Manufacturers Need Better Trained Temporary Labor

Poor training directly affects productivity.

Nearly half of all companies provided less than 10 hours of training to their temporary distribution employees, and 21% provided less than 2 hours of training, according a survey conducted recently by the Supply Chain Consortium.

The survey shows that plans for 2008 include increased levels of temporary labor as a percentage of total labor, more training, greater emphasis on local market hiring and a slight increase in compensation for temporary employees.

"Results indicate that companies are searching for ways to improve strategies for handling peak period volume and managing temporary labor," said Bruce Tompkins, Tompkins associates principal and author of the Peak and Temporary Labor Hot Topic Report. "There is clear evidence of a need for a more structured temporary employee program. A major issue is the limited training that temporary and peak employees receive, because it directly affects productivity."

Survey highlights include:

  • The average peak month's volume is significantly greater than the average non-peak month's volume by approximately 70%.
  • During peak months, distribution overtime and temporary labor hours grow to 29% of the total labor hours worked, up from 15% during non-peak months.
  • Both retail/wholesale and consumer products companies are sourcing a large amount of their distribution and transportation temporary labor from local markets.
  • Little emphasis is placed on providing additional financial incentives to existing employees during peak periods. Only 11% of all companies responding said they offer additional compensation to existing employees during peak periods.
  • Companies clearly require less time to fill temporary distribution positions than temporary transportation positions. The lead-time to hire temporary transportation employees averages 30 days, compared to 23 days for distribution employees.
  • The highest rated approach for providing management was increasing the number of workers per manager and supervisor, followed by temporarily promoting full-time employees to supervision.

The Supply Chain Consortium benchmarks supply chain best practices. Its advisory board includes supply chain executives from Campbell Soup, Hallmark, Ingram Micro, J.C. Penney, Molson Coors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Rite Aid, Target, The Coca-Cola Co. and Whirlpool.

Supply Chain Consortium


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