Today’s warehouses are often very complex and difficult to manage. Delivery reliability, speed and quality need to improve continuously. To stay on top of the game, logistics operations need to perform at optimum capacity without dramatically raising operations costs. Essential factors in this equation are throughput and resources. Basically, you need to schedule the best people for each single job. redPILOT supports planners in this complex task with its performance prediction feature.

Reduced need for ‘safety buffers’

Shift planning is often done for several weeks in advance and planners must take quite some uncertainties into account. By the day the plan is executed, circumstances have usually changed. That’s why planners use to include safety measures in their plans – typically a buffer of additional resources. Thereby they can account for unforeseen events like machine downtimes, short-term employee unavailability (no-show, sickness), or demand changes. But scheduling too many or the wrong resources leads obviously to higher costs, because at the planning you decide your spent efforts.  

So, now we face a dilemma. On the one hand, it is important to minimise safety buffers, while on the other hand, you cannot risk having too few operators. The trick is to increase planning quality and eliminate uncertainties as much as possible by predicting as accurately as possible the performance of each process step within the warehouse and make best use of available resources.

Predict performance

An important indicator for measuring performance is throughput, i. e. processed units per time. The throughput is influenced by many factors and is often very difficult to estimate. Everyone’s ability is not equal. Some operators thrive in certain areas where others do not. So, the ratio between planned and actual time needed for a task can differ per operator. redPILOT calculates and records the times spend on a task for each operator including transition times. These records of individual operators’ historical performance allow to plan based on actual ability. The result is a prediction of the throughput per operator based on all orders. The planner will know exactly, which operators he should best assign to which area.

Maximise planning quality

With redPILOT’s performance prediction, uncertainties are reduced dramatically. The system supports the planner in creating the most accurate plan for the following weeks. Also, when circumstances change during the day-to-day operation, if more or less time will be needed to handle the order volume, he can adjust properly. He can send people home early or shift people from one work area to another. This not only gives the planner more planning safety but also increases throughput. Additionally, operators can be informed already very early about possible changes of their working times. All these measures increase planning quality and, ultimately save costs.

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