“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. I bet you didn’t think I could fit a quote from Mike Tyson into a blog about labor planning. But the truth is, this quote really hits home for me when it comes to designing labor models and demand forecasting.
In a previous life, I managed and planned labor for a distribution center that fulfilled e-commerce orders. I spent a lot of time building different labor models to fit a wide variety of demand plans. I worked for a great company that allowed me access to multiple tools to help me succeed. But no matter how complex or how many inputs I put into the plan, there was always a certain level of difficulty in making that plan become a reality. It could never be executed 100% because in a world driven by so many outside factors, there’s simply too much unpredictability. I mean, you try and predict how many Tom Brady Buccaneers jerseys are going to be sold on Tuesday, April 4th. I would find myself putting together a plan on Friday and already be tweaking it on Monday. Plain and simple, I got punched in the mouth and needed to adjust.
What’s the solution?
Now don’t get me wrong, forecasting is a beneficial and needed practice when planning operations. Simply doing it allows you to measure and understand your business more and allows to incrementally build upon your benchmarks. However, it needs to be partnered with the necessary tools to alleviate any fluctuations in your business. Highlighted by one of our previous blogs “Forecasting versus Flexibility”, our co-founder and CEO, Mike Kinder, talks through this balance perfectly. He mentions how forecasting accuracy tends to decrease the more granular you get. And that’s when you need to kick in the flexibility piece.
To relate this to labor planning, I’ll give you an example. Forecasting a full-time headcount based on your quarterly or annual demand is a fruitful experience. Using these broader demand trends, find the minimum number you need (note how I didn’t say average), allowing you to be as efficient as possible during lower peaks in demand. However, predicting the upcoming day-to-day demand spikes and managing that with your fixed amount of labor is near impossible. This is where you need operational flexibility. This is where Veryable comes in.
Labor Intelligence Tool:
I’m excited to announce that Veryable is launching the first component of our labor intelligence tool that will help you optimize your labor needs. This tool will teach you how to identify your daily labor needs to be able to scale up and down with demand. It then links to our on-demand labor marketplace to allow you to fill those labor needs. Not only are we teaching you the proper inputs to map out your labor needs, but our marketplace then provides you with the outputs to realize those savings. It’s truly a one-stop shop for operational needs – you’ll see increased efficiency, quicker lead times, and reduction in OT.
And the best part? It’s free and easy to use. The Veryable platform is unique as it’s an operational tool where you don’t need to calculate an ROI for it. It’s not something where you need to invest your capital, design and build it for months, and then wait for years after deployment just to see a return on your investment. No, optimizing your labor allows you to see the benefits immediately. We’re giving a tool to beat the roadblocks thrown your way, now go punch back!
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