The modern warehouse employee can come from a vast variety of different backgrounds and have different outlooks and abilities. With so many factors in mind, a warehouse manager's job is to turn a diverse group of people into powerhouse of productivity.
The United States is a nation of immigrants, and language barriers have been obstacles in the workforce since its earliest days. In today's distribution center (DC), even the most advanced warehouse management systems (WMS) are designed for English speakers. Communication is key in leadership, and dealing with different literacy levels, genders, ages and cultural backgrounds can complicate training and managing employees. When huge employee turnover or peak workloads call for temporary workers to be thrown into the mix, the modern warehouse manager has a big challenge of keeping up with production goals and standards.
Some DCs have started using translation technology or the buddy system to keep communication lines open and everything running shipshape. Hiring bilingual employees or requiring managers to have some training in foreign languages can also help.
Even when everyone is on the same page and speaks the same language, DCs face challenges when they hire temporary employees for peak seasons or for special projects. Those employees need to be brought up to speed quickly to meet the demands of the workload.
Warehouses with high turnover face similar issues. Managers are constantly training new people and getting them to meet productivity standards in little time.
Temps should do the simplest task with the smallest amount of steps. A DC's core group of employees can handle complicated, multi-step projects during periods of light or average work volume.
Temporary staffing agencies send people with varying results. Analytic software can help managers determine which agencies send the best and most productive workers.
With so much diveristy in terms of background, languages, attitude and ability, it can be difficult for the modern DC to put together a dream team of employees. With the right tools and systems in place, managers can work with what they have, and get results.