacturing companies or individuals, rate you on these areas. Therefore your performance in these areas will determine outcomes regardless of your brand or reputation. If you consistently underwhelm customers, your organization will suffer.

But here’s the kicker, a WFM system can influence and shape each of these critical operations. For example, if your company supplies components to another manufacturing business – your customers will expect you to respond to their changing business needs quickly. When your customer calls and informs you that they need an additional 1000 units in the next three days, that’s when an optimized WFM system can come to the rescue.

To learn more about the ways manufacturing organizations benefit from workforce management, check out SumTotal‘s Industry Insights Webinar on Workforce Management for Manufacturing.

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