Nothing breeds skepticism in business tools quite as quickly as a tightly-managed budget. Whether management teams and the C-suite are being cautious with time or money in terms of resources, the pushback for implementing important systems can be considerable.
- “It costs too much.”
- “We don’t have time to gather up the metrics we need to get started.”
- “We’re already using measurement tools that work fine.”
- “Our workforce won’t understand this or may resist using it.”
These are the most common phrases we hear in resistance to implementing a labor management system, or LMS. While an eloquent case can be made for the operational efficiency it has to offer to your various in-house workflows; it can be an uphill battle convincing budget-holders, without a chance to demonstrate application and benefits. That's why you need to be sure that an LMS is an actual positive for your company before you pursue folding it into your operations.
Who Benefits From an LMS?
Unsurprisingly, employee volume leads the list of smart candidates for an LMS—simply put, smaller companies just won't get as much muscle-flexing at scale as their larger, more complex peers. An LMS is designed to bring order to the often chaotic process of directing, allocating, and balancing team members, and the more team members in the equation, the more substantial the results. Coming in at a close second are companies that have high labor expenses—again, more to work with means more to accomplish.
What Supports an LMS?
The one element that will immediately make or break an LMS implementation is employee buy-in. Like any system, if some of the moving parts are neglected or ignored entirely, the momentum dies out, and the entire system becomes a liability rather than an asset. If you anticipate a large amount of your committed team will start searching for workarounds or cutting corners rather than mentally investing in the process, save your company the budget heartache and find another solution. A good LMS won't require an inordinate amount of training and should be carefully chosen to closely align with your current processes, at least as much as possible.
What Will an LMS Provide?
In a word? Focus. A labor management system helps you tighten up loose ends to polish your receiving, pick lines, and even budget forecasting. It also delivers insight—some passively actionable, some of the "uncomfortable spotlight" variety that will help you assign coaching and managerial assistance to employees falling behind the curve. It will help your team decide how to fill shifts to reduce labor shortages and surpluses, both of which have significant negative impacts on your bottom line over time.
When the time comes to improve the training and capability of your workforce, your LMS will also offer a transparent roster of which courses or classes have been completed by which team members. This ensures that no employee "falls through the cracks" on important courses like safety training or efficiency coaching.
You'll know the status of your entire team at a glance, which makes it easier to plan out large-scale projects and determine how your workflows will look from one quarter to the next.
How Do I Find the Right LMS?
The right LMS for your business should have a track record—and ideally testimonials from companies your size or larger. Larger price tags do not necessarily mean that a system will be a better fit—in fact, price tags shouldn't be used as a guide at all, if possible. The focus should instead be on ease of transition:
- Does this system require my team to learn new hardware or software?
- Will I have ready access to support if something isn't working or I need assistance?
- Can this program act as a "plug and play" tool for my operation, or will it need customization?
- Does this program interface with of my other existing systems in a beneficially?
- Will the C-suite find value in the reports this LMS offers?
The last thing you want from your LMS is a tool that ends up creating more work instead of reducing it. If it feels as if you need to "shoehorn" an LMS into your warehouse, chances are it isn't a good fit for your needs. It's important that you don't force it, even on a trial basis, if you don't feel an LMS can honestly add value to your team and your management approach.
If you've found an LMS that seems promising, don't hesitate to request system demos to see what it can do for your management approach. Weigh pros and cons with updated research and ROI calculations, as well as input from your staff, and you'll know in relatively short order if you've found the right match for your business needs.
To Sum It Up
When you're ready to start your search for an LMS that fits your warehouse perfectly, get in touch with Kenco, where we're happy to leverage our expertise and experience to help your company succeed. To learn more about new technology that could benefit your supply chain, check out our eBook, New Supply Chain Technology - Best Practices.