Staffing flexibility – 4 principles you should know

I just got home from a great workshop with a client.
The main topic was to increase the agility in their supply chain. A major part of that is how to achieve higher staffing flexibility.

Here are 4 key takeaways from the solution we developed:

Know your flexibility need
Recognizing that our forecasts are inherently uncertain, we conducted a thorough analysis of their accuracy. In this way, we identified the degree of flexibility our supply chain needs to fill the gaps between predictions and reality. This was our outset to start crafting targeted strategies to enhance the supply chain’s adaptability.

Flex Your Workforce Muscles
To turn the strategies into operations, we created a comprehensive workforce playbook. This included detailed tactics for each lever to adjust our working hours – hire/fire, flex time, employing temporary staff, managing overtime, etc. 

By predefining the operational guidelines for these levers, we equipped management with tools to respond swiftly and efficiently to any changes in demand. An example is the simple tool calculating manning requirements directly linked to these levers, ensuring the workforce remains robust and with available flexibility in all situations. 

Procedure is King
We handled the changes in demand by transforming the strategies, and tactics into procedures with clear guidelines and action points, so it was clear when to use which lever, who is responsible, and how to follow up. In this way we eliminated indecision, and delays and enabled easy follow-up. This significantly reduced costs and minimized uncertainty within the organization. The procedures were designed for quick and effective decision-making, allowing swift adaption to changes in demands with greater agility. 

Communicate upfront
A key focus was improving communication, particularly around financial targets, and productivity goals. We committed to being upfront about the implications of demand fluctuations. In this way, we fostered a culture of transparency. 

The aim was to cut through uncertainty and maintain a stable, informed workforce, especially during periods of change. The outcomes were a testament and commitment to evolving and strengthening the supply chain in the face of changing demands. The communications cascade encouraged all employees’ feedback and insights on these strategies, letting the company know how the changes resonate in the organization. 

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