Intelligent workforce management in Manufacturing

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February 27, 2020

It seems like you can’t look at any enterprise software solution that doesn’t mention Artificial Intelligence (AI) these days. Everyone is touting their AI this or AI that. It’s the buzzword of the Industry 4.0 world and while most of this is likely hype more than substance, Infor is doing something extremely unique. We’re connecting the entire manufacturing framework to maximize an employee’s time on the shop floor.

There are so many factors to consider in any given skilled position on the manufacturing floor, including:

  1. Certifications
  2. Safety courseware
  3. Line up and maintenance
  4. Parts/materials availability
  5. Enough people to staff the line
  6. People nearing overtime
  7. Vacation planning
  8. Holiday scheduling
  9. Labor contract compliance
  10. Production volume requirements (seasonal or otherwise)
  11. And more

The list is almost endless. Enter artificial intelligence. From Infor’s perspective, an intelligent workforce management platform connects to all the underlying systems in the organization and automatically manages every aspect of the schedule, demand requirements and the ability of the resources to perform the tasks at hand. The savings by avoiding non-productive time are saving companies hundreds of thousands of hours per year in productivity time by predicting time costs before they happen.

Modern workforce management can identify issues before they happen. Some common scenarios include:

  • Scheduling around line maintenance windows so that workers aren’t sitting idle.
  • Automatically accounting for needed overages in scheduling to account for attendance issues.
  • Just in time resource movement across the shop floor based on skills needed for any given seat.
  • Demand planning all the way to the recruiting system to account for upcoming resource demand and output needs.

But let’s take all the pure cost avoidance and savings out of the equation for one minute. Think about the effect this can have on morale and retention. Most workers can relate with being asked to come into work unexpectedly or have come into work only to find out the tools needed to do the work aren’t there. It’s frustrating and has a huge effect on retention and employee morale. In a recent survey we conducted, almost 100% of respondents experienced these issues and in 60% of the cases, it resulted in a negative perception of their employer and over 30% of those people were considering a job change or moved because of these sorts of issues. That’s huge and if you are still doing your schedules on paper or in excel, you are likely having similar issues within your organization.

In summary, the modern workforce is more engaged and appreciates an employer’s respect for their valuable time. It’s time to start thinking about using tools like AI to improve productivity, optimize performance and save money.

Michael Brandt, Director WFM for Major Accounts, Infor

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