Workforce management: Software solution sets work standards

New workforce management solution boosts Briggs & Stratton distribution center productivity nearly 20% in two weeks.

By ·

Briggs & Stratton is the world’s largest producer of air-cooled gasoline engines—engines that can be found in everything from lawn mowers to racecars.

Every year, the company’s replacement parts division ships about 26 million pieces worldwide from a 300,000-square-foot distribution center in Menomonee Falls, Wisc. The location handles more than 80,000 SKUs, representing $32 million in inventory.

Yet, despite the volume of product moving through both Briggs & Stratton facilities, standardized procedures were not in place for associates to follow while performing their job responsibilities or for measuring productivity. “We realized we needed standardized methods for doing work in the DC,” says Bill Harlow, director of distribution operations.

The company implemented a workforce management software solution (RedPrairie, http://www.redprairie.com) to face the standardization challenge.  From the outset, the company involved employees in the process and drew from their experience to define preferred methods and practices. 

The supplier delivered a comprehensive workforce management software platform including preferred methods for performing each task and discrete labor standards incorporating machine-based timing. They also provided a “Time & Incentives” solution to reward employees.

Within a month of going live, Briggs & Stratton was able to reduce their pick, pack and ship headcount by about 18% while maintaining throughput. Soon after, performance improved to 100% to 110% of standard.

The new software solution enabled the company to overcome employee turnover by providing job methods and training procedures that help associates to learn quickly and work more effectively. 

“Since the system works the way we work, training became a very simple process.  We integrated it with our internal scheduling system so everything is driven from the picking or packaging work order. We estimate [that solution has] saved us about a million dollars,” says John Guy, vice president of supply chain and distribution. 

With the new methods and standards in place, the company can measure each associate accurately and fairly. In addition to fewer quality and safety problems, most associates claim it’s fairly easy to make 100% of goal once they learned the preferred method.


About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Mobile Solutions: Improving Supply Chain Efficiencies
To meet customer's ever-increasing service expectations and improve their business efficiency, companies are looking to their supply chain operations – especially material handling and warehouse operations managers.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
In warehouses and DCs, planning solutions tend to take a back seat to execution system functions. Vendors are working to boost the trust factor using tools that break down forecasts and blend with analytics.
Automated Storage on the Move
Receiving 101: Setting the Table for Success
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Johnson & Johnson: A vision for automation
J&J Vision Care brings together a variety of automated technologies, including an innovative...
Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...

System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...
System Report: Whirlpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...