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New On The Move webinar: Your store is a DC. Get used to it!

Modern e-tailers and omnichannel retailers have permanently changed the order fulfillment game. Many customers have traded the in-store experience for online shopping, and as a result, brick and mortar retailers are struggling to compete. To support their customers' willingness to order products online (sight unseen), e-tailers have built their operations with a network of distribution centers placed in strategic locations. Instead of putting a store in every town, their distribution networks are enabling expedited delivery to their customers.

This paradigm shift to online order fulfillment has left many traditional retailers in an existential quandary. Many are asking, "What should I do with my existing network of brick and mortar stores intended to support an entirely different model?" The truth of the matter is, stores are still an important part of the customer experience; there's no substitute for being able to see and feel a product before actually buying it.

And for some customers, any delivery expectation is just too long to wait. The only way for them to fulfill that need for instant gratification is to physically go to the store and buy it. One method retailers are using to support this preference is by allowing customers to order online and then pick up the product at their nearest store. The only problem with this scenario is that some stores are unprepared or ill-equipped to efficiently deliver on this promise.

So, even though traditional retailers may not have regional distribution centers in every strategic location to enable same-day deliveries, they do have an opportunity to leverage their existing network of stores to their full potential. 

In Intelligrated's next On The Move webinar, Sean Wallingford, senior director of strategic operations from Intelligrated Software, and James Hendrickson, senior product manager, retail solutions from Honeywell, will explain how retailers can level the playing field by turning their stores into distribution centers - and in the process create a customer experience that drives brand loyalty. From receiving, staging and put-away to picking, packing and shipping, Sean and James will explain how stores can improve the tactical execution of their everyday processes to enable them to focus on strategic objectives such as improving the in-store experience of their customers. Attendees will learn:

  • The advantages of a physical storefront over a virtual one
  • The importance of "buy online, pick up in store" order fulfillment
  • The similiarities between DC and store processes
  • How to improve tactical execution to improve the customer experience
  • Why DC-like efficiencies are critical in stores

Register now to join Sean Wallingford and James Hendrickson on Thursday, December 15 at 2 p.m. EST for this important webinar.

Video blog: Executive InSights from the MODEX 2016 show floor

In the first Executive InSight video blog of 2016, Kevin Roach, executive vice president and general manager, Intelligrated Software, discusses Intelligrated’s vision for warehouse execution systems (WES). 

Intelligrated webinar series kicks off with labor management discussion

On Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. EST, Intelligrated will launch a new webinar series called On The Move.  This informative educational platform is designed to address the many fulfillment challenges and trends that are taking place in the material handling industry.  Our intent is to give attendees access to insights and unique perspectives from Intelligrated's many internal experts and distinguished guest speakers.

On The Move will utilize an interactive webinar format that allows attendees to submit questions to the presenter throughout the event which will be answered during a Q&A session immediately following the presentation.  If a question is not addressed within the allotted time, attendees will receive an answer via email.  In addition, we will post previously aired episodes in an archived section here on our website and on our YouTube channel for on-demand viewing.  

As fulfillment operations adapt to major transformative forces, such as e-commerce, omnichannel retail and supply integration, we're excited to provide the industry with an educational forum to help us assess the challenges and collaborate to create effective solutions.  We hope you'll join us in this important effort.  Now, on to our first webinar...

Responding to labor management challenges in an omnichannel world

Our industry is experiencing significant labor challenges.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 60 million baby boomers will exit the workforce by 2025, while only 40 million will be entering the labor pool.  Another report by Bain & Company states that 25 percent of warehouse supervisors are older than 55 years old.  The result is what's referred to as a "hollowed-out" workforce.

Jason Franklin, our labor management and business intelligent expert, will lead the first installment of On The Move.  Jason has a deep understanding of labor challenges modern fulfillment operators face.  From the skilled labor shortage and competitive wage pressures to high turnover and seasonal demands, distribution centers are experiencing a labor crisis at a time when service level expectations are higher than ever.  He will discuss several approaches to maximizing the engagement of the available worforce through labor management system (LMS) technologies that drive a commitment to accuracy, speed and productivity.

Among the topics Jason will discuss include:

  • Incentivizing performance to deliver increased productivity and accuracy
  • Creating an environment of employee engagement through commitment to their success
  • Leveraging LMS systems to improve the onboarding process
  • Rewarding high-performing associates to instill healthy competition
  • Using analytics to identify employees who may need additional training
  • Providing equipment and tools to help employees thrive

We hope you'll join us on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. EST for our inaugural On The Move webinar episode.  To learn about the latest labor and performance management technologies, click here to register for this important and timely event.

Five considerations when choosing an LMS

Labor management software (LMS) is an important investment for any distribution center (DC) operation.  Choosing the right software provider can mean the difference between reaping the many LMS benefits and overinvesting in a solution that's incapable of meeting your organization's short- and long-term fulfillment requirements.  As a leading LMS vendor and single-source provider of automated material handling solutions, Intelligrated can help you accomplish more with fewer resources and quickly deliver a return on your software investment.  

Intelligrated GoalPost® LMS is designed to help you quickly get the most out of your workforce.  So if you're looking to transform the productivity of your fulfillment associates, here are five things to consider when choosing an LMS.

