In last week’s blog, we examined the causes and impacts of the labor shortage on the supply chain. As we know, there are a number of reasons for the impending labor shortage, including changing demographics, skill sets and unemployment benefits. There are also a number of ways that companies can mitigate the labor shortage’s effects on their business’s bottom line.
What Your Company Can Do to Make Up for Lack of Workers
Businesses throughout the supply chain are having to adapt and get creative to deal with the labor shortage. LTL shippers are no different. However, there are some things that companies can do to help mitigate the effects of the worker shortage.
Implement automation technology. By utilizing a transportation management system equipped with carrier APIs, your company will reduce the time it takes to compare rate quotes, book shipments, retrieve order documents and manage billings. The use of APIs can also replace the lengthy and time-consuming annual RFP process, allowing workers to focus on other functions. These efficiencies help reduce the time and number of employees needed to do these day-to-day tasks, allowing your company to use personnel more effectively (Read more about the benefits of freight-pricing APIs here.)
There are additional automation technology solutions that your company can implement to save even more employee time and better utilize your workforce. This may include a warehouse visibility platform, a labor management solution, freight bill management and more.
Train and incentivize your existing workforce. By employing more technology, you will free up labor resources. Therefore, you will have existing employees that you can train to use the technology or focus on other more pressing tasks. Determine the best way to utilize your existing talent through skills tests or open training sessions for current entry-level staff members to move them into more skilled positions. As discussed in our previous blog, there is a lack of skilled workers, so you will be more likely to fill entry-level positions if you train from within. Through this type of analysis, you may also find that some employees can handle more responsibility and will jump at the opportunity, especially when offered a higher salary.
Additionally, offer your existing workforce incentives to stay on or work overtime. While a number of companies are offering sign-on bonuses, there is evidence to show that these incentives are poaching workers from other companies and not doing anything to solve the labor shortage. If your company does not incentivize the people you already have on staff, you risk losing them to a competitor or other supply chain company.
Use temporary workers. If your company has seasonal ebbs and flows, consider using temporary workers to fill in when necessary. Temp workers are often available for office and warehouse work and typically work in the same organization for a few days or a few months at a time. The staffing firm handles all vetting and hiring paperwork while your company simply pays the staffing company. It is less expensive and time-consuming than bringing on a full-time employee.
Protect Your Company from Labor Shortage Deficits
While the immediate outlook on the labor shortage is worrisome, there are some silver linings. By identifying the issues and solutions to them, your company is ahead of the pack. If you follow through on implementing automation technology and solutions, your company will be prepared for the future and be able to reallocate its existing staff to make up for some of the shortage.