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Expert Insight: On Labor Management Systems in Distribution
  By Noah Dixon , VP of Product Management, Catalyst International  
  July 13, 2007  

Labor Management Systems (LMS) are not Just for the Warehouse Any More

  It's Time to Think about Labor Management (LMS) in much Broader Terms  

This article was originally publshed in The Supply Chain Digest Letter, our hardcopy newsletter focused on a single topic each month (June, 2007 issue on Labor Management Systems). To subscribe to the SCDigest Letter (free for qualified professionals), click here. To view of Labor Management System Resource page, click here: Labor Management System (LMS) Information and Resources.

For a long time, labor management solutions (LMS) for distribution have been shrouded in a kind of secrecy. These software tool sets were originally developed by Industrial Engineers on personal computers and have focused tightly and in depth on warehouse operations.

Dixon Says:
Labor management then must be an enterprise application and not hidden in the warehouse.

What do you say? Send us your comments here

Rightfully so. That focus has resulted in the low-risk, high-ROI solution for improving performance and throughput. Today, the market is maturing and LMS is being accepted by more than just the Grocery industry as a supply chain application.

Labor is a basic distribution cost and constraint (labor, inventory, transportation and assets) and is probably the most variable of the four at least in North America and Europe. A company’s labor investment needs broader visibility and a larger domain. As work flows down and across the distribution network labor is committed and becomes significant constraint to customer service. The commitment is warehouse labor for order fulfillment and value added services but also yard labor, driver capacity and dwell time commitments.

Source: Catalyst International

As work is committed and performed, the accuracy of the estimate and subsequently the capacity of the network as a whole will drive out opportunities. Labor management then must be an enterprise application and not hidden in the warehouse. The information labor management presents needs to start with forecast and progressively improve in accuracy to plan for work that is being committed, goal time and finally the standard for the individual task. This is the approach taken by Catalyst International with Labor Management.

Agree or disgree with our expert's perspective? What would you add? Let us know your thoughts for publication in the SCDigest newsletter Feedback section, and on the web site. Upon request, comments will be posted with the respondents name or company withheld.

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