Flexible staffing is key in optimising warehousing and distribution logistics during peak season and beyond

14th December 2022

By Tania Govender, Sales Director at Worldwide Staffing

With peak season upon us, ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, demand for supply has increased considerably. Any delays in the supply chain will have a significant cost impact on the industry, and the recent week-long strike at Transnet has resulted in major backlogs. The warehousing and distribution function is central to and critical in the supply chain. A flexible workforce is therefore key in optimising warehousing and distribution, and a Temporary Employment Services (TES) provider is the perfect partner to assist. 

Supplying the demand

Ensuring timeous turnaround of goods is essential to meeting consumer demand and growing the retail sector, and with the peak season nearing, the urgency to supply increases significantly. If companies cannot meet demand, they could suffer heavy financial loss, and any delays will have a knock-on effect to the rest of the supply chain. 

Going into peak season with an existing backlog due to the strike puts extra strain on an already highly pressurised environment, and with load shedding, weather inconsistencies and other external disruptors, the schedule for container offloading has become impossible to predict. 

Warehousing and distribution companies will be pushed to their extremes in trying to meet increased consumer demands whilst also facing ongoing challenges of ever rising fuel costs, poor infrastructure, port inefficiencies - all further impacting on delivery times and operating costs. Ensuring timeous turnarounds of goods is essential to meeting consumer demands and providing much needed growth.

Safety first

Taking on additional labour as and when required can help with controlling costs and catering to flexible demand. However, for companies trying to perform this process in-house, it can be an administrative nightmare. This often leads to shortcuts in the recruitment process, as the urgency to get hands on deck becomes critical. 

This could result in contravention of labour laws if due process is not correctly followed. In addition, inexperienced staff can be more of a burden than a benefit, because the process takes longer, delaying operations, and the increase in damaged goods costs money. There may also be increases in stock loss or theft if staff are not vetted properly. 

Partnering with a reputable TES provider ensures that qualified, experienced warehouse staff are available on demand as and when the services are required, and for as long as they are needed. The right TES partner will have highly trained warehouse labour on hand to ensure tasks are completed quickly and efficiently, with safety remaining a high priority.

Value beyond placement of staff

An experienced TES provider has the intricate knowledge of understanding exactly how a warehouse and distribution operation works, knows that the workflow process does not just include working with loading and offloading containers and understands the process does not stop there. Taking inventory of stock, palletising and shrink-wrapping products or offloading according to outbound orders are services that can be included as well. 

The labour provided will have the necessary knowledge and experience required for their specific job function, including adhering to specific requested packing patterns to ensure a strong structured pallet is completed each time. An experienced TES provider will also be able to supply any category of staff required for a warehouse and distribution operation. Functions such as picking, packing, stacking of warehouse shelves and dispatching can all be taken care of, with a TES provider supplying experienced, screened, and vetted staff at short notice and for any period of time required. 

Don’t cut corners

In trying to meet increased consumer demand, especially leading up to peak season, companies may at times be pressured into cutting corners to increase turnaround and delivery times. But often with shortcuts, companies don’t realise that they are actually in contravention of legislation and are therefore non-compliant.

Verifying labour is an extensive manual process and is extremely time consuming when done correctly, and it can be neglected due to everyday and ongoing work commitments. Violation of promulgated minimum wages and working hours or compromising safety laws with inexperienced labour can have a detrimental effect on a company and can result in financial penalties, damaged reputation, loss of clientele and overall decreased company performance. 

An experienced and verified staffing service provider will ensure every aspect of the labour supply is managed in full compliance to labour laws and the Road Freight and Logistics Industry Bargaining Council for the entire period of supply. A verified TES provider will manage all risks associated to the labour supply providing the client with the peace of mind that all labour associated requirements are being handled and managed legally allowing them to fully concentrate on their operations and in turn increase their supply to meet demand.