Applications and Perceptions of Workforce Management Systems for Warehouse Operation - Results and Findings from Expert Interviews

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Abstract

Workforce management represents a crucial element of today’s warehouse operations. Due to volatile market dynamics and uncertain customer demands, the need for flexible and adaptive warehouse practices is especially urgent in the retail sector. High fluctuation rates in workforce demand are just one side effect of these developments. The current paper analyzes the application and perception of Workforce Management Systems (WMS) in practice as one approach to counteract these issues and enable flexible warehouse operations. By means of an online survey and a detailed set of expert interviews, we analyze the current use of WMS and information items in retail. We investigate design and time horizons of workforce planning processes as well as forecasts and summarize main expectations and requirements of WMS from practitioners’ point-of-view. Our results show highly diverse usage patterns of systems with a strong emphasis on spreadsheet tools like MS Excel. The integration of legislation on working hours, qualification of employees and individual working time arrangements / contract details were mentioned as exemplary key information items of WMS. The typical time horizon of workforce planning for most participants was three months. Key requirements for an ideal WMS include the depiction of qualification profiles, productivity of individual employees, forecasting features, simulation-optimization tools to find best possible solutions with given workforce, automated planning as well as bottleneck reduction and handling. The results of our paper provide practitioners with an overview of expert opinions, present opportunities for system development, and provide future research tasks in WMS for warehouse operation.
Translated title of the contributionAnwendungen und Erwartungen an Workforce Management Systeme für den Lagerbetrieb - Ergebnisse und Erkenntnisse aus Experteninterviews
Original languageEnglish
JournalProcedia Computer Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

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