How Automation Can Solve the Warehouse Labor Crisis

Today’s warehouse labor crisis impacts the productivity and efficiency of supply chains. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings in the manufacturing industry doubled in 2017. While several factors may impact the warehouse labor crisis, one key issue that stands out is the  lack of sufficient candidates to fill skilled positions in the manufacturing industry. However, automation provides a sufficient solution to the warehouse labor crisis. Here are a few ways automation can resolve this issue:

1. Barcode-Driven Shipping

Without skilled workers to ensure the correct items and packages are going to the right locations, warehouse managers risk slowing down productivity. However, barcode-driven shipping helps to improve this process. In fact, research highlights various benefits of barcode-driven shipping in the apparel supply chain, including enhancing operational efficiency and enabling workflow visualization.

Warehouse managers can leverage smart automation tools like ShipWorks’ Single Scan to support barcode-driven scanning and take care of common shipping tasks with a single scan. For instance, ShipWorks’ Single Scan tool helps warehouse employees to automate processing shipping labels, printing packing slips, finding and loading orders, and completing other typical shipping tasks with accuracy and efficiency.

2. Scan-based Quality Control

Warehouse managers must ensure their customers are receiving the right packages. However, human error can also adversely impact fulfilling shipments correctly. Scan-based quality control helps reduce this issue by helping to increase efficiency and accuracy. For example, warehouse managers can leverage ShipWorks’ Single Scan tool to print shipping labels automatically following order verification to ensure the correct packages are shipped to the right location.

3. Intelligent Order Routing

It’s important for warehouse managers to use data to enhance the decisions they make for improved warehouse workflow, including knowing the best fulfillment center to use for meeting delivery windows for new orders. Shipping coordinators can help manage the flow of data and provide insight via reports that they generate and present. In lieu of shipping coordinators due to labor shortage, warehouse managers can rely on automation via intelligent order routing. By incorporating automation in their workflow using intelligent order routing, warehouse managers can save time in gathering the insight they need to improve fulfilling orders. For instance, warehouse managers can use ShipWorks’ Enterprise Warehouse program and input automation rules and actions to automate locating the best fulfillment centers to route orders to based on business needs. This helps to streamline the fulfillment process and saves time to maintain productivity levels.

4. Automated Rate Comparison 

Part of ensuring a consistent warehouse workflow, that is also cost-efficient, calls for warehouse managers knowing the best carriers to use to ship their products at the ideal rate. However, when warehouses rely on shipping coordinators to find these rates, they risk slowing down their workflow. For instance, ShipWorks’ platform simplifies comparing various rates with its Best Rate tool—an automated rate comparison feature. The tool enables warehouse managers and shipping coordinators to plan efficiently and locate carriers that can best deliver packages within their preferred delivery timeframe. This becomes especially crucial when warehouse managers must fulfill shipments in a short timeframe, such as fulfilling orders for customers who pay for one-day shipping. The tool also allows shipping coordinators to calculate the best rate based on weight and the dimension of the packages.

Final Thoughts

Even with a shortage of warehouse workers to fulfill orders and shipment tasks, warehouse managers can leverage automation to manage the workflow of their warehouse. The key is to find a tool that facilitates the automation support they need. Warehouse managers should consider shipping platforms from reputable companies to automate common shipping tasks, such as ShipWorks. Warehouse managers can contact ShipWorks to learn more about the various automation features available to help enhance their workflow during a work labor crisis and beyond.

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