Published On: April 12th, 2024Categories: Employee Retention, Productivity, Recruitment, Temporary/Seasonal Workers

Talent is the fuel that powers your company’s financial success and growth goals. When you incorporate workforce planning into your organization’s growth toolkit, you can create a workforce strategy that better insulates your company from many pressures and challenges that come with staffing in the manufacturing and industrial sectors. An adaptable, agile, and thoughtfully allocated workforce is a crucial asset that drives growth.

Unfortunately, many organizations have not yet tapped into the potential of workforce planning. Most professionals still think reactively, rather than proactively, when it comes to staffing. With organizations collecting more data than ever before, forecasting based on historical information has never been easier. Setting up a regular cadence of workforce evaluations and planning meetings opens up a new path for growth for your organization.

Workforce planning is especially important for manufacturing and industrial sectors. Strategic staffing aligned to organizational goals puts the best talent with the right skills in the needed roles at the right time. This enables your team to effectively balance costs and operational efficiency. Workforce planning can also insulate your organization against the volatile nature of the manufacturing and industrial sectors. When you anticipate and plan for high turnover, seasonal fluctuations, labor shortages, and skill gaps, your team is better poised to manage these challenges if and when they arise.

With so much opportunity for growth on the line, let us help you get started on workforce planning and strategic staffing solutions today with a few simple strategies and tips.

Reviewing Q1 Production Metrics

Data is the key to a successful workforce planning process. Looking at Q1 key performance indicators (KPIs) and data, your team can begin to craft an ideal strategy for your organization.

When we look at manufacturing and industrial companies, output, efficiency, inventory management, quality control indicators, and productivity metrics are especially important to track. However, these metrics are rarely static as demand is often seasonal or cyclical and supply issues can quickly throw a wrench into any plan. A quarter-by-quarter understanding of these KPIs allows you to customize your workforce planning and proactively prepare for these challenges.

Tracking is the first step. Investing in the proper analytics platform or software and setting it up to track the KPIs that are important for your business sets the foundation for future workforce planning. With historical information in hand, your team can begin predicting how your workforce needs will shift in the future.

Forecasting Q2 Workforce Needs

With data in hand, you are equipped to begin forecasting your next quarter’s needs. Historical data from multiple quarters is the most helpful, however, you can begin with even just one quarter’s worth of information.

There are a few key trends to pay attention to in order to understand how you will need to adjust your workforce in the future:

  • Supply and Demand Information: How has supply and demand shifted for your industry in the past? Are there seasonal or cyclical shifts that continually arise? Understanding these annual trends means you can adjust your staffing to accommodate anticipated growth and contractions. This will also help you avoid costly and unplanned downtime.
  • Skill Gaps: Is your organization staffed with the right talent to respond to supply and demand shifts? The data can show where your workforce’s skill gaps lie and the types of positions that have been difficult to fill in the past. Working with recruiting and staffing partners, like LSI Staffing, to provide strategic staffing solutions can help proactively resolve these problems.
  • Talent Development and Retention: How is talent responding to changes in demand and required new skills? Have recruiting, training, outsourcing, or other tactics been successful? Tracking the types of solutions and strategies your team has implemented (you can read more about some of our innovative retention strategies here) and their downstream consequences helps your organization hone tactics and strategies this quarter and beyond.

Data-Driven Hiring Decisions

Now that you have your data and forecasts in hand, you can begin to make strategic hiring and staffing decisions that will set your organization up for success and growth. Here are a few ways to begin crafting the workforce planning strategy that is right for your organization:

  • Match workforce with production forecasts: Using historical data, set realistic workforce composition targets that balance permanent and temporary employees to successfully and cost-effectively meet demand.
  • Balance permanent and temporary staff: Proactively creating a staffing plan to accommodate fluctuating demand means your organization does not have to scramble to get the right talent at the last minute. Instead, you can work with a staffing agency to identify skill gaps and needs before they arise and effectively supplement your permanent staff with temporary talent.
  • Align skillsets with demand: By tracking your data closely your team can project when a skill gap is emerging. As demand increases, you can quickly build out a roster of talent to fill the rising need.
  • Explore recruitment strategies: Tracking the solutions you implement is critically important to workforce planning, especially when your organizations is facing employment headwinds, such as labor shortages. Leverage staffing agencies, like LSI Staffing, and track results to understand the impact on your strategy. You can also supplement with training and other recruiting techniques like utilizing online job platforms and industry-specific networks.

Budget and Resource Allocation

A successful strategy needs to be grounded in financials. Coupling your KPI tracking with financial information allows your team to accurately estimate Q2 labor costs and structure a budget that accommodates shifting staffing needs.

When estimating the next quarter’s labor costs, there are often more expenses than just worker’s compensation. Budgeting in recruitment, training, and onboarding costs provides a more accurate and complete picture. With additional funds for workforce development and retention earmarked in advance, your organization can proactively counteract the manufacturing industry’s propensity for high turnover and skill gaps.

Financial modeling and predictive tools can be especially helpful at this stage. Modeling out workforce scenarios against various economic forecasts can help your team prepare for a wide range of potential outcomes.

A robust workforce planning strategy aligns your staffing investments with business objectives. It ensures scalability and adaptability and puts your company one step ahead. Tracking and analyzing a wide range of data enables your team to make smart decisions that quickly maximize ROI.

Implementation and Monitoring

With a plan in hand, it’s now time to execute your workforce planning strategy and realize anticipated ROI and growth. Working with your staffing and recruiting partners, the first step is to conduct efficient hiring and onboarding processes to build the right team of talent. Using the funds earmarked for workforce development and training, new hires will find themselves supported with appropriate resources, a culture of teamwork, and clear communication standards. This leads to less turnover and higher offer acceptance rates.

Continuous monitoring of KPIs is essential at this stage. To make sure your staffing plan and strategy is effective, keep a close eye on workforce performance and be prepared to make agile adjustments as needed. As you continue to collect data on output, efficiency, inventory management, quality control indicators and productivity, your strategy will be refined for increased growth and success.

How LSI Staffing Can Help You

Taking a holistic view, workforce planning is about capturing and analyzing data to drive growth. In a volatile industry like manufacturing, it is vital to be prepared and agile to face and respond to unforeseen challenges. With workforce planning, your team is thinking proactively. You’ll have a plan as well as the tools to quickly adapt as needed.

As you begin the process of workforce planning, make sure you have the right partners. Critical partners range from HR tracking tools to strategic staffing agencies. When you begin implementing data-driven decision-making with the right network of support, you’ll begin to achieve workforce optimization that fuels growth.

Ready to transform your Q2 workforce planning? Partner with LSI Staffing today, and let our expertise help you achieve efficiency and success. Contact us now to get started on your path to a productive Q2!