Recently, we were part of a team that helped a logistics provider improve the efficiency of their cross-dock labor. West Monroe was brought in to help them identify improvements that would reduce overall operating costs and meet ever increasing customer demands around service and quality. In addition, the client was looking for a roadmap that addressed not just how to improve, but also how to scale the rollout for future sites.
During our initial assessment, we identified a 20% improvement opportunity in labor, which we achieved at the two pilot sites within six months of implementation. However, our client worried about how to achieve that same improvement level across all of its 200+ cross-docks.
Change is never easy. And consistency is key.
At the two pilot sites, we worked alongside the client’s engineers onsite for multiple months. This approach created the tools and foundation for the remainder of the implementation, but it was not a timeline that made economic sense across their entire network. The client wanted that same productivity level achieved – but in far less time and led by their internal engineering team. The challenge became how to implement Engineered Labor Standards based on the pilot locations while still considering site-specific differences. Details such as dock size and time clock locations needed to be obtained and considered while offsite and accounted for in the existing standards without a significant amount of re-engineering at each site. This approach would allow the internal team to update the standards for each site quickly while keeping their primary focus on training each site’s management team and workforce on the new program and related tools.
These site-specific nuances were built into the Engineered Labor Standards “toolkit” we created. This toolkit equipped the client’s engineering team to lead a network-wide implementation of this same program across the remainder of their freight network without the need for substantial and costly re-engineering at each location. The toolkit consisted of:
- Site Questionnaire: Requests all the information needed to build site-specific standards using information provided by site management
- Dock Travel Matrix: Creates time standards for on-dock travel
- Engineered Labor Standards Calculator: Calculates time standards for all dock activities
With the implementation toolkit and templates in hand, the client’s internal engineering team is now empowered to implement the workforce optimization program at multiple sites. Utilizing this approach that leverages the tools created and refined over multiple months at the pilot locations will allow the client to implement future sites in less than a month. The lower per site implementation cost and shortened implementation timeframe will allow the client to realize results faster as they work to implement this solution across their network.