Understanding Labor Costs – in Real Time
Understanding Labor Costs takes More than Software!
Lots of businesses use Ximble to plan workshifts and monthly schedules. Lots more work with us to set up good flex-time schedules and keep workers happy while filling more human work shifts with more productive people.
Attendance is up. Attendance may even be perfect. Hours go straight to payroll, seamlessly, flawlessly and with far fewer mix ups, less overtime and more productive hours to report.
But what are these people actually doing on the Job?
The data are you’re actually collecting between those online, or smartphone, punch-ins and -outs is as important as your sales numbers or traditional profitability measures. In other words, what are you learning about what every single one of them is doing and how you might make it all better?
Tallying Up Tasks Pays Off
The productive activities you should be looking at might be these:
- Work orders
- Equipment used
- Job numbers
Almost anything with a measurable output could be listed, and counted.
But that still leaves you with what used to be called “overhead.” Administrative tasks, meetings, set-up time and training, maintenance, down-time; all of these things cost a lot and getting as much of them over to the “countable/quantifiable” side is always in your company’s best interest.
The measurement of “productive time” allows you to read the cost of a given job and every activity that you can count in a given shift or work period will let you know the time given to tasks in terms of labor. Non-productive but still paid time is what very often has the biggest impact on your profit margin. Making less of it is not always an easy answer.
All of your labor productivity and forecasting numbers are impacted by the cost of all of that overhead. Better tracking it and accounting for it is always in the interest of better accounting for costs. Make sure your payroll accountants – and all of your analysts – understand this when you get down to analyzing them.
Understanding Labor Costs is an Ongoing Part of Your Operation
Planning a monthly schedule is not the only way to get ahead. Shift manager and planners need to be reacting quickly to real-time situations.
Workforce forecasting based on the detailed activities listed above can be used to leverage teams of employees as they are needed. Any increase in conditions – like more customers, more phone calls or a successful campaign – need to be quickly accounted for. The systems you’re working with will provide insight into the status and resources available, but also to the people presently available. Managers are learning to optimize teams, work crews and productivity. They’re doing it by collecting and using the right data.
Information about activities, individual personnel and outcomes increasingly make up the days work of the labor force analyst. Data-capture needs to be efficient, un-intrusive and on-going. It is as easy as software, but it often needs to involve the workers being monitored. It can also help to have pride in the outcomes being produced.
Badge swipes, barcodes and ID numbers are only as useful as the people who understand them. That increasingly means allowing more and more users in on the analytical process.