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Fool Me Once…

There’s an old adage, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…shame on me”.   Side note, I can’t help but read that in George W Bush’s accent and chuckle.  Looking at the world around us, it’s safe to say industry and society were collectively taken by surprise.  The effects are evident across everything from the price of crude, to the number of jobless claims, to the visible impact on the supply chain.  Despite all of that, manufacturers and distributors are still being called on to answer the bell and produce and deliver goods with minimal disruption.  

Well, Mrs./Mr. Operations Manager, VP of Operations, Plant Manager, LEAN leader, Head of HR, etc. …are you going to get fooled again? Demand has always been unpredictable, true, but rarely, if ever, have we witnessed what has occurred during this pandemic – a massive surge for some goods and an instant plummet for others.  As we see gradual, phased re-openings across the country (see TX, FL, GA, etc.) the typical year-over-year models for demand forecasting will be all but useless.  Certain verticals and the supporting industries will continue to feel lingering effects, while others will see a rapid second wave of demand increase.  Which category are you in?

Things will scale up for us

If you think your volume will climb, does it make sense to do now what you’ve done in the years prior?  More volume, more hiring, right?  The answer…maybe.  If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt what the next few months hold for your business and your industry, then absolutely, you should hire to meet the sustained portion of the anticipated demand (I mean, you’re certain after all). However, if you are uncertain, and I’ll define that, if you believe you could be at least +/- 5% off in your projection, then you need to strongly consider an alternative.  Think being 95% accurate is good enough?  5% excess labor for even a few months can totally erode your profit margins.  A 5% shortage can create backlog, customer dissatisfaction, and lead to employee burnout.  

Don’t see an uptick coming soon?

If you expect to be flat, or even down, then you definitely need to get agile, and you need to do it right now.  You can’t afford to put your operation at risk.  Does this mean use harsh calculus and discard valued employees?  Absolutely not.  It does, however, mean that you need to position the organization and the employees for success (see previous blog Retaining Your Workforce Amidst Uncertainty).  

Solution

How can Veryable help?  Veryable is already enabling thousands of businesses to scale their labor force daily, based on demand.  Never risk being over or understaffed, never watch talent walk out the door because your volume is down, and never dissatisfy a customer because of something you can control.  Get started today.

Nick Parrish

Written by Nick Parrish