Highlights from a recent LinkedIn Live event co-hosted by Brad Forester & Brian Carlson
What’s one topic most industries can relate to each other about? Labor. No matter the industry, labor is a challenge. Logistics experts Brad Forester, founder and CEO of JBF Consulting, and Brian Carlson, Principal at Cornerstone Edge met for a short LinkedIn Live discussion on the topic. Watch a recording of the 11 minute session here (stay for bloopers at the end)!
In this webinar, Brad and Brian discuss:
- How to leverage technology to smooth out order flow and improve labor planning.
- Inbound and outbound strategies for optimizing labor utilization and reducing peak activity.
- The impact of cross-functional integration and master data quality on labor efficiency.
- Real-world examples of successful labor optimization.
Whether you're a logistics professional, a supply chain manager, or simply interested in how technology can impact your business, this webinar is for you.
This livestream touches on the technology available in today's modern TMS and logistics applications, in addition to warehouse management systems and labor systems, can really help smooth the peaks and valleys of order flows that impact labor in the DC.
If you’d rather read a transcript of the recording, we’ve included that below.
The technology available in today's modern TMS and logistics applications, in addition to warehouse management systems and labor systems, can really help smooth the peaks and valleys of order flows that impact labor in the DC.
edited for length and clarity
Welcome to our last LinkedIn live event for the year. Today, we are going to stick with something very simple, liquor and labor.
From a transportation perspective, Brian, just to kick things off here, we've had a lot of client questions coming in, in the past few years about how can we leverage their the TMS to smooth out the volume of orders that are flowing into the DC, what are the right technologies, and the tactics that we can use as implementers so that we don't bomb our DC on Monday and then have a glut of activity on Tuesday. Let's smooth it out so that we can have better labor planning. So these are very relevant conversations today, because labor is difficult to manage, it is volatile. Labor is hard to come by. The technology available in today's modern TMS and logistics applications, in addition to warehouse management systems and labor systems, can really help smooth the peaks and valleys of order flows that impact labor in the DC. We can now leverage upstream systems like a TMS, to better optimize the flow of orders that drop into the DC. And many clients are starting to implement these solutions.
Those are great points. Looking at a warehouse management system, or a transportation system is critical. A lot of people just talk about a labor management system, they ask, how can you optimize labor through engineering labor standards, through other methods? There are a lot of other components that allow us to leverage other technologies to increase labor throughput and reduce peaks and valleys. One of the things that we've seen is taking macro transactions on the outbound side, but a lot of the savings can be on the inbound side too. Some of those things are related to dock door assignment, where do you put the door based upon the flow of goods and appointment scheduling, as it relates to the throughput, your labor resources, etc? That sounds pretty common. However, very few companies leverage the technology between the two systems. One of the things that we've seen is leveraging that technology, putaway, and some automation can help significantly. We have one customer who ended up with inbound labor savings of 50% with those changes. And so just taking the technology improvements and utilizing them properly can make a big difference.
That's a very surprising number. It's good, it shows the impact that these techniques can have. You mentioned inbound and I started with a focus on outbound, secondary network distribution. But to your point, inbound is also now able to orchestrate and have a material impact on labor through technologies like real-time tracking and visibility, yard systems, and dock and appointment scheduling systems. And many of these applications now are open APIs, so the integration is a little bit more approachable. And we're finding clients can integrate these traditionally non-integrated applications, and then start to synchronize so that as inbound eta start arriving from our visibility application, we know how much labor is needed for receiving and putaway. We know on the inbound side based on how many trailers are coming into the yard, or how many are at the gate, we can get a lot more granularity of transaction information that we can then integrate into an overall orchestrated kind of primary network supply chain. And for labor, all of those things really can have a material impact on labor planning. So thank you, Brian, for opening up that inbound side of the equation as well.
A lot of people talk about Inbound as it relates to technology. And some companies don't manage the ASN information very well. So, with an advance shipment notice, people often look at it from a purchase order standpoint. But if we truly leverage an inbound container or truck that has maybe multiple POS on it, understanding what's on the individual pallets, and taking that on the inbound side can dramatically reduce your labor. Because if you trust the trucking, the vendors, and all the process of data coming in, you can certainly reduce the amount of touches and the amount of counting that you have on the inbound side, which of course saves a significant amount of labor as well.
That's right. And I think the cost of this orchestration is diminishing as the technology advances. I mentioned APIs previously, but but also, many clients have, thankfully, put a larger focus on master data quality, and cross-departmental or cross-functional integration. 10 years ago, we didn't see much WMS integration with a TMS outside of just a basic pass-through. Today, it's very tightly integrated. And I think, when you add in visibility, when you add in labor systems, when you add in yard and dock and appointment scheduling applications, all of a sudden, we can tune the labor model based on both primary and secondary networks. And the cost is doing some integration work, we need to cross the silo and look over the wall to distribution, if I'm in the transportation function. So those things are positive. Sometimes they're challenging organizationally. There are oftentimes some turf battles. But these are really good battles to have. Because to your point with your example of 50% labor savings, it's real, it's tangible, and it saves a lot of money.
Well, we even see this with the software vendors where they have a traditional mapping for inbound and outbound transactions. And they're siloed, they were built a long time ago. But it doesn't work linearly, like you mentioned. Because ultimately, it's about speed, performance, and visibility. And if we can have all those things working well, it makes a huge difference.
10 years ago, we didn't see much WMS integration with a TMS outside of just a basic pass-through. Today, it's very tightly integrated.
View the 11 minute LIVE session replay:
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The information discussed in this session represents the views of the individual/s and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with your organization’s leadership and legal counsel.