T4S2 Are Your Labor Standards Engineered…or Just Screwed Together
I am often asked to provide qualifications of the primary custodian (subject matter expert) of a company's Labor Management System and Engineered Labor Standards. The typical response to that question by my peers and competitors is an Industrial Engineer. Today's engineering colleges DO NOT provide Industrial Engineers with the training to develop and maintain Engineered Labor Standards. Most accredited engineering schools will offer only one 3-hour credit hour course in work measurement over the entire four year degree plan. Few, if any, of these schools provide for an accompanying lab course to provide practical experience in developing Engineered Labor Standards. Today's Industrial Engineers will not come to work out of school with practical knowledge and experience of Labor Management Systems and Engineered Labor Standards. Aries Consulting has a history of following this important principle: "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. "Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime." Consequently, ACL utilizes a company's Labor Management System and Engineered Labor Standards implementations to provide its clients' staff with this practical knowledge and experience. Our experience has shown that the typical experienced supervisor will become the best subject matter expert of a company's Labor Management System. Furthermore, the knowledge and experience gained from this role will ensure the development of a stronger, more effective manager in years to come. The Labor Management System and Engineered Labor Standards SME should be a pass through role for every supervisor before they are promoted to a managers position. The knowledge and perspective gained from this role ensures your company a significantly more effective management team in the future. Aries Consulting can assist your company in building a stronger, more effective management team through [...]
Migrating Engineered Labor Standards from one Labor Management System to another can be daunting. Even some of the most experienced and knowledgeable Engineered Labor Standards users misunderstand the complexity of moving Engineered Labor Standards from one Labor Management System to another. Engineered Labor Standards are very sensitive to changes in Warehouse Management System and the Labor Management System. One cannot simply port time values from one system to another to achieve accurate labor standards on the new system. Often a new WMS will incorporate changes in order processing and/or provide for changes in the operational processes. Examples: If the system processes orders differently resulting in different pick sequences within the physical selection process, the labor standards may need to change as pick sequence changes result in a differing effort for selectors to build pallets. If the system now provides for forklift interleaving (combining putaway and replenishment work), physical travel characteristics will change and the equipment speeds in the LMS must change. A new LMS may incorporate changes travel path calculation or additional functionality to provide improved labor standard accuracy. Examples: No LMS perfectly mimics the actual travel speed and path in the physical warehouse. Consequently the travel speeds must be adjusted for this variation. If the new LMS changes the travel path calculation, the adjusted travel speeds from the previous LMS will not be accurate. An LMS that provides for a single pallet handling time for a selector may have new functionality that provides pallet handling based on the pallet cube allowing one to provide a more accurate representation of the pallet wrapping times. In this case the original pallet handling time will not accurately support the new functionality. The bottomline: When moving from one [...]
Over the years, I have found that most warehouse operations utilize gain sharing/ incentives to reward associates for above average productivity. Unfortunately, they usually do not include customer service, quality, accuracy, and safety as parameters in those plans. Engineered Labor Standards are developed to provide sufficient time for the associate to perform their work within the warehouse's customer service, quality, accuracy, and safety guidelines. Still managers are reluctant at times to hold their associates accountable for performance to the Engineered Labor Standards --particularly in those areas requiring the utmost quality and accuracy. Their concern is that the gain share/incentive plan will reward sloppy work. In fact, their concerns are warranted. The answer to this problem lies in developing a gain share/incentive plan that rewards customer service, quality, accuracy, and safety. One should never reward productivity alone without also providing countervailing rewards that prevent haphazard, unsafe work. Contact Aries Consulting for a comprehensive review of your company's gain share/incentive system. ACL has assisted several of its clients in developing comprehensive gain share/incentive plans the enhance productivity but not at the detriment of customer service, quality, accuracy, and safety.
Installing a Tier 1 Labor Management System and implementing Engineering Labor Standards provides a reliable Return-On-Investment for any operation. It is not unusual to fully pay back the entire project cost within one year. The impact on the P&L is substantial. The impact on the people can be earth shattering. A Three-legged Stool A Labor Management System implementation project is truly a three-legged stool. Success requires that all three legs completely support the project. The three legs are: the technology, the engineering, and the people. If any leg falters the stool tips and project success is at risk. Unfortunately, most companies tend to focus primarily on the technology and the engineering when developing the project plan. Generally, the people aspect is left out entirely or severely under resourced. Consequently, the stool tips at project go-live and a great deal of time and treasure is spent righting the stool. Often the creditability of the management team and the LMS is damaged. The thorough development, execution, and resourcing of a Change Management plan is the only way to ensure the structural integrity of the third leg, the people. The Associate’s Perspective My supervisor has told me for years that I am a good employee. Every week I meet or exceed my supervisor’s productivity requirements on the jobs that are measured. I enjoy the pace of my job as it allows me to go to break early, return late, and I usually find time between measured jobs to keep up with what is going on in the lives of my coworkers. Although I have to keep a steady pace when on a measured job, there is sufficient opportunity between jobs to relax and socialize. My workplace provides me [...]