1. Built-in labor standards — LMS integration largely depends on having engineered labor standards in place. Many vendors are unable to take advantage of LMS benefits until they’ve developed labor standards — a process that can take months. Intelligrated GoalPost gets to work immediately with built-in reasonable labor expectations that allow you to benefit from the LMS while precise labor standards are being developed.

2. Integration capabilities — Many LMS programs are offered as an add-on to a proprietary WMS, and are only capable of integrating with data in that system. Intelligrated GoalPost LMS is “system neutral” and capable of integrating with data from any system. Whether you’re already using a WMS, a homegrown system or looking to integrate with Intelligrated’s warehouse execution system (WES) software, GoalPost LMS integrates quickly with the system of your choice. And as your business changes to meet omnichannel demands, GoalPost LMS adapts and scales to meet your specific requirements.

3. Performance incentives — Calculating individual productivity and establishing benchmarks with which to incentivize performance are vital functions of any LMS. Intelligrated GoalPost LMS supports the continuous evolution of performance improvement initiatives with the ability to add or amend incentives as a program matures. This allows you to align individual, team and training goals with changing business-level objectives.

4. Coaching and mentoring — There are many ways to improve the productivity of your workforce, but proper coaching and mentoring are among the most effective. This is made possible by the ability to track productivity on-demand and through user-defined performance criteria. Intelligrated GoalPost LMS allows you to maximize training opportunities through the early identification of top performers and underachievers. You can also leverage this data to create a culture of transparency, healthy competition and fairness where individual performance tracking is made known across the organization.

5. Proven vendor status — Choosing an effective LMS for your order fulfillment operations is a strategic business decision. Not only do you need to make sure that all the required functionality is in place, you also need the assurance of working with a partner who has the experience to understand your objectives and evolve with your changing demands. Only Intelligrated has the broad spectrum of expertise to provide material handling equipment and warehouse execution system software that adapts to your needs. When you choose Intelligrated GoalPost LMS, you’re selecting a single-source partner who can maximize the efficiency and productivity of your entire order fulfillment operations.

While these aren't the only important criteria when selecting an LMS provider, they are five mandatory elements that could mean the difference between surviving and thriving in an omnichannel world.  So if you're evaluating your options, be sure to contact us to learn more about what GoalPost LMS can do for you.

Workforce challenges? LMS helps operations do more with less

The MHI U.S. Material Handling and Logistics roadmap indicates a shrinking pool of qualified labor and high turnover rates due to retiring baby boomers and a lack of skilled younger workers to replace them. As turnover increases, competition for labor drives higher base wages, leading businesses to place a premium on improved employee performance and measurable returns on workforce investment. 
 
For operations with more than 50 employees working the floor, labor management software (LMS) can deliver significant performance gains beyond basic in-house tools and the addition of extra staff. With automated functionality, in-depth reporting and thorough analysis, it frees management to look beyond simple labor tracking to unlock new levels of productivity that eclipse the capabilities of alternative solutions. 
 
Investment in LMS helps management and employees to:
 
Understand corporate objectives
An effective LMS implementation simplifies communication of strategic goals, expectations and actual operational metrics. This infuses transparency into worker performance evaluation by enabling employees to understand their achievements in relation to business objectives. This transparency eliminates discontent due to perceptions of unfairness or allegations of favoritism and boosts worker confidence, ultimately reducing turnover and improving labor performance. 
 
Increase engagement
By connecting employee output with business goals, LMS fuels career development and improves overall employee engagement. With engineered labor standards, employees work towards clearly-defined, realistic targets with the confidence that their actions yield both personal and operational benefit. This approach produces consistent individual development that results in benefit for the entire operation as overall throughput improves with incremental individual gains. 
 
Discover new opportunities for improvement
LMS automatically tracks labor and provides extensive reporting and analysis to release supervisors from the time-consuming burden of manual reporting. This frees management to spend time coaching and observing employees to take remedial action and identify process improvements to implement with the rest of the workforce.  As DCs look for the most efficient way to utilize scarce labor, a robust LMS can also look beyond a single facility and leverage the entire distribution network, helping management to discover new opportunities for consistent, year-over-year improvement and make more informed decisions that maximize available labor.
 
Use analytics to make your business smarter
As operations extract productivity and efficiency gains from individual locations, they can compare multiple facilities within their distribution network according to overall output, individual processes and labor performance. Even if some facilities have different names for the same process, an LMS can execute apples-to-apples comparisons by equating different names with the same function. For example, the same process may be known as “receiving” in a manual facility, but be called “induction” in an automated DC. On the ground, these multisite analytics encourage healthy competition against other locations across the country, rather than potentially damaging rivalries amongst co-workers in the same facility.
 
Optimize labor to face the challenges of tomorrow
For an industry in flux, the flexibility of LMS positions it to solve today’s labor challenges and adapt to emerging issues. Labor is the most flexible fulfillment tool in the distribution arsenal, and LMS offers the most efficient means to tailor the workforce to meet operational challenges. Whether onboarding new employees, updating experienced workers or incentivizing process improvements, LMS offers an effective platform to drive a culture of individual accountability and continuous improvement.
 
For more information on improving workforce efficiency and productivity, read the Intelligrated white paper: Do more with less: How to thrive in a challenging labor market.
 
 

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The information you provide is solely used by Intelligrated. Intelligrated will not distribute email addresses to third party organizations. For more information, please read our Privacy Information.