Sustaining Industrial Labor Needs During and After the Pandemic
11 Jan 2021
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate consumer and workplace trends that were, in many cases, already under way pre-pandemic, challenges and opportunities in finding, training, and retaining an efficient industrial workforce remain constants for distributors and manufacturers. Effective site selection decisions hinge on a complex cost/quality balance of labor, logistics, and location. It is critical that occupiers remain vigilant in fostering a workplace and workforce that delivers on performance objectives while meeting current and future pandemic-driven challenges. With labor costs making up as much as 70 percent of warehouse operating expenses, the focus on workforce potential in existing and future locations continues to be one of the most critical components of ongoing innovation for successful occupiers.
Much of the conversation has centered on the agility of suppliers and distributors and how they have been able to meet the peaks and valleys of volatile demand (or early in the pandemic, temporary facility shutdowns). Certainly, higher than typical demand for online order fulfillment in spring 2020, as U.S. e-commerce demand increased 44 percent in Q2 YoY, meant that occupiers were implementing creative solutions to find more interim worker resources, and some of those solutions will remain for ongoing fulfillment demand as it finds its new equilibrium for the rest of 2020 into 2021.